Photo courtesy of Peter Ly

Grumbo.io helps students get cheap food

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By Sylvia Lorico 

Imagine if there was a way to get food at restaurants across campus at almost unreal discounts.

Grumbo.io is an online, subscription-based website that allows students who sign up to receive food deals in their email, offering up to 80 per cent off a certain dish at restaurants.

Peter Ly, the founder of Grumbo.io was inspired while doing a video shoot with Katsuya restaurant on Church and Gerrard streets. The restaurant  was offering a buy one get one free deal.

“This got me thinking: Why aren’t there any restaurants or places that offer crazy deals or promotions to just get people through the door?” He said.

Ly partnered with Katsuya, launching a 60 per cent off deal on their pork loin signature dish. He said the day of the deal the restaurant was packed with customers.

“For [Katsuya] it was too much,” he said, “They didn’t have the manpower to serve that many people.”

As a result, Grumbo.io was created. Food deals are offered between 2-5 pm on a single dish that the partnering restaurant offers like Katsuya’s pork loin.

The idea behind offering a single dish Ly said was to encourage customers to try out a dish at a restaurant they might be unfamiliar with, and then come back to in the future.

“We want to bring attention to one dish, to help restaurants grow their business,” he said.

In addition, deals are always offered between 2-5 pm since most restaurants are not in peak times and would be able to receive an influx of potential customers.

“If we sent out an email and we got 50 to 100 people, that’s going to slam a restaurant,” he said.

Ly’s focus remains on restaurants around the Ryerson community. He hopes to foster the food culture to the point where students will actively try new foods around the area at a discounted rate.

“We just bring the barrier down so that you can try many different foods you’ve never tried before.”

Unlike apps such as Uber Eats or Foodora, Grumbo.io does not offer delivery services. Instead, users have to physically go to the restaurants and redeem the offer there.

“It sort of becomes an activity,” he said, “it’s something you’ll do with your co-workers or friends.”

At the moment, Grumbo.io does not gain any revenue from customers or the restaurants. Ly said it’s entirely focused on giving discounts to customers.

However, he does hope that he will profit from restaurants normalizing the platform and using it to bring exposure.

“[Restaurants] can have very good chefs or very good cooks but that doesn’t mean they understand business, it doesn’t mean they understand marketing or PR.”

In the past, Grumbo.io has offered deals with places such as Spring Rolls, Hummussiah and the Steak and Cheese Factory. Ly noted that another potential benefit aside from cheaper food options was the ability for customers to give feedback on service went they purchase food.

“Restaurants that have good ratings or brand names outperform significantly compared to restaurants that have a really good location but don’t have good food or service,” he said.

“Eventually, we do want to communicate [these issues] to restaurant owners so they can improve their business.”

Ly hopes the business will expand to the point where he can negotiate deals with bigger restaurants like Tim Horton’s, as well as expand his business across the city.

“We want it be across the board,” he said, “In the future, maybe you can go to a restaurant like Tim Horton’s and access the deal from North York or Vaughan.”

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