Mon01262015

News

UPDATED: Missing Los Altos High School student found

UPDATED at 10:20 p.m. Jan. 21: Mountain View Police report that Avendano is safe after being located in Los Angeles County.

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The Mountain View Police Department is looking for 17 year-old Mountain View resident Lizbeth Avendano. Accordin...

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Schools

MVLA revisits prospect of ninth-grade PE exemptions

MVLA revisits prospect of ninth-grade PE exemptions


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District Board of Trustees is scheduled to vote on a proposal to exempt ninth-grade student-athletes from taking PE. Students take part in a physical education class at Mount...

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Community

Midnight Express offers late-night rides from SF

Midnight Express offers late-night rides from SF


From Midnight Express Instagram
A group of millennial-aged Santas celebrating a night on the town prepare for a safe ride from San Francisco to their South Bay homes, courtesy of Cory Althoff’s new Midnight Express shuttle.

It’s no understatemen...

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Comment

More open than ever: Editorial

One of the Los Altos City Council’s objectives for 2015 is implementing an open-government policy. The title of the policy may be somewhat misleading, because it’s not as if the city has had a closed-government policy. But the new proposal goes beyon...

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Business

Cassidy Turley, DTZ plan to combine

Cassidy Turley, DTZ plan to combine


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Cassidy Turley, which has offices at 339 S. San Antonio Road, is combining with DTZ following its recent acquisition.

Commercial real estate services companies DTZ and Cassidy Turley have joined forces to operate as a sin...

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Books

Gawande's

Gawande's "Being Mortal" proves an important book on aging


Books about death and dying are usually not on my list of “must reads.”

I couldn’t resist, however, the best-selling “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End” (Metropolitan Books, 2014) by Atul Gawande.

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People

JUDY HOFFMANN

JUDY HOFFMANN

Judy Hoffmann passed away unexpectedly October 17, 2014 in New York City. It was only fitting Judy would be traveling and enjoying special adventures in so many different places until the very end.

Judy has lived since 1969 in Los Altos with her h...

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Travel

Cuban photographer slated to appear at Foothill

Cuban photographer slated to appear at Foothill


Courtesy of Raúl Cañibano
Cuban photographer Raúl Cañibano is set to appear at Foothill College tonight. His work – including the image “Series: Guajira’s Land, Viñales, 2007,” right – is on display at the KCI Gallery t...

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Stepping Out

TheatreWorks launches '2 Pianos' in Mtn. View

TheatreWorks launches '2 Pianos' in Mtn. View


Suellen Fitzsimmons/Special to the Town Crier
Christopher Tocco stars in TheatreWorks’ “2 Pianos 4 Hands,” which opened last week.

TheatreWorks’ production of “2 Pianos 4 Hands” is scheduled to run through Feb. 15 at the Mountain View Center fo...

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Spiritual Life

Start something great by ringing in the new year with prayer

There is a tradition, which I’m told originates in the Midwest, that calls for people to pray in the new year. A few years ago, I was invited to a friend’s house and a number of people stayed up until midnight (approximately two hours pa...

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Magazine

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years


Courtesy of Christopher Stark
Homes on the St. Francis High School Women’s Club’s Christmas at Our House Holiday Home Tour showcase a variety of architectural styles.

The days grow short on sunshine but long on nostalgia as the holidays approach...

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Local duo debuts app in Los Altos


Photo By: Images courtesy of Kyle Chronis
Photo Images Courtesy Of Kyle Chronis

The LocalDine app, developed by Kyle Chronis and Clay Wayman, offers restaurant deals for diners seeking a bite to eat in Los Altos.

Coupon cutting has changed in America as mobile phone use drives increasing interest in dropping the scissors and building an app. Marketing research company eMarketer estimates that last year nearly 92 million shoppers used digital coupons, spurred on by sites like the Amazon-backed LivingSocial and its rival Groupon, which originated the deal site as we now know it in 2008.

Daily deals and their ilk present a vexing problem for restaurants, where low profit margins can make vouchers a risky business. LocalDine, a new app launched in Los Altos this month, aims to reimagine the digital coupon, tailoring it to restaurant realities and split-second dining decisions.

Los Altos resident Kyle Chronis developed the self-funded business with Clay Wayman of Mountain View. While working at an office on San Antonio Road, Chronis watched groups of his co-workers negotiating where to eat as they walked into town and realized that he was looking at a market opportunity. Diners wanted to pick a lunch spot with minimal planning, and restaurants needed to figure out how to attract such large groups.

Three clicks to a deal

As Chronis researched restaurants’ untapped data – the in-house records of slow days, the most-popular dishes and the spending habits of different sizes of group – he concluded that an app could take a fine-tuning approach by customizing diner incentives to restaurant capabilities on a given day.

A chef could promote the day’s special or offer a free appetizer to parties of five or more, and diners could browse for deals within their immediate vicinity, filtering based on their party size.

Chronis and Wayman calculated that in the restaurant business, notorious for its high fixed costs, increasing party size could make a sizable financial difference. Every empty seat in a restaurant at lunchtime represents a missed opportunity. So, a strategy that lures larger groups via discounts or special offers could prove a net win for both value-conscious diners and restaurateurs.

“If you’re going to waste a four-top table on two people, if you only get a penny more for each of two more people, it’s still another two pennies,” Wayman said of encouraging larger party sizes.

Chronis developed an app that offers restaurateurs granular control over their deals. For instance, on a quiet Thursday evening, the restaurateur could advertise a “two-for-one” deal or free soda and withdraw it two hours later. The goal is to influence local diners as they’re about to make decisions on where to go and whether to round up an extra friend or co-worker to join.

Sales reps hawking online “deals” services are thick on the ground in the Bay Area, with many startups following the model popularized by established companies such as Groupon and Yelp. Most of the deals’ vendors take a cut of each discount a business offers, in exchange for providing and promoting the deal – and hence the business – to their user base.

Chronis and Wayman want to turn the model on its head, building a subscription-based tool restaurants can use to reach diners directly and modify in real time deals that aren’t performing well. The service records statistics and enables diners to send a restaurant private feedback through the app. By building an interface clients can use to post their own details, the LocalDine team avoided the need for an internal sales staff to generate and market each deal.

For the eaters, the app avoids all payment systems – no logins or virtual money changes hands. Upon launching, the app queries party size and mealtime (e.g., lunch or dinner) to generate a display of local deals. The user presses “hold” on the deal of choice, and shows the phone to the waiter upon arrival. The app automatically tallies the deal as complete once the GPS checks the diner in at the locale.

“It’s three clicks to a deal,” Wayman said. “We’re not looking for the ability to get someone off their couch, we’re looking for someone who’s already on their way. It’s the greatest way for you to get a deal at the places you want to go.”

The app, exclusive to iPhones for the time being, was launched this month with seven Los Altos restaurants as beta testers. As of lunchtime last week, Maltby’s Restaurant & Tavern was offering 10 percent off the tab, and First & Main Sports Lounge touted half off an appetizer.

For more information, visit www.localdineapp.com.

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