The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

A Student Life: Benjamin Mouquet

Ruth Squires talks to Benjamin Mouquet, the University of Manchester graduate helping build a better community with The Dealer App, which donates money to homeless of Manchester whilst giving it’s customers great deals for dining out in the city

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Homelessness is a prevalent issue in our city which immediately surrounds us when we leave the house.

There’s plenty of people and organisations in Manchester that are trying to tackle this though. The Dealer App is a platform on which you are able to get discounts of up to 50 per cent off in restaurants and bars in Manchester whilst being able to give back to homelessness charities in the process. We spoke to  one of its creators, University of Manchester student Benjamin Mouquet.

Ben told us a little about how it all began, explaining “The Dealer was started because discounting was broken. It simply wasn’t working for restaurants. We wanted to create an online portal for restaurant owners to manage their promotions easily and effectively.”

With The Dealer App, restaurant owners are now able to adjust promotions in real time, giving them greater freedom to target specific days of the week, or even specific times of the day.

Just under a hundred restaurants in Manchester have already signed up, and a further three hundred are on board from around the country.

Ben was keen to stress that the high quality of the restaurants taking part, “we only feature premium restaurants like this year’s winner at the Manchester Food and Drink awards, Bundobust. The aim is to deliver quality discounts from quality restaurants.”

Alongside offering great deals for Manchester’s foodies and a versatile new platform for the city’s restaurateurs, the team behind the app also aim for it to give something back to the local community.

Photo: Benjamin Mouquet (left)

Photo: Benjamin Mouquet (left)

“At the time that we had the idea, the guys who started it were volunteering at a homeless shelter called the Porch and would often talk about ways that more local businesses could support homeless charities in a climate of government cuts.

“They came up with the concept of using deals to do good. Saving people as much money as we can, in the hope that they then return some of these savings back to charities fighting homelessness.”

Ben first got involved with the project after graduating from The University of Manchester. Though he initially looked at going into finance, having known one of the co-founders from having worked at Red Bull together, he was offered the opportunity to do good for students and to give back to the community in the process.

As with any venture of this type, the team has faced its challenges, “we are a small team working against some pretty big hitters with a concept that people aren’t familiar with. Getting the exposure, we need to really make a difference is probably our biggest challenge.”

Their aim with The Dealer App is to “make giving to homelessness a regular part of [our] weekly lives.” And, as Ben noted, the benefits of even small donations are tangible: “If you take a look at what the Mustard Tree — our partner charity in Manchester — can do with just ten pounds for example. For every £10 that is donated, they are able to provide £160 worth of food to families and individuals at our food club.”

With mental health issues rife among  homeless people, it’s also noteworthy that even a meagre ten pounds can help tackle this too; providing support for one person suffering from a mental health condition for two weeks.

The immediate goal of the company is simple: expansion.  They aim to move to other cities as soon as possible. That said, their ambitions are not just geographical — they also aim to move into other industries as well, “especially in the online sector such as online retail, cinemas, and things like that.”

This app is definitely something worth getting behind and it’s certainly inspiring to see University of Manchester students go on to do something that’s going to have an impact and build a better community.
You can learn more about The Dealer App on the website and download the app right now on android and IOS.