Thursday, June 11, 2015

Dining app Spotluck celebrates one year of success in Bethesda (Photos)

Montgomery County's moribund economy, failure to attract a single major corporation in over 10 years, and its elected officials' failure to understand the significance of tech firms like Uber and Airbnb make it a challenging place to start a business. So one has to turn to start-ups like Bethesda-based Spotluck to find a spark of entrepreneurial energy.

Their spin-the-wheel-for-deals dining app is one year old, and Spotluck threw a party to celebrate yesterday at Redwood on Bethesda Lane. Since its debut with a launch group of Woodmont Triangle restaurants, Spotluck has expanded its reach not only to Bethesda Row, but to Silver Spring, Rockville, Frederick, and many neighborhoods in Northern Virginia and the District. In Bethesda, the app recently added two new Robert Wiedmaier restaurants, Urban Heights and Villain & Saint.

Here are some photos from yesterday's event:
Attendees get their wristbands
Guests spin the wheel for
a chance at winning an
Apple Watch
 
There was a long line
to get in

Bethesda Lane was appropriately
decorated for the occasion

Yep, that line stretched
back to bluemercury
Hey, who's that?

It's Mr. Spins working
the crowd
It's hard to get this
guy to stand still

64 comments:

Anonymous said...

I feel bad using this in my local restaurants that I see all the time. Fun idea for sure. Hope they make it. Sounds like tough economics and competition. Living Social, Amazon Local, and Groupon having the big problems they do, and tons of competition from smaller companies like Scoutmob and the other local app Pluck It. Hope the best for all of them! More deals for us and marketing for restaurants. They seem to be disappearing off the big sites though. Those that use it because they need money vs seeing it as a marketing tool that it really is.

Anonymous said...

Montgomery County reaction to business: Wow they are making planning to make money? Well let's plan to make money off them.

Anonymous said...

"failure to attract a single major corporation in over 10 years"

Hey, doofus, that makes no sense; of course major corporations have opened shop in MoCo lately. What you're trying to say is no major corporation's HEADQUARTERS has moved here (because you think the prestige of that is more important than actual jobs, remember?). That's why you pretend things like, e.g., GSK bringing 600 new biotech jobs to Rockville or NIH growing by 3,000 jobs don't count for anything while VA paying out a $6M subsidy to attract 400 Volkswagen HQ jobs is spectacular.

Anonymous said...

10:06am needs to do his homework. Governments always provide incentives to lure companies.
City of Rockville & MoCo subsidized Choice Hotels to get them to stay in the county (Just one example)

There's nothing unusual about incentives. It's a worthwhile investment. I'm sure Rockville Town Square businesses benefit from all of those Choice employees next door. It's not just a prestige thing.

Anonymous said...

Incentives can be a great thing -
Just hope the ones we offer are smart ones that benefit all parties.

Anonymous said...

A random restaurant? 10% off? No thanks. Not worth my time and download for Spotluck.

Restaurants do seem to slowly be disappearing off groupon and other deal sites though. Maybe not such a good deal for the restaurants?

Anonymous said...

Spotluck doesn't seem to be doing well, if they've been around for a year already and still only cover a few restaurants. You need to get big, and fast, so that overhead costs can be spread across a larger amount of revenue.

Also they face big competition from Yelp and Groupon, which both already offer instant deals with a much larger group of restaurants.

Anonymous said...

When I try to use the spotluck app in bethesda they bartender/owner will give me a wierd look then just give me whatever percentage off and not let me use the app.

Anonymous said...

Didn't they have a 100,000 spinner contest a few months back? Was that spins or uses? The Bold Bites owner told me a while back he had to pay Scoutmob $2 per use. Does anyone know the Spotluck fee structure? 100,000 spins Doesn't seem bad for a year. Or was it just 100,000 spins and a lower use rate? Curious what that meant and how they are doing now.

Anonymous said...

Lol. Guess Spotluck is missing out on some of their cut! Don't really condone the cheating by owners, but the nasty look probably plays to the other comment about local and locally owned mom and pop stops that have to pay the fee and eat the discount. Even worse for regulars!

