Let's face it - we all love saving money. Whether it's a fancy new coat you're getting or a $5 meal at Cookout, saving money feels good - like an accomplishment if you are someone like us. Now when it comes to food you can scour the internet for good nearby deals or download one of hundreds of company apps in the hopes of scoring some deals. Well we have the perfect solution - crowdsourcing. Instead of playing this game like a one-man team why not have everyone play together.
With Pepper, users will be able to view and report offers they have received at trips to restaurants near them in real-time. This would allow people to find great offers for local businesses that don't have a presence on the Internet while also reaping discounts on big-chain companies with ease (rather than having 15 different apps or tabs open). Our hope with Pepper is to help consumers save money but also give local restaurants a voice and chance to connect with customers nearby with simple offers and deals.
What it does
Pepper currently has two main features. The first feature, the feed, is real-time streaming of restaurant offers close to the user. The offers can be organized by distance and recency. The app also provides the option for users to submit an offer that they received at a restaurant so that others can view it on their respective feeds.
How I built it
We used Flutter to develop our mobile application, Firebase for storing offer-related data, and Google Maps APIs for determining latitude and longitude of restaurants and for autocomplete when searching for restaurants.
Challenges I ran into
The first challenge we ran into was developing a feasible and useful idea. We came to the idea of restaurant offers early on but finalized the crowdsourcing element at 4 AM on Saturday morning. Next, this was basically everyone's first time making a mobile application and Flutter was foreign to us in the beginning. Learning the ins and outs of Dart took a fair amount of time, but was well worth it. Lastly, we underestimated the difficulty of finding a way of accurately determining current latitude and longitude for the user.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
We built a fully-functional mobile application which allows users to find offers that the local community has discovered in real-time - the refresh rate is crazy! We truly believe that our idea of crowdsourcing opens up access to deals on restaurants that are currently not available elsewhere, especially for the smaller, local ones. We were able to implement most of the features that we came up with in the brainstorming stages and our final app has a great user experience, which is something we hoped for early on!
What I learned
Learned a great deal of cross-platform mobile development using Flutter
What's next for Pepper
We would like to include an up-voting system that helps the community know which offers are most liked and reliable. Furthermore, we would like to make accounts specific for restaurants (especially smaller ones) so they have the ability to post real-time deals and offers, incentivizing users to try them out!