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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

ChompMenus celebrates second anniversary with specials

ChompMenus.com, a Web site that consolidates local restaurant menus, is celebrating its second anniversary with online specials during its Eat Cheap Week through Wednesday.

Director Mike Finucane, who spent Monday promoting the company with free pizza on Turlington Plaza, said the site puts everything in one spot.

"It's not a cluttered drawer in the kitchen that no one wants to dig through," he said.

ChompMenus is part of YNot Advertising, which has identical services by different names in 18 college towns around the country, Finucane said.

When an order is placed online, the site sends a fax to the restaurant and a confirmation e-mail to the user.

YNot Advertising was started as LionMenus.com in 2003 by Penn State University students Justin Goldman, Chris Jeffery, Jason Kwicien and David Laiderman.

"They were sitting around in their dorm room one day, and they were pretty sick of always eating the same food," Finucane, who knows the founders, said. "So they were like, 'Let's get all the menus in town and put them on a Web site.'"

The Web site for Penn State students was a success, he said.

"Everyone on campus loved it. There was such a demand for something like that."

The company started ChompMenus in 2005, buying out similar services in Gainesville.

Just like at Penn State, they collected as many menus as they could and put the restaurants on the site.

Once the site started getting hits, Finucane said, they showed the restaurants and said it cost a dollar a day to remain on the site.

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"The majority of people definitely see the benefit," Finucane said. "When you can provide them with results, there's not too many media that can do that."

Some "old-timers" still are reluctant, he said, but they almost always come around.

Today, ChompMenus posts menus from 300 different restaurants and gets about 3,000 hits a day.

"You name it, it's on there," Finucane said. "We've definitely grown exponentially."

A recent graduate of College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., Finucane is the only one who works full-time at ChompMenus. He runs the business with a few interns and part-time employees.

"There's still some [restaurants] I need to get to," he said. "There's just not enough time in a day."

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