Anonymous said...

"Governments always provide incentives to lure companies."

That's the stupidest comment I've ever seen. How could you honestly think that "always" happens?

Anonymous said...

"A random restaurant? 10% off? No thanks. Not worth my time and download for Spotluck."

10% is the minimum you get off of all the restaurants. The specific restaurant you land on for the spin is then 15-35% off.

Anonymous said...

Name a local major corporate hq move without incentives.

Anonymous said...

Sure but with my "spot" luck it always lands on the one I don't want. :( can we spin more than once?

Anonymous said...

Why would any major Business open in Maryland when it is bordered by three friendlier states for business and personal freedom.

Robert Dyer said...

10:06: It means exactly what I said - the County hasn't attracted a single major corporation in over a decade. NIH is government, not business. Even the addition of high-wage jobs not associated with an actual corporate headquarters has been few and far between. Let's also not forget that biotech jobs such as those you cited are being attracted by County and state financial incentives, and tax/regulation exemptions. Virginia has attracted much more than Volkswagen - Northrop, Hilton, Intelsat, CEB, to name a few.

Robert Dyer said...

Embarrassing strategy the MoCo political machine employs - they have a record of zero accomplishment in attracting Fortune 500 companies to the county, and they therefore try to spin snagging corporate headquarters (and their high-wage jobs, and halo effect on economic development) as a bad and evil thing. Yeah, that's the ticket. The only thing more embarrassing is the local media covering for them.

Anonymous said...

wtf is a MoCo political machine? Are you high right now, Dyer?

Anonymous said...

Robert, these posts of yours make you sound like a complete idiot. MoCo is massively wealthy, with a minuscule unemployment rate and you still whine like a little bitch. There are very few places in the world that aren't envious of our local economy. Maybe you'd be more popular and actually be elected to something at some point if you weren't completely and utterly out of touch and seemingly uneducated on these issues.

Anonymous said...

"NIH is government, not business."

LOL... idiot. Jobs are jobs, and the private biotech industry in MoCo would not exist without NIH.

Anonymous said...

Leggett and others in power are saying MoCo needs to be more business friendly. So, Dyer is being accurate...this isn't a radical position.

Peter said...

...and yet another whiny post about MoCo "moribundness."

At least MD had some GDP growth in 2014. Virginia, Dyer's paragon of endless growth, had ZERO. (Of course I would like to see the breakout of Fairfax vs. MoCo too.)

http://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/regional/gdp_state/2015/_images/gsp_0615.png

Robert Dyer said...

8:37: You don't know what a political machine is? Crack open a history book sometime. It could be enlightening.

Robert Dyer said...

8:48: That's an odd definition of economy. Other places may well envy our low crime, good if racially/geographically unequal school system, and large number of rich residents. But none of them envy our pathetic economic development record. Zero major corporate headquarters attracted in over a decade. Relatively few non-government high-wage jobs added during that time, either. Unemployment rate has absolutely nothing to do with the number of jobs located in, or created in, Montgomery County. The well-off in MoCo who actually work for it do it largely in Virginia and DC, where those corporate and government/lobbying/government-contract jobs are located.

It's my education on these issues, and being smart enough not to fall for dumb lines like, "Montgomery County is a great place to live!!" somehow equaling economic development, that hits a raw nerve among the MoCo political machine.

Robert Dyer said...

9:18: No County politician can take credit for federal government jobs. That's not economic development, just dumb luck.

Robert Dyer said...

9:51: Virginia's GDP is over a hundred billion higher than Maryland's for starters. They're not losing any ground against us. Maryland has lost nearly half of its industrial jobs in barely a decade's time, and almost all of its Fortune 500 companies. Not much to write home about. Just visit Cumberland or Baltimore beyond the Inner Harbor for a good snapshot of the O'Malley record.

Anonymous said...

I think that commentor meant it happens frequently.

Anonymous said...

There are those insults we talked about.

