Food If you enjoy saving money and having fun while doing it, then tune in.

Thanks to emerging social media applications, an increasing number of food establishments are using innovative technologies to not only attract more business, but to also provide a more engaging and affordable atmosphere for their clients.

One such application that is being applied is Scvngr, a location-based social media network that connects its users to each other and allows them to share their location, take part in contests, and win points. According to a recent New York Times article, Scvngr is largely reaching people in their 20s and 30s who frequently use their mobile phones to flag their presence at a specific spot, and to notify friends of their location.

Translation: We can get prizes for doing little more than keeping in touch with friends. Are you sold? I am.

The application doesn’t stray far from its catchphrase: “Go Places, Do Challenges, Win Points”. Here is how it works: Using scvngr on either your iPhone or Android, you first identify your current location, in the “place” tab.  Next, you choose a challenge at that particular location, anything from a “check-in”, to a “Home is where the food is” challenge (creating the shape of your home state out of a paper napkin). Once you have completed a challenge, you begin to accumulate points. These points eventually lead to a reward, which can be in the form of discounted or even free meals.

SCVNGR 1 Scvngr’s reach also extends beyond restaurants, as the application teams up with other venues such as cafes, retail stores, gyms, theaters, and museums.  These venues have even incorporated trivia questions to accompany the Scvgnr challenges, such as testing the names of popular desserts, as seen at Finale desserterie in Boston. Furthermore, cities use the application to conduct city tours, and Universities are using the app for first-year orientation (think: campus-wide scavenger hunt, on steroids).

It is apparent that the benefits of an app like Scvngr are two-fold: while the consumer enjoys the social, via digital interaction of the “challenges” (not to mention the perks!), the industry that is enrolled with the application reaps the benefit of the app’s marketing component by attracting a wider pool of customers, and thus further building its name. The trivia and gaming aspect also makes for a more enjoyable atmosphere, whether it is at a restaurant, café, museum, or college campus.

An inevitable challenge ahead for Scvngr will be out-innovating its main competitor Foursquare in not only building its consumer base, but also in ensuring that the consumers are using the application more frequently to boost engagement (a recent Forrester Research survey suggests that only 1% of consumers use these applications once a week).

In the meantime, be on the lookout for Scvngr as it continues to form partnerships with unique venues; in other words, this application could be your ticket into a new and improved social life. If that you’re not convinced, then at least take advantage of its discounts: a few clicks and you could be on your way to treating yourself your friends to the next round at happy hour.

Contributed by Sarah Hurley. Follow her at @Sarah_Hu

Image courtesy of Flickr User ugod. Full terms and conditions for image use.