HALIFAX, NS—Nova Scotia’s residents and visitors now have a powerful way to discover and experience the province’s famed seafood chowder, lobster, restaurants, and varied craft products and beverages, including coffee, wine, beer, spirits, and cider, thanks to a mobile passport app built by award-winning software developers Daruma Tech for Taste of Nova Scotia (TONS), a not-for-profit, membership based marketing association representing over 200 restaurant, producer/processor and industry members.
The app, built on Daruma Tech’s powerful Local Explorers platform, will allow users to experience over 200 of the province’s restaurants and craft producers by exploring three trails—the Lobster Trail, the Chowder Trail, and the Good Cheer (craft beverage) Trail. Each trail features stops throughout the province offering locally sourced specialties. With the app, users will be able to discover locally caught seafood, artisanal coffee houses, restaurants, wineries, distilleries, and a wide variety of other participating establishments near them, plus learn about their unique offerings and hours of operation and map out their own tours. “The apps allow users to plan trail experiences, collect loyalty points, and earn prizes along the way in the three digital passports,” explained Susan Erickson of Daruma Tech. To encourage further exploration of distinctive regional products, the app also offers a database of recipes featuring local ingredients as well as links to sites where regional specialties can be purchased.
Besides connecting the province’s restaurants and producers to eager consumers, the app supports TONS’s mandates of promoting the province’s products on the international stage, promoting Nova Scotia as a culinary destination, and supporting the province’s “Buy Local” initiatives—the latter of which has become an urgent priority in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the province’s economy.
“Nova Scotia shut down almost completely at the height of the pandemic,” Erickson said. “While we had been in discussions with TONS about the app, the pandemic made it even more critical for them to invest in the app and other creative ways to connect consumers, especially locals, to local products and businesses.”
Other advocacy groups, such as Grow & Fortify, Maryland’s advocacy group for agricultural producers, have successfully used Daruma Tech’s Local Explorers apps to connect consumers and local retailers both during and after the COVID shutdown. The Maryland Craft Beverage App commissioned by Grow & Fortify brought much-needed foot traffic and take-out sales revenue to the state’s winery tasting rooms, breweries, and producers of mead, cider, and distilled spirits. “The Maryland Craft Beverages app is a great resource for locals and visitors,” said Kevin Atticks, CEO of Grow & Fortify. “Everyone using the app can view our state’s numerous craft beverage trails and track the tasting rooms they visit and support via the passport.”
Erickson added that new shopping patterns emerged in the retail world from the pandemic, and the app will help TONS and its members to effectively leverage them. “People aren’t buying less because of COVID, they’re buying differently,” she said. “They’re planning ahead and researching online instead of window-shopping, even now that things are open again. The app lets people see dozens of unique small businesses all in one place—so it’s just as easy to find and buy products from local producers as to default to a more visible big-box store. And it gives small local producers a huge boost in visibility without requiring a big marketing budget. It’s a win for everyone.”
A driving force behind the TONS app was Nova Scotia native Anthony Martin, a business consultant with experience in craft beer, exporting, and event management. When one of his associates returned from a craft beer festival in Vermont raving about the custom mobile app created for the event by Daruma Tech, Martin saw an opportunity to use this technology to boost the profile of Nova Scotia’s homegrown products. “When it comes down to it, Daruma Tech has the best-in-class app for the promotion of craft products, as well as a lot more horsepower that can be applied to other groups,” he said.
The leadership and key stakeholders of Taste of Nova Scotia immediately understood the value of digitizing their passport programs when he suggested the idea to them, Martin said. “I think everyone recognized that apps are the future,” he said. “Mobile is huge and it’s only going to get bigger.”
Emily Haynes, executive director of Taste of Nova Scotia, was pleased with the Daruma Tech team’s execution and responsiveness to TONS’ needs and its flexibility in innovatively customizing the app to meet the specific demands of the Nova Scotia market. “We’re thrilled to be launching the Taste of Nova Scotia mobile app built by Daruma Tech on their award-winning platform to help consumers to seek out unique and memorable culinary products and experiences,” said Haynes. “They’ve helped us bring our vision to reality with a fully customized app that showcases our restaurants, producers, processors, farmers, chefs, artisans and more. This app also delivers a digital passport program for our three culinary trails, the Good Cheer Trail, Chowder Trail, and Lobster Trail, allowing consumers to collect digital stamps, search out nearby experiences, find recipes, and shop their favourite products. They helped us customize this app for TONS which allows locals and residents to eat, drink, and explore their way around Nova Scotia with the app as their guide.”
Daruma Tech is a software developer dedicated to growing local and regional economies by incentivizing shoppers to explore small businesses and “Buy Local”. Its mission is to help visitors’ bureaus, artisanal guilds, and other community advocates amplify their signal, attract new fans, and cultivate enthusiastic repeat visitors through engaging mobile apps custom branded for each community.
For more information, contact Rick Griswold at 561-990-1625.