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New York, California restaurants aim to differentiate mobile deals without vouchers

With a number of different online coupon and offer services already available to consumers and restaurants, LiveDeal hopes to cut through the clutter by eliminating the voucher that is traditionally needed to redeem deals.

LiveDeal is now available to consumers and restaurants in New York and is also live in California’s San Diego, San Francisco and Los Angeles markets. The launch of LiveDeal highlights the growing role that mobile is playing for smaller restaurants and merchants as they look to compete with big chains who are investing in digital ordering.

“I see geo-location mobile marketing as being the lifeblood for restaurants,” said Jon Isaac, CEO of LiveDeal, Las Vegas. “It’s quickly becoming the most ideal way for restaurants to communicate offers to local consumers.”

How it works
Launch restaurants in New York include Crazy Willy’s, La Carbonara and Ichi Sushi.

Meze Mediterranean Cuisine, Escape Fish Bar, Greek Palace, The New Yorker and Dolci Cafe Italiano are the restaurants participating in San Diego.

LiveDeal is essentially a deal engine that restaurants can use to push out location-based offers to consumers in real-time.

For example, Italian restaurant La Carbonara offered a prix fixe lunch deal on Thursday afternoon for $9. The offer was only available on Thursday.

The deals are redeemed by simply mentioning LiveDeal at the restaurant so that diners do not need to remember to bring a voucher into the restaurant.

Consumers can create an account and log-in to place orders at nearby restaurants through, which is built with responsive design so that content looks the same across smartphones, tablets and desktops.

An account can be created by either registering an email address or by syncing with a Facebook, Twitter and Google + account.

Once an offer is created, restaurants have the ability to customize the time and redemption period of the deal.

LiveDeal plans to roll out a mobile app in March. The app will be similar to LiveDeal’s site and will also include social media features in a later version this year.

Another screenshot of LiveDeal

Crowded marketplace
LiveDeal is the newest addition in the growing number of online delivery services available to both consumers and merchants.

In fact, research from xAd and Telmetrics late last year found that mobile represents 50 percent of restaurant searches.

As more big chains look to leverage mobile and digital ordering, these kinds of online ordering services are becoming more appealing to local restaurants and merchants to stay competitive.

However, LiveDeal’s reach is limited to only a few markets with a handful of participating cities in each city.

On the other hand, and Groupon both have a significantly bigger reach and have more restaurants on board.

To differentiate itself, LiveDeal’s deals do not involve pre-payments that are known for locking consumers into offers that they may forget to use before they expire.

“The platforms that rise to the top are the ones that will offer the most flexibility to restaurateurs,” Mr. Isaac said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York