Uber’s new restaurant guide uses trip data to tell you where to eat

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Uber’s trip data tells it a lot about how to optimize its services, including routing and pickup spots, but the info also reveals incidental patterns that don’t necessarily apply to its core goals of delivering transportation services, but that are useful nonetheless. That’s why it’s putting some of its data to work with its new Uber Restaurant Guide, a Michelin for the data driven age.

The Uber Restaurant Guide covers food spots in 12 U.S. cities at launch, and organizes suggestions by categories, letting you navigate picks according to popularity, what’s loved by locals, what’s on the rise, which are the best spots for brunch and for the weekend, and where the best spots are for impressing your date. Uber determines their ranking for each of these based on popularity of drop-offs at the restaurants overall and at specific times of day, what kind of ride users selected to get there and more.

It’s important to note that Uber’s data is purely data-driven, unlike guides that take into account qualitative user feedback like Yelp, or purely opinion-based guides like the aforementioned Michelin rankings. For most popular, Uber simply lists the restaurants in the city with the highest number of drop-offs; local favorites takes into account which spots are listed the most frequently by city residents; up-and-coming tracks restaurants with the biggest growth in drop-offs; brunch spots pulls from the most popular spots during weekend brunch hours; weekend looks only at Friday and Saturday night request volume; and date-night tallies evening drop-offs using UberBLACK and other premium-tier ride options.

It’s an interesting use of Uber’s substantial pool of data, and one that could indicate how the company can diversify its business in the future beyond its various approaches to mobility and transportation. Restaurants is an obvious place type to tackle with this sort of crowdsourced recommendation model, but it’s far from the only category where such a thing would prove useful.

Right now the Uber Restaurant Guide lives on the web, but it’s something you could easily see becoming a dedicated app or something integrated into the core Uber app itself down the road (destination suggestions actually make a lot of sense with the new design of the Uber rider app). And if you’re curious, the current top restaurant picks are listed below for each city where this is available, though Uber says it’ll be updating the rankings frequently so this is far from a static list: