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The Seated restaurant app expands to Dallas with rewards for dining out

Dine at your favorite local restaurants, then redeem rewards of 10%-30% at retailers like Amazon, Uber and Starbucks.

You might not require incentive to leave home and let someone else feed you and do the dishes. But maybe you’d like a small push to dine at off hours or to try a new restaurant in your neighborhood. That’s what Seated is betting on.

The app is a “restaurant discovery engine that gives you rewards for booking or ordering from local restaurants,” says co-founder Bo Peabody, a longtime restaurateur and investor in hospitality technology companies.

Better restaurants don’t want to be seen discounting their food, explains Peabody, who’s quick to note that this isn’t like Groupon. Instead, guests pay full price in the restaurant, so the product isn’t discounted or cheapened. Restaurants decide what commission they’re willing to pay Seated to help them generate business, and 80% of that commission is paid out to the diner via rewards. Those come on the back end after you upload your receipt via the app — a necessary step to score your prize.

The rewards change based on the day and time, and users get rewarded more for visiting outside a restaurant’s most popular hours. But that’s up to the restaurant. Some establishments can always use an extra bump in traffic, so they may choose to offer a small reward each day. Others may only issue rewards, or increase rewards, during lunch or on weekdays. The dynamic nature of the app incentivizes diners to come when restaurants need them most.

For restaurants, there’s no complicated technical integration. They don’t have to train their staff to do anything different, as Seated works within the restaurants’ existing reservations systems like OpenTable and Resy to secure tables for users.

The Seated app pays you for dining out.
The Seated app pays you for dining out.(Seated App)

Peabody says the local response has been positive. Seated signed up 50 Dallas-area restaurants in the first 30 days and has since eclipsed the 100 mark. The restaurants vary, from casual joints like BuzzBrews and Stan’s Blue Note to higher-end spots like Fearing’s, Sachet and The Charles.

Check the app, and you may find Fearing’s offering a 12% reward for dining during lunch, while Stan’s will give you 23% back for walking in on a weeknight. Some restaurants only offer rewards for dine-in service, while others extend the discounts to pick-up and delivery.

Once you visit a restaurant and upload your receipt, the rewards go into your account, where they can be redeemed as you see fit. Scroll through the options, and apply the funds toward your preferred partner, including Amazon, Uber, Starbucks, Nike and Apple. Essentially, you’re getting paid to eat. But Peabody points out that, according to their internal metrics, 81% of users enlist the app for discovery, with rewards acting as the bonus that pushes them to visit a restaurant on a particular day or at a certain time.

Seated launched in New York and also operates in Atlanta and Boston, making Dallas its fourth core market. They have expansion plans in the works that will bring the service to other cities next year, including Houston.

“Restaurants are vital threads in our social fabric,” says Peabody. “I think they are the common denominator among urbanites. We all like restaurants, and the role they play in our lives is really important. We want people to be excited about their local spots and dine more often at local restaurants.”

Seated is available on Apple and Android devices.

Want to know more about restaurants and technology?

* Some restaurants are trying out robots to help with dine-in service.

* The pandemic prompted some restaurants to invest in tech like temperature scanners.

* The Off the Menu app offers “secret dishes” at restaurants.

* How restaurants are using TikTok to tie into viral trends.

Kevin Gray, Special Contributor. Kevin Gray is a freelance writer specializing in food, drinks and travel. In addition to The Dallas Morning News, his work has appeared in publications including Forbes, Liquor.com, Men's Health and Wine Enthusiast. You can find him eating and drinking on Instagram @kevinrgray.

krgray1@gmail.com
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