Looking for the perfect foodgasm? Epicurator, a new iPhone app, thinks it has what it takes to satisfy your needs.
In the sea of online customer reviews, ratings and what people now know as “foodstagrams,” one more food-driven app has just launched in the market. Epicurator users review food on a dish-by-dish basis, which are then aggregated into an average restaurant rating.
User images are sorted into small thumbnails, with a 5-star rating system from “Blech” to “Foodgasm” and a simple explanation. Co-founder Buzzy Sklar says the format provides easy access to quick but comprehensive reviews. To add a bit of competition, the more posts a reviewer has, the higher up he or she is on Epicurator’s leader board.
Epicurator allows users to filter reviews by friends, for more personal, trustworthy feedback. The app connects directly to Facebook and Instagram to link you into your existing social network. Users can also search by type of food and location.
At this point, it seems like it’s all been done before: Yelp, Zagat, Foodspotting, Urbanspoon and Dish.fm are just several of varying platforms to find the best place to dine. But Sklar and other co-founder Jonathan Smyth tell TechCrunch they believe there’s room to outperform the others, by combining all the best features into one app. With $300,000 in funding from Miami-based Bright Ahead, Epicurator is trying to emphasize social networking in the customer review process.
“What we’ve found by using the app so far, people feel its okay to comment on a dish if it looks good. So it’s creating a different level of social interaction, and potentially a way to follow more people and make new friends,” Smyth tells me.
Sklar says the co-founders are in the process of monetizing the app by offering target advertising to restaurants. Addressing Yelp criticisms of business biases, he says app managers cannot edit or filter reviews. Restaurants that want to advertise on Epicurator will pay per impression.
With the sheer amount of food photos on the web, there’s potential to cash in on the market. The new app’s success will depend largely on a smooth format and developed personal network, to set it apart from already established review sites. That’s also assuming that restaurants won’t continue to ban taking pictures during dinner. Because apparently, it’s getting pretty annoying.
Epicurator is available for free download at the Mac App Store. The app for Android is still in progress.