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Q&A with Lucas Hanson: CEO of Feest

Ever ask yourself, “I wonder what specials are going on around Wichita bars and restaurants right now?”

One guy in Wichita has set out to answer that question for you. I recently was told about a brand new app that lists specials at local spots in town. The app is called Feest and is available now in the Apple iTunes Store and Google Play Store.

After downloading the app, I really loved what I saw. In the brief amount of time the app has been available, it certainly shows a lot of promise. The app lists a bunch of restaurants, what their specials are (drink or food) along with the times the special is available. I was so excited to see something new and refreshing for the foodie community in Wichita that I reached out to the CEO of Feest.

Lucas Hanson (right) pictured
with his brother Sam (left).

The response I received was quick and he was more than willing to join in. With that said, I’d like to welcome Lucas Hanson as the latest guest in the Wichita By E.B. Q&A Series.

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Eddy: Lucas, welcome to the Wichita By E.B. Q&A Series. I want to thank you for taking time from your hectic schedule in working on the Feest app to sit down and chat Feest with us. Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself to start?

Lucas: My name is Lucas Hanson age 24. I am the Designer and CEO of Feest. My brother, Sam Hanson age 30, is the software engineer who created Feest. We were both born and raised in Wichita, Ks. Sam graduated from KU with a degree in Computer Science (Software Engineering), while I just recently graduated from Newman University here in Wichita with a Business Administration degree.

I was planning on becoming a pro soccer player til about a year ago, after dislocating my shoulder playing semi pro and breaking my ankle at a pro tryout. After all that, I decided it was best to finish my degree and look into the regular business world. I went to countless interviews and didn’t like the thought of working under someones thumb for the most part. So when this opportunity presented itself, I jumped right in.

I really enjoy having a good time with friends. When I was in college many of my friends would come to me, asking what we are doing tonight, who are we hanging out with… etc. I would definitely describe myself as a bit of an instigator, and that got plugged right into Feest.

Eddy: And as anybody who has lived in Wichita knows, one of those things people do a lot of is dine out. So it’s great to see an app like Feest available in our city. Bigger question is how did you come up with the idea of it?

Lucas: The general idea came from my Dad. Also, remember countless times where my friends and I would say “where should we go tonight?” or “who has good specials tonight?”.

My Dad was sitting in Spauldings bar in Andover, KS. He asked for the specials and opened an app called “FotMob”, which is an app that shows soccer games based on the time. He muttered out loud, then to me later, “why isn’t there an app like this for specials here in town”. When he gave this simple idea to me, I thought of all those countless times I struggled to find good drink specials… and I was 100% in. We sat at our kitchen table for 2 hours talking about if, how, when could we make this work. All those questions could only be answered if we had a programmer to create the app.

My brother came home from Kansas City for his birthday and we showed him the idea with my crappy drawing of what it could look like. My brother took a little convincing, but about a week later we Facetimed and decided we are doing this thing. No investors. No GoFundMe. No outside help. No hard advice. We started learning first hand how to start a business from $0 and Sam had to learn a whole new type of programming. That was July 2016, and about 10 months later in May 2017 we had successfully released Feest. Thankfully in those ten months I redesigned three times, because the Feest people see today is 100X better than what they would’ve seen 6 months ago.

Eddy: That’s extremely impressive. From someone who’s taking more than his fair share of programming classes in college, it’s great your brother was able to learn it all that quick.

Now that the app has been out for a couple months. What’s been your plan to increase the content and users? Is the app free for users? How do bars and restaurants get listed in Feest?

Feest

Lucas: THE APP WILL ALWAYS BE FREE FOR USERS.

Eddy: …and that’s a great start.

Lucas: I was very intrigued with how we get restaurants. A lot of this can be tracked back through days of research into similar apps around the country and how to make a good B2B relationship. Feest is not only about saving people time and money. Yes, Feest definitely does that, but our main goal is to encourage people to have fun, do more fun things, and try new things. This is why restaurants do not simply sign up to be on Feest. Currently, we reach out to them so that we can make sure that these places are high quality and have a solid community. If a restaurant reached out to us, we make sure to make a visit to that restaurant to check out the experience. The process goes like this…

I make a call and reach out to a potential restaurant and tell them about Feest. If it seems like a good fit, I try to set up a face to face meeting with the Owner or GM (Most the time we get more local places). At the meeting I walk them through the app and explain how it can help their business, while answering any questions they may have. Every new restaurant we reach out to is offered 1 free month where we put up their specials for them, so they can see what they look like on Feest. No strings attached. After the free month, I meet with them again and sign them up if it stills seems like a good fit. They then pay for a month to month membership. If you aren’t baffled by our price, you should be. Membership for a restaurant is $10 one time startup fee and $60 a month. This price is will never change for the restaurant after signup. As a person with experience in Business, Marketing, Commission Sales, and Social Media Marketing… This price is most likely the cheapest form of marketing I have ever seen.

