Brandon and Carey Bennett have developed a useful pau hana app. Photos by Randy T. Fujimori
Couple's fun APP-roach to pau hana
Thirsty for a mai tai? Stomach growling for some sliders? There’s an app for that. Now Android and iPhone users can download to get the latest skinny on pau hana specials, ranging from spareribs at P.F. Chang’s to crispy Thai chicken wings at Wai‘olu. Developed by the husband-and-wife team of Brandon and Carey Bennett, pictured above at Wai‘olu, the “Happy Hour Hawaii” app directs smartphone users to the nearest establishment — based on relative GPS position — that offers after-work specials.
“You can find where to get a mai tai in Chinatown at 2 in the afternoon,” smiles Brandon Bennett, who developed the app and its corresponding web page. “You can even fly to Maui or Kauai and synchronize your phone to find out which places are offering happy hour specials.”
Download the free pau hana app at happyhourhawaii.com
While dating, Brandon and Carey would often ferret out places that could accommodate their limited budgets. They noticed, though, that few websites — and apps for that matter — would aggregate happy hour information. At the time, the young couple had just met while working at Duke’s. Brandon was on summer break from Pepperdine University where he was studying political science and Carey was already living here after finishing her degree in public affairs at the University of Indiana, and traveling throughout Asia and Europe for two years.
“I packed up and followed him to California,” Carey beams. “I landed a position with a L.A.-based SEO (search engine optimization) company, which allowed me to keep my job when Brandon and I moved back after he got his degree.”
However, the return to Hawaii had its challenges. The economy was stagnant and jobs were scarce. Rather than get discouraged about his lack of employment, Brandon decided to learn how to write internet code via an unlikely source — YouTube.
“It took a lot of time and effort,” Brandon humbly says. “But in the end, I learned to write php (language originally designed for website development) and we’re happy with our product.”
The self-described “Yin-and-Yang” couple — because they complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses — say they provide a way for people to go out without spending a fortune. “You might not think you can afford to go to places like Nobu’s or Morton’s, but you really can go to these places during happy hour,” Carey explains. “We did all the development and poured all our blood, sweat and tears into this project.”