Created and conceptualized in Buffalo.
Developed, tested, and optimized in Buffalo.
Inviting your taste buds to explore the best of the best in Buffalo [and loads of other cities soon].
We sat down with Patrick Simons, Project Manager at City Dining Cards, to chew the fat on how the popular foodie-centric company made the jump from the [oft forgotten] paper deck to an always-at-hand FREE mobile app.
With the City Dining Cards app, available now for iPhone users and coming soon for Android devices, the deck of cards concept is still alive and well. 52 virtual cards, including 2 “wild cards”. 50 of the cards, designated for some truly great WNY eats, grant you the savings you might already be familiar with. Spend $20 on grub, take $5 off. Spend $40, take $10 off. Tax, tip, and alcohol excluded, of course.
“The great advantage to the two options is that if you go out to lunch by yourself, or with one other person, you may not breach that $40 price point. But you can still save $5 off of a smaller $20 food bill”, says Patrick.
The two “wild cards” are FREEBIES! At the time of launch, Public Espresso is offering a free pour over coffee and Breadhive is offering a free bagel. We’ll be redeeming these immediately, trust us! What’s more, these “wild cards” will cycle to something new every 90 days, meaning you can expect free treats at your favorite bakeries, ice cream parlors, and coffee shops.
What we love about the app is that it encourages discovery and exploration of the WNY food scene. City Dining Cards includes excellent classics like Ristorante Lombardo, Essex St. Pub, and Carmelo’s. It’s also sporting some awesome new joints like Oshun, Hydraulic Hearth, Jaguar at the Bistro, and even Lake Effect Ice Cream. What the app can do that the printed cards couldn’t is allow for varying restaurants to be phased in throughout the year. One restaurant is exiting the app? You’ll get a little push notification that you’ve only got a limited window to dine there. Another restaurant taking its place? You’ll get a push notification there, too. However, if you really love chowing down at, say, Fat Bob’s you’ll be able to save there often as each individual card is redeemable once every 90 days.
“It gives users a little more flexibility versus the physical deck, since if you really enjoy a restaurant, you can use the app at that spot up to four times per year”, Patrick explained.
Aside from the fantastic design and feel of the app, it’s the little features and incentives for users that make it feel solid and infinitely usable. Each card is outfitted with your $5 and $10 savings options, as well as one-touch buttons for the restaurant’s website, phone number to call and make a rez, directions if you’re lost, and hours of operation. There’s even a nifty little heart icon at the top that queues that restaurant into a Favorites list tailored just for your tastes. For the loyal City Dining Cards user, every time you redeem a card at a participating restaurant, you’ll earn a chip that gets deposited into a tab called My Chips. The first one is on the house just for downloading the app! Redeem 12 chips over the course of a year, and you get a $20 gift certificate to any eligible City Dining Cards restaurant across the US and Canada.
You heard right! The US of A and our neighbor to the North. As we type this up, City Dining Cards is live in Buffalo and Baltimore. They’re also slated to debut the app in over a half dozen new markets within the year. So whether you’re visiting family in Boston, crossing the border for dinner and a show in Toronto, or heading to a Pirates game in PGH, you can drop in on top notch local fare.
“We strive for the best of the best to join the app, and know that being on the streets in these cities is how we’re going to do that”, says Patrick.
We’re pumped to see a local company making big waves on a national [and international] scale. Even more, we’re excited to get the app out in the wild to use ourselves.
You can download the City Dining Cards app from the iTunes App Store here, and be sure to follow them on the web, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Special thanks to Patrick for taking the time to talk.
EASTER EGG: Fire up the app, shake your phone.