A food app that connects users with the specials at restaurants or events has started to gain traction and has obtained 50 000 downloads in the last five months. Fomo uses geolocation to show users specials available at nearby restaurateurs listed on the app.
Co-founders Ryan Marx and Jax Du Plessis birthed the idea for the app after a night out. After having gone out for supper and left the restaurant, they saw specials available in at a different restaurant in the same area and wished they had gone there instead – hence the name of the app, Fomo (fear of missing out).
Marx said: “When you search Google for what to do in a specific area, we’re often given generic lists that are present us with limited options that are seldom updated.”
The food and drinks app provides users with contact details and operating hours for each listing. Additionally, users can book a table in the app, and rate the restaurant and the special they tried.
They can also contact the restaurant to give them feedback, through a direct link provided in the app.
There is an in-app feature that integrates with Google Maps for directions to the restaurant or to book an Uber.
Restaurateurs can be listed on the app for R499 per month and can have any two existing specials listed at a time.
“Our service allows them to get business in the door and removes the digital marketing aspect of promoting their service for them. We get to focus on our core competency, which is marketing their specials and they get to focus on theirs – doing what they do best,” Marx added.
Federated Hospitality Association of SA chairperson, Rosemary Anderson thinks that apps like Fomo can be of great service to the hospitality industry.
She said: “COVID-19 has decimated our industry and financially compromised many restaurants that are still standing today. Third-party apps can assist us in getting the economy back on track.”
Anderson believes that “in times of difficulty lies opportunity”, especially when innovation offers consumers a service that they have never been offered before.
“In times like these, restaurants often find it difficult to get a message out there that promotes themselves. I think that third-party apps are a practical solution to some of the problems we have faced as a result of the pandemic.”
Wendy Alberts, chief executive of the Restaurant Association of SA believes that a variety of dynamic apps are in existence and offer support to restaurateurs.
“These apps are great at looking at extra margins and bringing foot traffic into restaurants,” she said.
Alberts believes that the restaurant industry had to undergo a lot during the lockdown period.
She added: “We have had to alter our dining experiences and have to offer a variety of dining options. We need to ensure that patrons are still getting value for money while our services remain price sensitive.
“For apps like these, transparency is important at all times. They need to ensure that their options are viably put together, that they provide continuity and brand recognition.”