App gives users cash back

Photo by Will Huang

Photo by Will Huang

A recent Wilfrid Laurier University graduate might hold the key to helping students save money while eating off campus.

Justin Gravelle, creator of a new mobile application Crave n’ Save, explained his project allows users to get cash back every time they eat at their favourite restaurants.

Leon Chen, a University of Waterloo graduate, helped Gravelle design the app.

“We tailor to the users. They’re all excited because they don’t have to do anything, they don’t have to pay anything, they just live and every time they go eat they just have to upload their receipt,” Gravelle explained.

Gravelle graduated from Laurier last December with a bachelor of business administration and an accounting designation. He started developing the idea for Crave n’ Save during his accounting exams in November of that year.

He said students often don’t think about how much they are spending on food each year.

“Anytime you can cut corners or reduce any type of fee is absolutely critical,” he continued.

As a student, Gravelle would throw away coupons in the mail and believed they weren’t effective for busy university students, who often forget about them. This is the issue that drove the creation of the app.

“Thinking from the other side, I was like, ‘Hey, from a restaurant’s perspective, they spent all this money sending out all these coupons and I just threw it out in two seconds and everyone I talked to threw them out, they don’t care,’” he explained.

Crave n’ Save also allows them to extract information based on receipts, which is used to see what customers like and want from restaurants.

“It’s to help the students save money, but the restaurants can gather specific data that they’ve never been able to do before,” Gravelle explained.

“They wouldn’t be able to do this without a platform, they will never be able to give just cash back.”

Users on the app, which just launched two weeks ago and already has 150 members, can browse offers and purchase items at particular restaurants. The user then uploads the receipt and savings go into the user’s account. Once the account reaches $20, the user can cash out using electronic money transfer or physical cash.

As of now, the app’s most popular restaurants are Shoeless Joe’s and Campus Pizza in Waterloo.

Restaurants on the app can customize their offers and set restrictions on when customers can receive their deals.

According to Gravelle, they are hiring more students to help expand the app. The sales team will get a set commission and a percentage off redemptions from restaurants they sign on.

“I think that’s pretty attractive for a lot of students or anyone for that matter.”

Gravelle said users started sending feedback on the Facebook page and through the app.

“So far it’s been fantastic, not to toot our own horn, but I think we’ve really taken our time to really think this through on a big scale and think about our users and what people would actually want and how the site looks, how everything operates.”

He also said he hopes Crave n’ Save will succeed with students and restaurants in years to come.

“We have a big market to tap, but in terms of growth, the sky’s the limit.”

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