#AD / The Dealer app interview

.. we are focusing on homelessness as it is a cause that is very important to us personally. In the long term, we would like to expand to allow any charity to list and raise on our platform.

Ed Alun-Jones, CEO of The Dealer app

The Dealer app is a discount food app with a difference. Although there are other apps that offer discounts at restaurants in Manchester, the Dealer app donates back to charities the more you use it. I speak with Ed Alun-Jones, the CEO and mastermind behind The Dealer app to find out more. 

Dealer app interview

Free fries from Cafe at the Museum

How did the idea for The Dealer come about?
I began plans for The Dealer while I was studying at Oxford. It may surprise some people but homelessness is a really big issue there. The Dealer sprang out of conversations with restaurant owners in Oxford who were fed up of traditional discounting platforms. They wanted something that got bums on seats at the right times. 

At the time I was volunteering at a homeless shelter called the Porch and the idea to use the discounts to raise money for homeless charities sprang out a conversation with Esperanza at the Porch, talking about how we could use local businesses to support local homeless charities. 
Added to that, none of the people around me at uni seemed to be using older discounting platforms. That seemed to be a branding issue as much as anything else. Students did not want to use Groupon because it had a very old-fashioned middle-aged feel to it. 
The Dealer logo

Why did you name the app The Dealer? What’s the idea behind the icon?
That is part of the reason that we called it The Dealer. We wanted something that was a bit punchy and in your face that breathed life into an industry that had become very static. That is also why we wanted a logo that was personable but also a bit mysterious. In our minds, The Dealer is a bit like the Stig from Top Gear. This mysterious figure that goes around doing good deeds. 
What would you tell eateries who are reluctant or thinking of joining the app?
The classic pushback we get back from eateries is that discounting eats into their margins. We have data that shows how much more revenue you make by offering discounts to specific users at specific times. There is an inflexion point around 30% off that sees a dramatic increase in footfall and we have the data to back it up. We would encourage people to try the platform for a couple of months and then if they still don’t like it, they can leave. There is no contract and if we don’t succeed in bringing in new customers we don’t take payment. Simple as that. 
Is it easy for charities to sign up to receive donations?
The donations go directly to our registered charities. At the moment, we are focusing on homelessness as it is a cause that is very important to us personally. In the long term, we would like to expand to allow any charity to list and raise on our platform. 
Charities and venues
What are the planned future developments for the app?
In terms of the future, our immediate plans are more users, more restaurants, more cities. Looking beyond that we would like to expand beyond food and drink into online retail, cinemas and other things like that. The more industries we have participating, the more we can raise. 

How to use the app

The Dealer is quite easy to use, although staff may be slow to act since they are getting used to people using the app. You simply load up the app and choose a restaurant near you, tap on the offer you’d like to redeem and let them know how many people are coming with you (that’s just to inform them, it’s not a booking!) Once you get to the restaurant, show them the code and it’s as easy as that!

The Dealer donating

In some cases, like with Black Dog Ballroom, the offers are exactly the same as you would get for just turning up at the bar, only you get that peace of mind that by showing the app, you are also helping to combat homelessness in Manchester. 

A percentage of your savings is passed on to charities, although there is a minimum donation of £5 before you can donate, which means you need to use the app enough times before you can start helping.


The app is available in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store for free.