Spotluck Offers Discounts, Supports Local Restaurants In State College

Tom Nguyen comes back to Happy Valley at least once every year and every time he comes back, he’s surprised.

The 2004 Penn State graduate is surprised at how much the charming town of State College has changed since he graduated almost 15 years ago. He sees the high-rise apartments being built. He sees the renovations being made to campus buildings. More importantly though, he sees staples of his time here like the Ye Olde College Diner and the All-American Rathskellar closing down.

Nguyen is one of the founding members of Spotluck, a company that offers discounts at particular local dining locations. This past week, it launched in State College, and Nguyen played a big part in making it happen.

“That’s more why I want Spotluck to exist here in State College — for these local staples to never have to worry. Everyone around here, all the locals, are going to support it for sure. So you have an attachment to what you had experienced here at Penn State,” Nguyen said. “So we hope that Spotluck can help support these local places so that people who are here now don’t have to come back to visit and wonder what happened.”

Spotluck works through its app, where you can play a game of “restaurant roulette.” You spin a wheel and based on whatever restaurant ends up being selected, you get a discount at that location. So it not only helps undecided customers choose a restaurant to eat at, but also gives a discount if they choose to eat there.

However, customers don’t have to eat at the restaurant the app chooses for them. If they decide they want to eat at another one of the 13 locations that are partners with Spotluck, customers can still get a smaller discount at those locations.

Bill Pickle’s Tap Room, Faccia Luna Pizzeria, The Allen Street Grille, The Corner Room, Federal Taphouse, and Baby’s Burgers and Shakes, just to name a few, all are on the app in its opening week in State College.

Another member of the Spotluck team, Adam Corson, also attended Penn State. Corson, the Spotluck Local Community Partner, is in charge of making sure Spotluck is running smoothly here in State College. That is because Corson still resides in the town that has played such a big role in his life. In fact, Corson met his wife at the Skellar and proposed to her in the Phyrst.

Corson says that the Spotluck app has the potential for immense success here at Penn State.

“Bringing Spotluck technology here to State College will be a game-changer for people like myself — the residents. We want to support local, and we want to make dining fun and easy,” Corson said. “This town thrives with a healthy mixture of students supporting our local spots and the residents supporting them too.”

Spotluck is also partnered with local restaurants in Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and New York City, among other cities as well. Nguyen, the marketing director for Spotluck, believes becoming a part of a tight-knit town like State College is a huge step for the company, but sees even more in store for Spotluck in the future.

“[Our goal is] to go everywhere. But we also want to be smart about it, be genuine about it,” Nguyen said. “We really do care about all the local communities we work in.”

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Navin Zachariah

Navin is just your average Dallas Cowboys fan from "right outside of Philly." A biology major, Navin hopes to one day cure the Cowboys of Jason Garrett. He is one of the select few who actually like The Chainsmokers. And if you see someone who looks exactly like him around campus, it could actually be his identical twin brother. Navin always trusts the process. Feel free to contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @nzach3.

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