When crawfish season rolls around each spring, Ryan King of Baton Rouge, Louisiana gets on the phone, trying to locate the biggest, cheapest mudbugs he can. At least, that’s the way he used to stock the pot for weekend crawfish boils with family and friends. Now he can consult his phone.
King and his wife decided to turn their knowledge into a mobile database that anyone looking for crawfish could use.
“We have crawfish boils almost every weekend during the season over here,” King says. “And one afternoon, calling around all the vendors looking for cheap crawfish, the idea just came to us. And we wondered why there wasn’t already an app to do that. It took us awhile to get it all together and really refine the idea to make it more user-friendly. But it really was just out of necessity.”
The Crawfish App, which debuted three months ago, has been downloaded 40,000 times. It’s available free for Apple and Android devices. King says he wanted to provide three kinds of information to crawfish seekers; price, quality, and distance.
“[The app] covers the gamut of what people are looking for – whether they want to pay a little more for larger crawfish, whether they want to pay a little less for smaller crawfish,” King says.
King says he and his wife are not programmers, and needed to find someone who could build the app for them. They chose a cousin of King’s from Dallas, who is a programmer.
“We had a few speed bumps. My wife calls them our children,” he says.
The app’s popularity surprised King.
“Our goal, and it was a pie in the sky goal, was 20,000 downloads in two months,” he says. “We had 20,000 downloads in three weeks.”
Users can enter a location and search for live or boiled crawfish vendors nearby. The app also includes user reviews.
“We’ll never charge users or vendors to be on the app. It’ll always be an ad revenue based model” King says.
Though crawfish are most often associated with Louisiana, the app includes lots of vendors in Texas.
“The southeast Texas area is full of vendors,” King gays. ”I think we have roughly 100 in that area, and about 75 in Houston alone – a dozen in the Dallas area, and even a handful in Austin.”
This year’s crawfish crop is good, King says.
“A lot of people will normally wait until the Easter timeframe to eat crawfish,” he says. “Ad this year it’s been unbelievable the amount of crawfish the vendors have. And they’re just wanting to get the word out that ‘hey, we have crawfish for sale. They’re cheap and they’re big. Go ahead and start buying now. You don’t have to wait til Easter this year. “
Aside from a lot of great information, King says he’s eating more crawfish. “That’s one great thing about the app,” he says. “I get invited to a lot more crawfish boils.”
Written by Shelly Brisbin.