Alabama-Targeted Food & Drink App

Restaurant app comes in the nick of time

Can I get take out at my favorite restaurant? Check the app.

The Alabama Food & Drink App may not have been created for the coronavirus crisis, but it’s stepping up to the plate.

When app developer Jonathon Kohn set to work on his new app, he just wanted a forum for current information about lots of restaurants without the negativity that creeps into comments on many similar sites.

In fact, he was only interested in eateries in Montgomery, his hometown.

But he quickly expanded his horizons on what areas to cover — it’s statewide now — and what the potential value could be.

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The app relies on a cadre of volunteers — 62 of the app’s nearly 1,000 current users are signed on as volunteers — to add their favorite dining establishment and update information about them.

The app features the latest possible information on hours, menus and locations. And most important these virus days, it details whether to order online, whether curbside pick up is available and whether delivery is an option. It might also talk about what the restaurant is doing to help furloughed workers in the community and such.

Check it out here:

Restaurant owners can sign on and update their information, Kohn says, but so can customers.

He likes the convenience. For users, instead of checking each restaurant individually, they can go to one app to check out many options in their home city. Just two weeks after its launch, the app lists restaurants in 29 Alabama cities.

For owners, instead of updating a zillion sites, they can update just one that’s easy for customers to find.

And for restaurant buffs, there’s work to be done — adding in more restaurants and earning game-style accolades for their work. “I tried to marry social aspects into a crowd-sourced database,” he says.

App users also have the option of making a donation to support the project, but the lion’s share of any donation goes to support local food-related charities like food banks and Meals on Wheels.

Though he’s created a tool for restaurants and their customers, Kohn says it’s not because he’s a foodie but because he loves creating apps. In his day job, he does just that for a Montgomery-area nonprofit.

“I’m interesting in what people are able to do when given a tool,” he says. “For me, it’s that I can building something that would help this entire industry.”

If this works, he says, he may try expanding to other types of business.

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