Wed09172014

News

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council last week approved the installation of two new directional signs on Foothill Expressway pointing motorists to the Woodland Plaza Shopping District.

The Los Altos City Council voted unanimou...

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Schools

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Edsel Clark, new Los Altos School District assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, above, facilitates a junior high mathematics curriculum meeting last week.

Edsel Clark, Ed.D., new assistant superintend...

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Community

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China


From IncredibleTravelPhotos.com
Jacque Kae’s “Mischievous” is one of the many photographs on display at Foothill College this month.

Photographs of the land and culture of Huangshan and Zhangjiajie, China, are on exhibit through Sept. 26 at t...

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Sports

Spartans shine in opener

Spartans shine in opener


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High’s Frank Kapp snares a touchdown pass from quarterback Owen Mountford in Friday’s win.

Leading by a point at halftime, the Mountain View High football team outscored visiting Del Mar 20-0 the rest of...

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Comment

A look ahead to the Nov. 4 election: Editorial

Election season is upon us. In Los Altos, we have three major local races ahead – two seats on the Los Altos City Council, and three seats each on the Los Altos School District and Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District boards of tr...

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Special Sections

Renovation complete,  Villa Siena looks to future

Renovation complete, Villa Siena looks to future


Above and Below Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier; Left Photo Courtesy of Villa Siena
Villa Siena in Mountain View recently underwent a $35 million face-lift. The five-year project expanded their senior living community’s space and ability to serv...

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Business

Transitioning from postage to pets

Transitioning from postage to pets


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A new Pet Food Express store is scheduled to open at the Blossom Valley Shopping Center this month.

A site that previously existed to meet postal service needs will soon have an entirely different purpose – serving pe...

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Books

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights


A good story about aliens is always great fun to read – after all, it’s only by attempting to understand the human race from another perspective that we can see ourselves more objectively.

But readers who might be tempted to dismiss ye...

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People

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

Resident of San Jose and Los Altos, California

July 21, 1931 to August 4, 2014

Born in Arimo, Idaho, to Jerald Emmett and Rebecca Henderson Nelson Christiansen. Raised in Davis and Riverside, California, with summers in Downey, Idaho, and in Loga...

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Travel

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska


Sandy Powell/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident and bird photographer Sandy Powell recently visited Homer, Alaska, to photograph Sandhill cranes, below. While there, Powell also encountered moose, left.

Los Altos resident Sandy Powell, a...

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Stepping Out

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos


Courtesy of Los
The cast of Los Altos Stage Company’s “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” includes, from left, Mylissa Malley as Lin, Vanessa Alvarez as Betty, and Christina Bolognini as Pickles. Altos Stage Company

Los Altos Stage Company...

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Spiritual Life

9/11 survivor Michael Hingson finds purpose

Imagine walking down 78 flights of stairs – 1,463 individual steps. You are in imminent danger as you walk, unsure whether you can make it out of the building before it collapses or explodes. Struggling for each breath, you smell the heavy sten...

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Magazine

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living


Courtesy of Spectrum Interior Design
In place of a more traditional fireplace, this modern living room features a linear-flame firebox that emits heat while offering a sculpturelike design element.

After traveling the world and visiting a host...

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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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