courtesy Hooked App

The restaurant discount app, Hooked, launched in Salt Lake City on Sept. 17, 2018, bringing their total college communities served from 39 to 40.

Hooked partners with food and drink establishments, both local and chains, to provide discounts to students. The app shows users current short-term deals, called hooks, in a selected area. After choosing a hook, head to the business and tap the green “Use It Now” button before paying. Once you start using Hooked, the app will make recommendations and let you know which hooks it thinks you’ll be interested in becoming available.

“Hooks” range from discounts on a total purchase to-one-get-one offers to the occasional free item. I’ve gotten my caffeine fix more than once thanks to a hook for free Dunkin’ coffee (yes, just Dunkin’). Deals typically last one to three hours, so the feed is constantly updating with new offers throughout the day.

The promotions you’ll find on Hooked are exclusive to the app. Rather than simply accumulating restaurant coupons available to anyone, Hooked partners with businesses to create unique offers for Hooked users.

The app is location-based, so you need to grant the app access to your location and keep location services on in order to find hooks. Businesses using Hooked in Salt Lake City include Mellow Mushroom, Yoko Ramen, Chronic Tacos, Cinnaholic and Zao.

While the app’s key demographic is toward college students, you don’t need to be a college student to use the app. Anyone who lives in or visits a connected city can take advantage of Hooked.

Hooked initially launched in 2013 at the University of Texas. Over the last five years, the app has expanded to 40 major college towns across the United States. The company estimates 25 to 50 percent of students on affiliated campuses are regular users of Hooked.

The motivation for the Hooked app is two-fold. Tim Rothwell, one of the founders of Hooked, wanted an easy way for students to save money in their daily lives. Rothwell also wanted a way for college students to easily find and try new restaurants they may not have discovered otherwise. Instead of eating from fast-food dollar menus, college students can explore a little and find affordable offers from different sorts of local cuisines.

Rothwell also discovered that Hooked is a great way for businesses to expand. Businesses use Hooked to increase traffic during hours that they would normally have a lull in and to track data on the behavior and demographics of their customers.

Search for “Hooked deals” to download the Hooked app for free from the Apple App store or Google Play store. You can create an account or simply sign up using your Facebook account.

a.marielle@dailyutahchronicle.com

@mariellerrrr

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