Trendspotting: Review Everything, Reward Tastemakers
When I'm trying to figure out where to grab dinner or what to order at a new restaurant, nothing is more powerful than a personal recommendation from a friend -- for now, at least. Two tech trends are making it easier to get the power of the personal recommendation out of strangers, too:
- Trend One: Encourage reviews of anything and everything, even the chairs.
- Trend Two: Identify and reward tastemakers and influencers.
In this series, I'm examining three apps leading the way in these trends.
Part 1: Nosh (You're reading it!) | Part 2: Oink (Coming soon) | Part 3: Foursquare Badges (Coming soon)
Nosh asks: What's good here?
Nosh encourages users to rate, review, and photograph food and drink items as they visit restaurants and cafes. Nosh is available as a mobile app for Android and iOS. You can also access your profile, friends and reviews via their website.
Trend One: Reviewing the Menu, Not the Location
To add a rating, or "Nosh", users first select a location from a list of nearby restaurants, bars, and cafes. Any menu items that have already been noshed at that location (by anyone) will show up. Users can add menu items that aren’t already listed.
I hadn’t used Nosh previously, but I was able to add, rate and review the Vegetarian Burrito at nearby Court Avenue Brewing Co. in just a few seconds.
One interesting feature is the ability to mark your all-time favorite and least-favorite dishes. Your profile displays how long a certain item has been your favorite, giving it a kind of “king of the hill” vibe.
Trend Two: Identifying Influencers
Nosh doesn’t currently offer much in the way of identifying influential users beyond your group of friends. For now at least, Nosh prioritizes information about your own dining habits and reviews from people you already knew somehow (such as Facebook and Twitter connections).
Nosh didn’t go over great for me because not a single Facebook friend or Twitter follower of mine is on Nosh. Chicken and the egg and all that. However, I could definitely see myself using Nosh to help make dinner plans during a weekend getaway. As a vegetarian on a gluten-free diet, I am a pain in the behind to pick restaurants with -- it's nice to be able to rely on additional insight from actual customers when picking a place to eat. It usually only takes one enthusiastic review from a fellow veg to win me over.
Scope it out. Apps like Nosh tend to spread quickly within tight-knit circles, meaning there may already be a healthy contingent of Noshers in your neck of the woods making recommendations. If, instead, it seems to be a ghost town, you can probably safely ignore Nosh for now.
Given the obvious advantages of identifying and encouraging influencers, and how easy it would be to add such a system to Nosh, I imagine it won't be long until we see the service gain that functionality as well. When that happens, it will definitely be worth another look.