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Pitt Student And Son Of Restaurant Owner Creates 'Bar Spy' App To Help Struggling Businesses During Pandemic

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the restaurant industry, a student at Pitt is looking to help them out. He created an app called Bar Spy to help get people to patronize a business.

Computer information science major Gabriel Thrower is trying to give restaurants a fighting chance during another round of COVID-19 restrictions.

"If you were to start a restaurant within the past five years, this whole coronavirus thing would probably put you under," Thrower said.

He's seen his father's restaurant get hit hard in the last 9 months.

"It's just crazy the amount of business that isn't happening now," the Pitt senior said.

He had been thinking about it when he lived in the city.

"I thought to myself it would be great if there was a platform where all these people could advertise on it and let people know what they're doing," he said.

Then once the pandemic began, the Pitt Senior knew it was time.

After six months of work, the app was published this week.

The free app uses user-generated content based on your location to show establishments around you, if they're open, what specials they have, and allows you do searches. It also provides a link to their website and reviews.

"A time someone is on the sidewalk, they are on their phone anyway. In the digital world we live in, I think it's more of an effective way to draw people in," Thrower said to KDKA.

So far, Thrower has seen dozens of people using the app since it became available.

"I check the app several times a day cause it's my baby," Thrower said with a laugh.

He hopes this can be a resource beyond the pandemic for restaurants and bars.

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