Restaurant/Food Discovery App

Is it only me that think that Food platforms feels so behind the curve? The kids have all the fancy toys. Snapchat, AR, etc. But we are still stuck with Yelp or Zomato. Visuals are generally atrocious on either of them compared to say, what’s on Instagram. Not to mention there’s always some doubt whether Yelp listings are paid off to begin with. Lots of food photos on Instagram. But they are really purely just food porn. Not searchable when you need it the most. And usually only a single photo that doesn’t tell me much about the ambiance, or other dishes, etc…

I did search on say, the Apple app store. There are a ton of food/restaurant apps but none of them takes off. Am I missing something?

*Disclosure - In the middle of developing a food/restaurant discovery app. But the more I delve into this, the more it looks like we are gonna fail…

I still miss Urbanspoon sometimes, I found it much more useful before Zomato took over.

What from Urbanspoon do you miss that’s not possible with Zomato anymore?

I really liked being able to search relative to my location. If I was in an unfamiliar part of town at lunchtime, I could find restaurants by distance from where I was and also sort by ratings to decide what to try.

For me what is missing from food apps is a way to identify “like minded diners”.

food/ambiance reviews are so subjective (unlike a product review most times) that it’s hard to know why something is so popular.

E.g. I know people love 5 guys and it’s fine but it wouldn’t be somewhere I’d be seeking out on a food app. But it is always a top rated place in its area.

‘Like minded diners’, so you can narrow in on who does the recommendation/reviews? Kinda like a follower system then in a way?

I kept on thinking that high quality, but patron perspective photo/video would really cut the cake (aka. Instagram). Especially if this is more searchable and food oriented. So people can just decide for themselves whether things looks appealing. Obviously it’s hard to put taste or service thru plain visuals… A lot of apps out there already tried to take this angle, but none are successful. So I guess this assumption is flawed?

There is not a big deal of money to be made in the non-chain restaurant world because all the food is customized and low volume, and so, the apps that is made for this ecosystem isn’t going to make a lot of money.

If you have a effective way to earn money via referral from restaurants, but that’s an extremely hard problem to solve because the restaurant ecosystem is so fragmented, and there’s already Opentable.

1 Like

I use yelp semi frequently, but really just to get basic info, location on a map and the photos. However, apparently you can follow or friend or whatever someone you find who has similar opinions and see just their reviews.

I almost think that a project of this scale is just overwhelming and too large. Perhaps creating said new app for a smaller and specific area/town/city would be more helpful for both visitors and locals unaware of new openings or seasonal special menus and such. However, to gather photos and input that relies on user participation which is a huge variable

1 Like
Help cover Hungry Onion's costs when you shop at Amazon!

Bessarabsky Market, Kyiv. Ukraine
Credit: Juan Antonio Segal, Flickr