Anonymous said...

Sad sign of the times when success means lasting one year. Hope they make if. Wonder how much money they are pulling in vs spending and what their projections are for making it over the hump. Is this a local company like Pluckit?

Anonymous said...

So all those VA jobs that exist purely to support/make money off the government are just dumb luck also?

Anonymous said...

Oh absolutely. I think these commenters moreso just find Dyer's words and perspectives and maybe mentality a bit wonky. As evidence by his voracious attacks and opinionated opinions (ha) in his posts and comment responses. Not everyone is cut out to be a public figure, I guess, no matter his talking points. someone pointed out he just feeds the fire and I agree. Needs to learn some social graces and the social politics and people skills part if he wants to win people's respect and particularly their votes which he opines for.

Anonymous said...

Ah, now this is the Dyer I love. Utterly incapable of valid statistical analysis. A barrel of laughs, as always.

"Virginia's GDP is over a hundred billion higher than Maryland's"

Another meaningless raw number, with no context whatsoever. Virginia is a larger state with a larger population, and has been since the founding of this nation.

An apples-to-apples comparison would use per capita GDP, which is nearly equal for the two states.

"Maryland has lost nearly half of its industrial jobs in barely a decade's time"

Source? Do you have this same statistic for Virginia, for comparison?

"Maryland has lost...almost all of its Fortune 500 companies."

Debunked. Repeatedly.

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/sun-investigates/bs-md-fortune-500-20141006-story.html

From today's Washington Post: "With zero GDP growth, Virginia's economy flatlines"

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/digger/wp/2015/06/11/with-zero-gdp-growth-virginias-economy-flatlines-under-mcauliffe/

Ouch. Poor Dyer. LOL

Anonymous said...

Clearly Maryland needs a Maglev connecting Baltimore to DC in order to spark economic growth.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone else think that the eighth picture (of ten) from the top looks like a green elephant's behind?

Robert Dyer said...

6:19: "LOL", a total BS response. Maryland's industrial job losses are established - just do a Google search for the many articles. Who has ever "debunked" the fact that MD has only a handful of Fortune 500 companies. To say otherwise is flat out lying. Just because Virginia is flat one year doesn't mean we're ahead of them. What Fortune 500 company moved here in the year Virginia was "flatlined"? Hint: Zero. Nada. Zilch. None.

Robert Dyer said...

5:35: Not the private sector ones. Those are the ones we're competing for. Government decides where the agencies go, not the contractors.

Anonymous said...

Ha it does! What a weird mascot.

Robert said...

Actually 6:19's responses seemed pretty reasonable and with direct sources to back up. So far your claims have been backed up by "google it" which 6:19 seems to have done to counter your statements. And if you want to think these stated sources are "lying"... Well there's just no point in talking to or listening to you anymore if you won't have a practical discussion.

Robert Dyer said...

9:33: Why should I have to waste my time to research for you? Here's the **40% of Maryland industrial jobs lost** stat right here in a little publication you might have heard of called The Washington Post:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/hagerstown-ice-cream-plant-revival-attracts-hundreds-of-desperate-job-seekers/2014/01/05/8cc26fec-74a0-11e3-8b3f-b1666705ca3b_story.html

I don't just think they're "lying", they are lying - the Sun article he cited was about Hogan's different assertion of how many total companies there were and are now. I said we have only a handful, which unlike 6:19's assertion is actually correct.

So much for "countering my statements". Those were total BS MoCo Machine-style arguments.

Robert Dyer said...

And when I say "they're 'lying'", I'm referring to the false statements by 6:19, not the Post article I provided the link to above that sentence.

Anonymous said...

Why should you waste your time providing research for me? Perhaps because if you are a journalist and make claims and then refute sourced evidence to the contrary, then it would help validate your claims - both your content claims and your journalist claims.

Anonymous said...

So someone whose "opinion" is different from you is "lying". And someone whose opinion based on a listed source is "lying".

But anything you say is fact with or without a source.

Got it. Good job.

Anonymous said...

