A father-son duo has purchased the Columbus Prestige Dining Club and refreshed the business model.
A new dining experience app is hoping to make waves with the Central Ohio foodie crowd.
Father and son team Wayne and Robert Koehler founded Flavvr to chase an opportunity they saw based on one of their favorite bonding experiences: The Kentucky Bourbon Trail. The two wanted to replicate the experiential dining lifestyle back home in Powell.
Robert Koehler, a former Wendy’s analyst in corporate finance, says an opportunity came up to purchase the Columbus Prestige Dining Club, and the two had the idea to update the business and offer members deals beyond the buy one, get one of the old model, allowing partner restaurants to showcase their best as well. “We wanted to make it more modern and showcase the experience factor of it to draw in those personal connections for people with local places,” Robert Koehler says.
Flavvr launched its app in mid-June with an $8.99 monthly subscription that gets users deals from more than 50 area restaurants and drinking establishments. “Roughly 30 percent of current partners on the app were from the club,” says Koehler.Stay up to date with the region’s movers and shakers, top employers, philanthropic causes, real estate developments and thriving creative and startup scenes. Subscribe to Columbus CEO’s weekly newsletter.
Beyond restaurants, there’s a distillery (Noble Cut), a meadery (Brothers Drake), a cidery (Mad Moon Cider Taproom) and few specialty places such as wineries. Koehler says the lure is in offering more than the one-time cheap deal. Living Social and Groupon, he says, are not historically great partners for restaurants, generating one cut-rate visit at best. Flavvr aims to help partners showcase their best, from seasonal offerings to weekly specials.
“A sake master might want to push a sake tasting, that’s a really nice light to shine on that person,” Koehler says. “If it’s snowing, and you’re hurting sales-wise, we can push a notification to say ‘Hey, there’s a happy hour, come on in.’ Restaurants usually don’t have the ability to turn on that marketing reach out.”
Flavvr is aiming for the millennial crowd now widely recognized as the foodie market that restaurateurs covet. For example, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported in December 2017 that millennials, now the largest group of spenders in the economy, consume food in a restaurant or bar around 30 percent more often than any other generation. They want deals, convenience and special and fresh local experiences.
Koehler says Flavvr’s revenue comes strictly from memberships. The goal is eventual market expansion “once we have a very clear vision of what the market wants,” Koehler says.