Tuesday Jan 31 2012
Hungry? There's an app for that in Folsom
By: Laura Newell, Telegraph staff writer
With more than 100 local eateries in town, a new cell phone application will help people choose the best place to eat offering the best deal. This week a new mobile app called “Today’s Specials” was launched, helping locals answer the ongoing question, “Where do I want to go to eat?” Now, hungry consumers, armed with this new mobile tool, can easily find restaurant specials in their immediate area before they even get to the restaurant, said Scott Kirk, Proximity Solutions CEO and Folsom resident for 12 years. Proximity Solutions is the company behind the free mobile app and is based in the Folsom Historic District. They currently have a staff of six. “We are a Folsom-based company and the success will be from local people using our app,” Kirk said. “We are helping local businesses and local consumers have a better communication with each other.” Dave Tanel, Folsom resident for 22 years and Proximity Solutions chief technology officer, said the app is easy to use for everyone. From the consumer perspective, he said, it’s both a discovery tool and a real-time connection to their favorite restaurant, bar and entertainment venues. “Customers have the ability to locate venues based on any number of criteria, including distance, cuisine, price, amenities and most important, new and interesting specials,” Tanel said. “They can also create a ‘favorites’ list, which allow them to be notified the moment a new special is posted.” The app is user friendly for the business owner as well, they said. “What makes Today’s Specials app really shine is its backend professional marketing, management and analytics tools for venue owners,” Kirk said. “From single venues to large corporate and franchise chains, the ‘Today’s Special Manager’ website gives owners and managers the ability to control how, when and who can push out specials to one or more locations.” He said users can upload and store all their marketing assets including photos, graphics and promotions. “With the push of a button, all of a restaurant’s specials can be pushed not only to users of the Today’s Special app, but also to their websites, Facebook and Twitter accounts,” Kirk said. Why choose this app over others? Kirk said their app is specially designed to help locals find specific information, unlike other review-based sites like Yelp. “Today’s Specials is specifically for restaurants, bars and entertainment venues,” he said. “Our app is not review driven. It is entirely about businesses promoting themselves with their specials.” Kirk also said Today’s Specials is not a “deal scheme.” “Deal brokers (like Groupon and Living Social) are driven by sending daily e-mails to its members to have members pre-purchase coupons on products and services substantially discounted,” Kirk said. “The deal broker shares the balance of the deal with the merchant, so the merchant typically nets only 25 percent of the original price. It is intended to be a loss-leader.” He said Today’s Specials is not a scheme. “It does not broadcast unsolicited e-mails, and does not broker or transact at all,” Kirk said. “It is entirely about businesses promoting themselves with their specials to people nearby via mobile devices.” He said businesses using the app pay a flat-rate subscription-based service. During the past six months of creation, Tanel said Proximity Solutions acquired 25 Folsom restaurants to work with them already. He said they have a very “aggressive” business plan. Not only do they hope to add more restaurants, they also hope to add more staff and create more Folsom jobs. He said they are working with the Los Rios Community College District to create internships for Folsom and other local students. “We are really focusing on Folsom,” Tanel said. “We are all from Folsom and love Folsom. Our goal is to have Folsom people download this app, use it and love it. Then in the future, we want to expand out nationally, leaving our headquarters in Folsom.” The Today’s Specials app is free for consumers and currently ranges in price from $69 to $99 per month per business, based on the type of plan and number of locations. For more information, visit todaysspecialsapp.com.