I don't know the subject matter, but if you say his cited source is wrong and don't provide a cited source of your own to validate that statement... Not sure how you want someone to just take your word for it. Especially when you refuse to cite sources, tell at readers, and call everyone whose opinion differs from yours either an idiot or a liar.

I'll happily listen to the facts, but your word alone doesn't count as such. That being sad, a source would help validate your word. Then I can reach an informed conclusion and decision of my own. Which may still vary from yours if it is opinion based, but that's my prerogative and choice, just like yours. I'm just not spouting mine publicly and then getting upset when someone doesn't agree.

Anonymous said...

So it's pretty much 10% off all the restaurants all of the time? And the higher discount for the random restaurant?

Anonymous said...

You're such an idiot, Dyer. Of course manufacturing jobs have been declining for decades across the country, including your precious VA. Don't be such a dolt and cherry pick crap that goes on in Washington County, as if it's even remotely relevant to the discussion at hand.

Anonymous said...

Dyer, can you address that commenters point about GDP versus per capita?

Robert Dyer said...

4:25: I gave a source. Got it. Good job.

Robert Dyer said...

12:53: Cumberland is not in Washington County. Not only are you guys out of touch with the state of Maryland's economy, but a map might be needed, as well. Of course, now that you mention Washington County, there was that aircraft plant that closed...

Robert Dyer said...

3:45: And calling me "whiny" wasn't an insult? You "need to learn the social graces."

Anonymous said...

"Cumberland is not in Washington County. Not only are you guys out of touch with the state of Maryland's economy, but a map might be needed, as well."

Good lord, Dyer. Your link was about Hagerstown...which very much is in Washington County, you absolute, utter moron.

Robert Dyer said...

10:09: I talked about Cumberland here in the comments, which is not in Washington County.

My link to the Hagerstown story was at **your** demand to show you the stat about 40% of industrial jobs lost. You said I was cherry picking from Washington County, when I had not given you an example from Washington County, only a story about Washington County to give you the stat.

Giving you the statewide stat is not "cherry picking from Washington County."

Anonymous said...

Woah. First source I may have ever seen from dyer! Awesome! Keep it coming!!

Anonymous said...

I love how Dyer thinks that everyone who disagrees with him is the same person.

Anonymous said...

So weird, right?

So is everyone that defends him the same person too?

Anonymous said...

Oh wow I never thought of that. Guess I'll stop using it now. Not nice to the local business owners trying to survive. I'll just go without the tiny 10% that helps the business more than me. Hadn't even thought of that before!!

Anonymous said...

We're not trying to win a public election nor do we write for a public blog. So, yeah, there's that difference. Which again explains why you don't win. Hardly a media coverage coverup scandal conspiracy.

Anonymous said...

I read an article that says they get $1 per use.

Catherine T. said...

Saw this on a Facebook link and tried the app. Underwhelmed by the nominal discounts and random restaurant. Sure, my friends and I can never decide where to go, but random based on a meager discount doesn't do much for me. App deleted to save space.

Anonymous said...

Yeah I downloaded the app after reading this article and agree with these comments. Deleted now. It's not even worth spending the time to try out.

Anonymous said...

I did too. Not worth the download.

SpotluckerForever said...

Hahaha a fellow spotlucker just pointed out what Spotluck means.

http://www.verbotomy.com/verbottle.php?jargonism_id=15458

Anonymous said...

Lol did the creators not look up the word before they named it?

I used it a few times. Never went to the random restaurant I landed on - not really liking someone choosing for me. Good for those who can't make simple decisions on their own I guess. The 10% was definitely not worth the scowls I got from the owners. Not using this again.

Anonymous said...

Haha yeah I tried using it after reading the promo here too. The (unnamed) owner didn't use my Spotluck but gave me the discount too.

Anonymous said...

What a poorly designed and ugly app. Like they outsourced it or something. Needs a new interface that's current pretty badly.

The discounts are cool when you land on the one you want to go, but otherwise 10% isn't worth it to piss off the owner.