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from the L.A. Times

Craving wings and beer? There are apps just for that

Mark-gilmor-kluckr

Kluckr founder Mark Gilmor enjoying a chicken wing. Credit: Kluckr

For most mobile applications you can dream up, there is probably, as the commercials say, an app for that. But some companies are changing the phrase: there's an app just for that.

For example, let's say you want to find a restaurant that serves good chicken wings. Most iPhone users know there are apps for that.

You could fire up Google Maps, which comes with the phone, and search for "wings." Or you could do the same in Yelp and get a list of reviews. Or look through Junaio for an augmented reality lens of local eateries.

But if you want to find the absolute-best wing joints in the area according to people who know, you'll probably want to turn to Kluckr. The app is specifically designed for finding wings. That's it.

The app is the first experiment in food niches by Kluckr founder Mark Gilmor ("founder" being the title we prefer over his official one, which is Big Ol' Kluckr).

"People that use Yelp are interested in restaurants in general," Gilmor, 39, said on the phone last week. "I want to get focused on really specific food groups."

You probably won't see buffalo wings on the food triangle any time soon, but the meal does carry a connotation. It's primarily male-focused, and wing restaurant owners confirm that Monday Night Football and the Super Bowl are among their busiest times.

If you've ever stepped foot inside a Hooters, you know the target demographic -- "guys between 18 and those who haven't seen their cardiologists yet," Gilmor said.

KluckrThe app, which was recently featured on the App Store's "what's hot" list (good one, Apple), has some social media features to keep its users engaged.

For example, users can beef up their profiles based on usage and reviews, starting as a "wingman" and eventually becoming a "major Kluckr." The competitive aspect has worked well for location-based site Foursquare, and it's a popular idea among men.

Another feature called Kluckr Time allows friends to easily set up what Gilmor calls "a boys night out." Users can choose a restaurant and send out a calendar invitation to a list of buddies.

Looking to grab a beer after? Acrossair, a notable developer in the augmented reality space, built an iPhone app for Stella Artois. Le Bar Guide lets users find a list of local pubs. Its Le Taxi feature can be your designated driver.

But for Kluckr, the first entry into niche software is just a test flight. Gilmor's goal is to sell 100,000 of the apps at 99 cents apiece in one year. If he can "prove this theory," then the next step could be one targeted at martini drinkers or hamburger lovers, Gilmor said.

Oh, and then there's the other, more noble goal. With the contribution of wing-savvy reviewers, "hopefully we're raising the level of wing quality out there," Gilmor said.

-- Mark Milian
twitter.com/markmilian

 
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