For all of us who eat out a frequent basis, we know that the cost of dining out can add up quickly. How would you like to eat out more and spend less? Welcome to the new Chronogram Smartcard.
Many of you know Chronogram from its beautiful magazine. found throughout the Hudson Valley. The magazine, which started in 1993, offers an insider’s peek into lifestyles, ideas and cultural events in the Hudson Valley—covering everything from politics to horoscopes and of course, what would any Hudson Valley-focused magazine be without food?
So, what is the Chronogram Smartcard? “The Smartcard is an app that allows people who enjoy dining in the Hudson Valley to sample the best restaurants and food offerings of the region at a discounted rate.” Jason Stern, founder/owner of Luminary Media tells me. “People pay for their dining experience through the Smartcard app and in return, get anything from 20-50% discount off their check.”
Sounds to good to be true? Here’s how it works: Download the app (available in both the Apple and Android stores). Using a credit card, load the app with funds. After eating at any of the participating restaurants, you simply enter the amount of the check in the app, confirm the discount, show it to the server, and your check is paid. It’s that easy.
You can add funds to your account in advance or use the “pay now” feature to fund the exact amount of your bill when you pay your check.
Deeply committed to local, Stern’s mission for the Chronogram Smartcard is to help build the Hudson Valley economy, in this case the food industry. “It’s one of the driving forces of why we do what we do, which is encouraging people to support local businesses,” says Stern.
“The restaurants that we have available on the app are locally owned, the food is locally-sourced, and they’re within Chronogram’s brand. So, the goal here is for the Chronogram Smartcard to become the go-to ‘where do I want to eat in the Hudson Valley?’ app. All the Smartcard participating restaurants are helmed by Hudson Valley business community members, serving fare that is farm to table. There are no franchises or chains.”
You can see how this is good for the customers, but what’s in it for the restaurant owner? The program gives the restaurants an advertising presence through Chronogram Magazine, on chronogram.com, and in the Eat Play Stay newsletter, which goes out to about 25,000 subscribers 4x a week.
According to Stern, it’s a way for restaurants to advertise without paying any cash for advertising. In essence, they’re trading for the advertising. “Restaurants invariably are operating very close to their margins. They don’t have extra cashflow and as much as they want to, it is difficult to spend money on advertising,” adds Stern. “The Smartcard gives them an opportunity advertising without laying out cash for the priviledge.”
In fact, it is not the restaurant who absorbs the discount, it is Chronogram. The restaurant gets 100% of the value of the check as credit towards their advertising. “The diner eats the food, and we eat the discount,” says Stern.
Stern also points out that the amount of credit is limited to the advertising schedule that they create with their Chronogram sales rep. This means the amount of credit is not unlimited, but rather corresponds to the size of the marketing campaign the restaurant chooses to run. In other words, the restaurant does not have to worry about people using the app for more than their pre-arranged monthly agreement with Chronogram. When a restaurant’s credit is used up, their listing will disappear from the app until the following month.
The ChronogramSmartcart, launched just five months ago, offers significant discounts to a growing list of restaurants distributed throughout the Hudson Valley. The app makes it easy – just pull out your phone, open the app and see what’s available to you, no matter where you are or want to go.
Or click here to watch a short video of the app in action.