On March 16, 2020, the restaurant industry irrevocably changed. With most kitchens forced to temporarily shut down, Dallas’ dynamic dinning experience came to a screeching halt. But Dallas transplants Katherine Brunner and Taylor Jacobs quickly realized there might be something they could do about that.
Inspired to showcase the best spots Dallas has to offer, Brunner and Jacobs set out to reignite the local food and beverage industry by launching their own startup. The idea was to incentivize Dallasites to try hidden spots around town that had been hit hard by the pandemic.
What resulted was a tech-based platform that encourages the community to deviate from the norm while simultaneously optimizing restaurants’ brand awareness.
Dabble Dallas is a subscription-based service that offers paying members exclusive packages filled with complimentary food and drink features throughout the area. Unlike similar startups, Dabble curates its package of completely free items, as opposed to buy one get one deals where you have to do something to redeem your feature.
It works like this: Once you’re signed up for a membership on the Dabble website, you’ll receive the Dabble features via text message on the first of every month. Each month, locals are invited to try 2-3 restaurants, with a guarantee of at least a $60 value in featured items. Brunner and Jacobs say this provides an exceptional experience paired with a great value.
With the entire city as their office, the duo diligently researches restaurants prior to partnership. Co-founder Taylor Jacobs says that’s because their partners play such a big role in how the brand is perceived—it’s important to the Dabble team that they are promoting diverse places with a fun ambiance to ensure an unforgettable experience.
“We pick places that we would want to go and that we think our peers would really enjoy,” Jacobs told Dallas Innovates.
Since its launch in December, Dabble has not only partnered with trending restaurants such as Las Palmas and Tulum, but also with sought-after spots such as Hero in Victory Park.
While one of the key draws of Dabble is the mystery surrounding partnership announcements, members can expect future packages to include features to OAK’D BBQ, Crumbl Cookie, and Greenville Avenue Pizza Company.
Currently, Dabble is not charging restaurants a marketing fee. Rather, it is the traffic and success of the partnerships that has allowed Brunner and Jacobs to assemble a team of 17 social media influencers to create a vibrant, innovative, and urban company culture.
Rooted in trust, honesty, and flexibility, the team’s growth mindset has given them the strength to stay focused during these unprecedented times.
“COVID-19 has definitely proven challenging,” Jacobs told Dallas Innovates. “But where there are a lot of problems, there’s even more opportunity.”
The pandemic has offered Dabble a way to help businesses patron retention, while fostering community in a time where it feels like there is none. The rapidly changing environment allowed the co-founders to prioritize discovery and validation as they build their product around their costumers needs.
“We want to be an ever-evolving company that is constantly in the learning and discovery phase,” Brunner says. “Customer discovery and validation have been our two biggest priorities in shaping the Dabble Dallas concept. If we aren’t constantly making changes to our service, we aren’t doing something right.”
Dabble is prepared to continue evolving with the times and has big plans for the future.
By October 2021, the team hopes to have an app that will offer Dabblers a versatile set of resources, such as viewing and redeeming monthly package, as well as interactive tools that allow fellow Dabblers to communicate. The team plans to devote the next year to making Dabble a trusted resource of food and drink entertainment used by locals prior to expanding to other cities.
The co-founders believe that young professionals want to discover Dallas, but they just don’t have the time to do the research on their own. Dabble plans to fill that void and breathe life back into the city.
Brunner and Jacobs invite those interested in Dabbling to click here to sign up using the code “Dying2Dabble” to enjoy 50 percent off their first package.