You just walked into one of the newest, most-hyped restaurants or cafes in the Washington, D.C. area. Just like when you walk into any other public building, you feel the urge to pull out your smartphone. You check in on FourSquare, tag yourself with your friends on Facebook, and tweet your first impression of the place. You might even snap an artsy pic of your latte and post it on Instagram.
These social media platforms are free to use and sometimes you can even unlock a special discount on FourSquare simply by checking in. But is this restaurant or cafe your friends hyped so much really worth the time it takes to check in, tweet, snap a photo, and tag your friends? What's really in it for you?
Welcome to Belly.
No, not that belly. It's sure to get full enough from all that delicious food you devour while checking out that newest shop on the block. Filling your other "Belly" could prove to be even more delicious.
The "Belly" smartphone app allows customers at participating businesses throughout the Washington, D.C. area to check in each time they visit, rack up points, and then redeem those points for some sweet rewards.
Bittersweet (which I would highly recommend) in Old Town Alexandria, Va. is a "Belly" business that rewards its customers for taking a few minutes to give it a social media shout-out.
Here's how it works. Find the Belly logo at a participating business, open the Belly app, scan your phone to the barcode provided beside the logo, and start collecting points.
You can see which reward options are available simply by tapping the bottom center tab once you've opened the app.
For example, each check in at Bittersweet will get you five points. Lock in 50 points and a mini cupcake is yours. Rack up 100 points and enjoy a "buy one get one" dinner discount.
If you're a regular, you're sure to climb to 250 points pretty quickly. In that case, a $15 gift card is on the house.
Bittersweet? That's more like...well, just sweet. It might even be as sweet as that free cupcake you'll be bellying once you get those 50 points...or perhaps the kiss you'll share when you buy your own Valentine's Day dinner and get your significant other's dinner for free.
Shhhhhhh! You don't have to tell them their meal was free. That's one situation that could turn bittersweet.