‘No Chains’ Unlocks the Best Local Restaurants and Bars
Black Enterprise Magazine July/August 2018 Issue

No Chains helps customers find the best non-franchise restaurants (Image: No Chains)

If you’re not a fan of behemoth-sized franchises that serve the same frozen prepared foods with different garnishes regardless of whether you’re dining in San Francisco or Maine, then food app No Chains is right up your alley.

Launched in 2013, No Chains helps travelers and foodies find the best non-franchise restaurants that they’ve never heard of. Founder Rich Winley, 30, got the idea for No Chains in 2011 while traveling in Australia. An adventurer at heart, Winley wanted to find out where the locals went to eat and discover some of the best dishes in town.

“Google…. couldn’t help me, so I found places the old fashion way of asking locals,” said Winley, who once owned Fix The Glue, an Internet marketing firm targeting small businesses and nonprofits. “I thought to myself,how many people are running around looking for local places with great local food… I’ve used other popular apps to search for a good burger in the middle of Manhattan and several of them suggested a McDonald’s nearby.”

When he returned to the states he developed a hunger to create a mobile app that would satiate the problem. Instead of making reviews by the venue, Winley wanted to create an app where everything is reviewed by the menu. With assistance from Clemson University’s Human-Centered Computing division, No Chains qualified to compete as one of 11 participants in The Iron Yard, a Greenville-based, 13 week tech accelerator associated with Startup America Partnership’s Global Accelerator Network.

Winley completed The Iron Yard, raised a small amount of money from angel investors and launched a public beta for No Chains in Greenville, South Carolina this past January, and he launched again in Austin, Texas during SXSW in March.

Black Enterprise recognizes No Chains as Tech Startup of the Week as the company prepares to launch the brand in New York City next week.

To achieve this he moved to New York for 30 days, teaming up with Meetup groups and communities of food and drink enthusiasts like Dipsology that have active and ongoing relationships in local restaurants. He also worked with The New York Restaurant Association, among other organizations, to create strategic partnerships that would assist in adding more restaurants to the app’s growing database. As a result, there are now 5,000 more restaurants and 1 million new menu items in the No Chains app, says Winley.

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, SocialWayne.com chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining BlackEnterprise.com as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and BlackEnterprise.com helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.

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