When it comes to discounts on food, college students are certain to take advantage of them. Maybe you have heard of the Hooked app for deals or relied on Yelp to decide where to eat. Now, there is an app that combines these two aspects — meet Spotluck, the No. 1 dining app on the App Store, helping the indecisive make decisions without hurting their wallets.

The premise is simple — just spin the virtual wheel once a day to receive a deal. This discount is specific to local restaurants in whatever neighborhood you are in, whether it is Blacksburg, Georgetown, Harrisonburg or any of its other numerous hubs. With over 600 restaurants offering discounts, students are bound to find a good deal.

Don’t be fooled, these discounts are not random — they are strategically calculated to draw customers in.

“We patented a software that changes discounts in restaurants based on the day, time and weather,” said Cherian Thomas, CEO of Spotluck.  “So Mondays are going to have higher discounts than Fridays, and when it’s raining the discounts are higher.”

Users can also get a loyalty discount of 10 percent even if they do not land on a certain spot when spinning.

“The reason we started the company about two and a half years ago is that prices in a restaurant on a Wednesday when it’s raining at 2 p.m. really shouldn’t be the same as a Friday night at 6 when it’s beautiful out,” Thomas said. “And restaurants agree. All these businesses are getting smarter because consumers are getting smarter.”

What started as a capstone project at Georgetown University for Thomas and co-founder Brad Sayler, quickly grew into an app with a full-fledged network of restaurants.

“We both ended up quitting our jobs to do something we believed in,” Thomas said.

He pointed out that there is more to running a restaurant than keeping fresh food. There are times and empty seats to worry about.

The app is loaded with features — many you cannot discover until setting foot in a participating restaurant. Using GPS technology, you can lock in your discount by physically visiting the spot.

Users can view previous customers’ ratings, directions to restaurants and use a tip calculator based on the cost of the meal.

Thomas’ personal favorite part of the app mirrors that of the businesses participating.

“Outside of solving the dining dilemma and saving a marriage, (my favorite part) is probably the GPS-verified reviews,” Thomas said. “That’s one of the biggest values we bring to the restaurants. They like to know that these reviews are real.”

For Matt Chew, assistant manager of Green’s Grill & Sushi Bar, his favorite feature of the app is that it allows customers to review their servers. According to Chew, if an employee gets five good reviews, that employee receives a bonus.

Spotluck not only encourages people to try different restaurants but also rewards exceptional service, not to mention that customers earn points in the app for better discounts by writing reviews.

“It’s like a roulette to decide where you want to go,” said Jonathan Sabin, manager of Next Door Bake Shop. Sabin noted its similarity to the Hooked app in that it provides incentives with the discounts constantly changing.

However, Spotluck differs from Hooked in that it only partners with locally owned restaurants. Chain restaurants cannot participate. Spotluck also boasts the interactive spinning wheel for added charm.

“Not many people know about it yet, but I can see it catching on,” Sabin said.

“We go to (the restaurants) personally, but they also call us,” Thomas said. “We’ve had entire cities call us and say, ‘Will you bring the app here?’”

So, what is next for Spotluck? The app is destined for Baltimore next month and New York City in November or December.

“We really want Blacksburg to shine so we can do other college towns,” Thomas said. “You guys are at the forefront.”