Eddy: One of the things I liked most about the current listing was the big focus on local restaurants. Well that and the name: Feest. It’s catchy and then calling your users Feesters is even catchier.

Can you reveal how big your userbase has been since May 2017? What’s been the general feedback from your “Feesters”?

Lucas: Thanks for liking the name. Took me a while to come up with a good one. “Feest” means Festival or Party in Dutch by the way.

Eddy: Very clever, I love it.

Lucas: If you didn’t know only 33% of apps made nation wide get over 1000 downloads in a YEAR. As of right now we have about 550 users with $0 for marketing budget and only releasing 3 weeks ago that is awesome for us. Imagine if we had a marketing budget to inform all 300,000 people that live in Wichita, KS.

Feedback has been awesome. We were published in the Wichita Business Journal and get plenty of feedback daily on Facebook from users. All the feedback is productive and 99% good with suggestions for other restaurants and/or possible improvements. We take all feedback seriously and that is why we right away started on our first update. This first update will have a maps button that shows exactly where the restaurant they are looking at is located. Many people loved seeing the specials, but wanted a way to be taken directly to the restaurant. We listened and this will be out first update coming out mid July.

Download the app today!

Eddy: Are there any plans to take this app beyond Wichita? Or any plans to enhance the app with any new exciting additional features?

Lucas: The plan has always been to learn as much as possible from Wichita, then to expand to Kansas City and Lawrence. We have learned so much so fast that it wouldn’t be crazy to say we will most likely expand to Kansas City or Lawrence in the next 2-6 months.

As far as additional features… We will be adding a maps button to the profile views and adding events in the near future. Events will be huge and we could see ourselves expanding out of just the restaurant market with this addition. Other than those for sure future improvements/additions, we will be making general improvements such as allowing restaurants to add photos of their food and higher develop their profiles within Feest.

Eddy: OK, it’s tradition here at Wichita By E.B. to ask this next question. What’s your three favorite restaurants in town? It’s an extremely hard question given the number of great options but give it your best shot!

Lucas: I am difficult because depending on the day I could have 3 completely different favorites. Right now I would have to say District Taqueria, Fetch Bistro, and The Kitchen. District Taqueria because I really don’t know many places that can even compete with their street tacos. Fetch Bistro because it is the first restaurant in Kansas that you can bring your dog to dinner and they have a doggy menu (And the people food is actually amazing and all homemade). Lastly The Kitchen, because I have had some of the cleanest and freshest meals here. If you are a person who appreciates clean food or has a sensitives stomach, The Kitchen is a great place for you. 

Eddy: I’ve reviewed all three of those restaurants; excellent choices. I will add that The Kitchen is one of the more underrated restaurants; more people should go here.

Lucas, I want to thank you again for spending some time here to be a part of this. Anything else you’d like to add?

Lucas: I think I could only say thank you for contacting me. My brother and I did this with $1000 of ours and our Dad’s money. We were very proud of that, but realized after releasing that getting the word out is difficult without some kind of marketing budget. So, I am sorry if I rambled on, but I like to be as transparent as possible. My brother and I will continue to improve Feest to encourage more and more people to go have fun with friends instead of sitting on the couch watching Netflix.

Eddy: Definitely. Too many people complain there’s not enough to do in town. Part of the solution would be to just get up and leave the house. Well thanks again!

To the readers, be sure to like Feest on Facebook.

And if you have an iPhone, download the app and give it a try for yourself. Or check out the Android version. If anything, it’s free to do. It costs nothing for the end user.

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If you know of anybody that would be great as a guest of the Wichita By E.B. Q&A Series, feel free to e-mail me at wichitabyeb@gmail.com. I’m looking for anybody who impacts Wichita in any sort of way whether they be business owners, restaurateurs, volunteers, whomever. Thank you!


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