There are a lot of daily deals subscription sites (more than I know I can manage), and keeping up with all of those coupons hitting your inbox can leave you feeling pressured to scoop up that bargain even if you’re not sure when, or really if, you’re going to use it. You probably know if you’re getting a haircut or going on vacation in a few weeks, so buying those sorts of deals in advance may seem like an easier commitment to make.
But what are you and your friends going to feel like eating after the movie on Friday and where are you going to want to have brunch on Sunday morning? You haven’t locked those choices in when you buy that Groupon on Monday; these are decisions you’re going to make on the fly, and BiteHunter is there to the rescue. You don’t know you’ll want gyros Saturday afternoon or even where to look for a deal at a Greek restaurant, but BiteHunter does and puts all that and pizza, sushi, and more on your phone.
What Are You in the Mood For?
Starting up the app, BiteHunter gives a grab bag of the top four dining deals for your location and an idea of how much you’re saving at each restaurant. If you’re in the mood for something special, swipe through BiteHunter’s selection of cuisines until you find what you’re looking for. You can also view your restaurant choices in a list or plotted on a map.
When you’ve found the Thai vegetable rolls you want, a tap brings you to the info page, giving you a more detailed report on the coupon and restaurant, with links to the deals site and the fine print, the Yelp reviews, and a snapshot of their menu. When you’re all set, you just have to click the green Buy button to purchase the deal inside the app.
One App to Buy Them All
When it’s time to buy, you’ll have the option to sign into your own account with the deals site or have BiteHunter create an account for you. BiteHunter will store all your billing info right in the app, so you don’t have to manage purchases at several different places. Always looking out for your best interests, I checked their FAQ, and they state they use “bank-grade encryption” and require a PIN each time you make a purchase. That means even if your phone is stolen, the perp can’t live it up on Travelzoo on your dime with purchases made through BiteHunter.
One of the handiest features was the ability to set the search radius. It’s not immediately obvious where to find this or even that it’s going to be all that useful, with an unspecified but fairly small default. When I was looking for a place to have lunch though, I wanted something nearby, even within walking distance. Changing the search radius to a mile or even less was a necessity for which BiteHunter had accounted. Likewise, if you know you’re going to be out of town, you can change your location and search outside the city or town where you live, focusing on restaurants near your hotel, meeting hall, or comic book convention.
Just One Flaw
A big drawback is that you have to go outside the app to redeem your deals, and you probably shouldn’t look forward to in-app redemption in a future update, at least for a while. As for now, you can redeem deals a few different ways. After you’ve purchased the deal, you’ll receive an email that can either be printed or will link you to a printable coupon. You can print the email or just flash your email with the coupon code when you’re at the restaurant to get that sweet deal. The third way is to access the coupon through the deals site’s iOS app, if they have one. For instance, the Groupon app will store all of your deals for you and allow you to access them any time.
Did you notice none of those options involved the BiteHunter app itself? When I reached out to BiteHunter, they confirmed that showing your waiter that you purchased the deal within the BiteHunter app won’t be enough to save you 50% on tapas. You’re going to have to have that email, on your phone or on paper, or an app direct from the deals site.
Is it Still Worth the Trouble?
Ha! What trouble? BiteHunter shines so brightly in so many other ways, the tiny annoyance of opening my email to get that falafel coupon isn’t even really an annoyance. I always know what’s the deal on food near me, and I don’t feel the pressure to buy those coupons every morning when that barage of Groupon and Restaurant.com and Gilt emails hit my inbox, just in case I want deli on the way home.
BiteHunter has that all under control for me. I don’t have to plan to be spontaneous, buying a pizza coupon a week or two before I even know I want pizza. Instead, I can just be spontaneous.