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BizReport : Social Marketing : August 29, 2011

Platform takes bite out of daily deal sites

Restaurants are one of the favored categories within the daily deal space, and one forecasts indicates the online restaurant space could hit $3 billion by 2015. A new player to the deal space, BiteHunter, aggregates these deals so that users can find them more easily. The platform makes it simple for consumers to find dining out deals within a specific zip code, helping push more consumers through restaurant doors.

by Kristina Knight

bitehunter.jpgI recently chatted with BiteHunter's Gil Harel about the platform and about trends within the deal space.

Kristina: How does BiteHunter work?-

Gil: BiteHunter aggregates dining deals and information from thousands of sources, in addition to processing social media streams such as restaurants' tweets, Facebook updates, blogs, newsletters and more. BiteHunter developed a unique technology based on NLP (Natural Language Processing) to process and analyze these huge amounts of data all in real-time. This is all for the customers to make it easier for them to check one website or mobile app and receive all the information they need to make smart decisions for budgeted dining.

Kristina: The platform has shown 200% growth since March...what is driving such a strong growth rate?

Gil: Mostly the free iPhone app. Users just love the fact they can open the app wherever they are and enjoy a great deal near their physical location. We want users to open our mobile app before they decide where to dine and find out if a specific restaurant has a deal or can help them discover great restaurants while still saving money. It's perfect for travelers, college students and any foodie in the city. We plan to develop our app for the Android and other major devices so that more users can enjoy the offers via various social platforms.

Kristina: One complaint about the daily deal space is that consumers are coming in for a one-off deal and not returning; how can restaurants turn this trend around so that they create loyal customers?

Gil: Restaurants need to take control of the deal and negotiate better terms with the daily deal sites. If they would be willing to do so, they would be surprised the dining deals sites will agree to negotiate with them. They need to be aware of what makes sense for their industry and a business standpoint regarding the amount of the discount they are willing to give so they gain customers and don't lose money. In addition, restaurants need to find ways to track repeating customers (most of them don't do that) so that they know for sure who supported their restaurant more than once.

Tags: BiteHunter, daily deals, Gil Harel, restaurant advertising, social marketing

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