Students scout out local deals with Scoutmob

The Southerner

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As senior Abby Orlansky listens to the grumbling of her stomach, she knows it’s time for dinner. She contemplates her options in the refrigerator: leftovers from the night before and frozen pizza. She decides her best option is to go out to eat, so she grabs her iPad and opens up the Scoutmob app.

Founded in January 2010 by Michael Tavani and Dave Payne, Scoutmob aims to promote local businesses by featuring restaurants, retail locations and services on its website. The website offers deals such as 50 percent off restaurants, free products and discounted services. Scoutmob originated in Atlanta, but has spread to large cities nationwide.

“We are all about local, featuring the best things happening locally from restaurants to experiences to events to local content,” Co-founder Michael Tavani said. “We’ve created one of the biggest media brands in the city that has considerable clout amongst in local explorers in Atlanta.”

Orlansky first heard about and downloaded the app her sophomore year when the app first came out. Before she had an iPhone, she used the app on her iPad only.

“I use it a lot more when I have it on my phone because it was easier to use at restaurants and places,” Orlansky said. “I’ve brought my iPad to dinner a few times, but it was embarrassing. I had to use their Wi-Fi.”

Since discovering Scoutmob, Orlansky said she has expanded her horizons and branched out from her typical restaurant choices. Literature and journalism teacher Deedee Abbott shares this same feeling.

“[Scoutmob is] beneficial to me,” Abbott said. “I’ve used it for haircuts for my kids, restaurants and retail at Fab’rik and the Lucky Exchange. The best deal [I’ve used] was Babette’s Cafe.”

Like Orlansky, Abbott searches for new places without worrying about burning a hole in her wallet.

“It has caused us to find an excuse to go out when we couldn’t have because we can use a Scoutmob,” Abbott said. “[We’ve] tried new places because they have a Scoutmob.”

Tavani said both Scoutmob and the participating business profit from their promotion.

“Merchants pay Scoutmob a flat fee ($3 avg.) per deal redemption when a customer uses a Scoutmob deal in a location, and the customer pays the merchant as they normally would for their meal or experience,” Tavani said.

This business model has found enormous success in Atlanta and has spread to many other large cities. Tavani said that their list has grown from 8,000 users in 2010 when they first launched the app to 360,000 today, simply from word of mouth. He also said they accomplished this without spending any extra money.

“If we list a business on Scoutmob, it will be put on the map in a significant way,” Tavani said.

Tavani is grateful for the attention that Scoutmob has received.

“[We are] building a brand that people trust to delight them,” Tavani said. “It’s amazing to see people wearing our logo on their shirt.”

Tavani is not the only thankful person. Abbott and Orlansky recognize how Scoutmob has eased their dining-out experience.

“Now everytime I go out to eat, I check Scoutmob first,” Orlansky said. “It’s definitely my first option. There is always some place [where] I haven’t eaten.

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