How often do you decide to go out to eat then inevitably enter the looped conversation of ‘Where do you want to go?’ no…’Where do you want to go?’
“Sometimes you just need something to inspire you to figure out where it is you want to go,” says Nate Barker.
He’s co-founder of a new web platform that aims to solve that problem. Spurrow is a different kind of dining club that cuts through the noise to connect diners with culinary experiences.
Every corner of Columbus has unique dining experiences, but finding the best can be a challenge. There’s generally opposite ends of the spectrum – folks stay in their neighborhood and stick with what they know, or are inundated with the the options online when trying to explore, scrolling through endless Yelp reviews or Facebook newsfeeds.
With Spurrow, for $8/month, diners sign up to access special deals – or spurs – from a curated list of Columbus-area restaurants.
Eateries have control over their spur and, “It’s as creative as the restaurant wants it to be or as simple as they want it to be,” says Co-Founder Nick Lemoine.
Restaurants will offer exclusive deals to Spurrow members like food and wine pairings, extended happy hours, tasting menus or retail wine night. Members will flash their phone at the restaurant to cash-in on the exclusive offer.
“What Spurrow does – it makes the culinary experience more available,” Barker says. “We are a culinary ambassador getting people to dine like regulars on spur at a time.”
Spurrow captures two audiences, Barker adds, “One being a deal-seeker.” They are looking for money-saving opportunities like extended happy hours.
“More importantly, we’re looking for people that are experience seekers,” he says.
They’re after special menus or exclusive items – those extra nods that make a diner feel like a regular at a restaurant.
Spurrow is making its service free to restaurants with just a few stipulations. The co-founders want all of their restaurant partners to have passionate people, a great atmosphere and great food, while providing superior customer service.
“They genuinely care about people’s dining experiences,” Barker summarizes.
In returns, Spurrow asks that the restaurant obviously follow through with their offers, and that the appropriate staff take the time to get creative with a deal diners will enjoy that also fits their needs in some way. Restaurants can make it work for them – offering extended happy hour early in the week to fill tables. It’s a low-impact way to potentially draw in new customers.
“We’ve got a great response from our restaurant partners so far, they think it’s a really fresh, new approach,” Lemoine says.
Spurrow is building a small portfolio of eateries to get started including Salt & Pine, Hai Poke, Tucci’s and Basi Italia. As they prove the concept, more restaurants will be added with the end goal of about 40-50 in the Franklin County area.
Barker and Lemoine have been working on the concept for about nine months. The brothers-in-law formed the idea for Spurrow around a mutual frustration of trying to decide where to eat.
Both bring elements of experience to the business that make it an ideal fit. Lemoine launched a business during his days earning a degree in economics from OSU. While the snack-delivery business fizzled out, “It was a great learning experience,” he says.
Nate comes from a family of entrepreneurs (mom and Barker’s sister who is Lemoine’s wife own furniture shop Trove) and spent time in the restaurant industry. Lemonie brought the business experience, and Barker the knowledge of what’s important to restaurants.
Spurrow plans to launch later this month with more details coming soon at spurrow.com.
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