Every year at the Celebration of the incoming class, John Carroll University hosts a Legacy Breakfast to celebrate legacy families and alumni that have gone out into the world to become successful and prosperous individuals. One such alum that was in attendance was Lauren Kluth, class of 2013, who is the founder of a new app called CLEseats.
CLEseats is an app and website where people can search for restaurants in the Cleveland area. It is similar to Yelp in its ability to search by price range, location, food type and by name of a particular restaurant. Once on a restaurant’s page, a person can see that restaurant’s menus and also its address, phone number and hours for each day of the week. Reservations can be made online and if they have an Open Table page, it can be reached from the restaurant page.
In addition to the basic information such as offering menus and the hours of business, CLEseats contains updates about social events and specials occurring at local restaurants. Kluth says of its benefits, “We show you all of their happy hours, food specials, live entertainment, karaoke nights, trivia nights and it’s broken up [into days each week]. Then, you can get an exclusive discount, such as 20 percent off at a restaurant that you can’t get anywhere else.”
Restaurants in partnership with CLEseats include Fire Food and Drink in Shaker Square, Michaelson and Morley, Great Lakes Brewing Company and Melt.
The app launched on Feb. 1 after six months of preparation, spending on brand awareness, recruiting restaurants and developing software. However, CLEseats has been a long time coming for Kluth since she came up with the idea two years ago.
Kluth said of the process, “I graduated in 2013 from John Carroll and then I moved to Chicago for two years. I created it while I was in Chicago and I would say it was in summer 2014.” She continued, “I created it while I was there and did all the necessary legal stuff such as getting an LLC (limited liability company), figuring out my name, my logo and hiring my developers. I was preparing to launch it the minute I moved back home.”
As Kluth’s business continues to grow, she is looking to hire more interns for sales and marketing positions, in particular students from John Carroll. Currently, she has one intern, John Carroll senior Mary McDonnell, working with her at CLEseats.
McDonnell said of working at CLEseats, “I am so lucky to have the opportunity to work with CLEseats this semester. It’s fascinating to watch this startup company evolve and to be apart of it all.” She continued, “Interning with CLEseats has been a great learning experience and amazingly fun thus far. Not to mention, I always know which Cleveland restaurants to check out with exclusive CLEseats deals!”
As for the future of CLEseats, Kluth hopes it will cover most of Northeast Ohio and incorporate every restaurant in Cleveland, including cafes, coffee shops and other businesses that are food-related. She hopes it will become “more of a guide” for Clevelanders rather than just a select few restaurants that CLEseats is in partnership with.
“Within the next five years, I would also like to expand to another city, maybe Columbus next, but that is definitely down the road,” said Kluth of her dreams for the future of the app.
Junior Tim Haubert said, “I would use it, it looks like a good place to broaden your horizons and find new places to eat. The fact that you can book a reservation right from the website and it offers coupons are also a major plus.”
Senior Wanda Rosario added, “I think [the website] could use more visuals. I know from experience that people like to look at pictures and videos and things that are lengthy in words lose people’s interest. Otherwise, its pretty good!”
Anyone can download the app for free from iTunes App Store, and the Android app will be released within the next five to six months. If unable to download the app, then the person can use the website for free or view it on their phones as it appears on the app.