ericstephan
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Flavor-Based Restaurant Recommendations

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What’s more disappointing than sitting down to eat at a restaurant you’ve been waiting some time to try out, ordering a dish, and the dish not meeting your expectations? Regardless of fine or casual dining, having a disappointing meal just sucks. You could have just stayed home and ate leftovers.

What if there were a way to find new restaurants and dishes you enjoy based on your previous likes and dislikes? My idea is to create a restaurant recommendation engine fueled by the flavors and food aspects you enjoy. If you’re someone who loves umami flavor, hates apples, and goes for crunchy textures, we’ll find the perfect spot for you. By inputting dishes and restaurants you’ve previously liked and disliked, you’ll arrive at a set of custom recommendations suited to your specific tastebuds and preferences. Super-tasters and picky eaters: rejoice!

Would you use this recommendation engine? What am I not thinking about that I should be considering?

20 Comments

  1. Nice idea. I’m a restaurant owner, and the idea of something like this definitely interests me. My 2 cents from what I’ve seen from customers is that specific dishes are just one component of what they enjoy. Far more often is presentation, influence, and reputation the bigger element at play. Having prominent folks eat at my place and then write about it and recommend it is what drives people to my door, not as much specific dishes and ingredients. Restaurants run on branding and good customer service, like any business out there, and cultivating those important relationships is what keeps my restaurant going.

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  2. Hi all– Thank you so much for the amazing feedback. The suggestions and brainstorming is top-notch, and our product is surely going to be that much better because of all your feedback.

    I’ve decided to go in the direction of making this both a personalized recommendation engine (original idea) and adding in expert perspectives with curated dining palettes and preferences. Big thanks to @henrycathan and @carrieloh for their suggestions here.

    My thought is this will help my product differentiate itself from just recommendations (Yelp) and bring an edge of personalization and curation to make truly unique dining experiences.

    Thank you all again, and I will keep you all posted on the progress. Looking forward to sharing back here when I have an MVP.

    Eric

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  3. Cool idea. I think this would be really great for communities with dietary restrictions as well. Right now, it’s not enough for sites like Yelp and Google Reviews to tell me if there are vegetarian or gluten-free options though. I would need to know that people with dietary restrictions have eaten at these restaurants and have had no bad experiences afterwards. Maybe there can be “pro” or “trusted” reviewers with badges or something like “vegan,” “gluten-free,” etc? I’m not a picky eater, but I do have strict dietary restrictions that I need to follow or else my health is at risk.

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  4. I love this idea! I am curious about how you will plan to get data to match people’s food preferences with available restaurants? It seems like you may need to coordinate with a lot of different restaurants, which could get pretty complex!

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  5. This is very ineresting– I would definitely use this product. Here’s another idea for you: what about the ability to input dishes and restaurants you’ve previously disliked? Let’s say I hate cilantro and spicy food: can I input that as well? I’d like to be able to get a list of restaurants to try and also ones to avoid!

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