Two local entrepreneurs have recently launched an app that aims to leverage supply and demand to benefit both restaurants and patrons.
The House, available on IOS and Android, is a new app—and the name of the recently launched business—that helps users solve the inevitable "Where should we eat?" dilemma.
To find the app, search "eat on the house" in the App Store.
Chattanoogans can use the app to find restaurants that have tables open and that are willing to provide exclusive offers to bring in customers.
Through the app, users can see a curated list of nearby participating restaurants, as well as available seating times. They can then reserve the spot and deal before they run out.
App users claim a table for their entire party, and everyone in the party gets the exclusive offer.
The app also allows users to view the restaurant's menu and website. Users redeem the offer via the app and pay at the restaurant as they usually would.
The end result is that restaurants draw in customers during otherwise-slow times, while patrons get special offers and assurance that they don't have to wait for a table—which should make deciding where to eat easier.
Entrepreneurs Matt Patterson and Matt Harb, who are behind the app, worked with local restaurateurs to see if there was a need for this kind of service, and they said they got great feedback.
"We didn't try to force a product into a space," Harb said. "We let the future users build it."
The House is free to download and use, and restaurants pay a monthly subscription fee to participate.
Although they might try to raise money in the future, they've self-funded the new startup and put in "a lot of sweat equity" to get it launched.
So far, there are about 20 downtown, North Shore and Southside restaurants participating, and the duo has almost a dozen more they are working to get onboard.
"We are just big Chattanooga guys and love the food scene," Harb said.
And they built the app around the idea that locals eat at local places, Patterson said.
"I'm always looking for an open table and something unique going on that night," he said.
Although they are starting in Chattanooga, the duo said they hope to expand the product nationwide.
"We view it as a national brand," Patterson said. "We want to start here in Chattanooga and keep working on it until we feel like it's perfect ... and then take it to other markets."