'Just like Tinder': St. John's woman's app aims to make food connections
What's not to love about a new guide to restaurants, food and customer reviews?
A woman originally from St. John's says people aren't only looking for love; they're also on the hunt for good places to eat, and that's the motivation behind her new app, Feed Me.
"It's just like Tinder … I combined my love of food with my love of fun-app experience … and now it's in 30 countries," said Amie Watson, a food writer who now lives in Montreal.
Like the dating app Tinder, Feed Me lets users sift through photos — in this case, of dishes from nearby restaurants. People can swipe right to indicate they're not interested or swipe left for "yes" or to check out that restaurant.
Once people click on a photo, they can read reviews, find contact information, directions and more pictures.
Foodies can search by category to find a particular type of restaurant. Clicking a heart icon on a certain photo means it gets saved as a favourite; an X means the option will circle back around, but not for awhile.
"It's actually done through Yelp, so you're seeing a lot of the Yelp reviews and the Yelp photos, but we've changed the interface to make it more accessible and more user-friendly," Watson told CBC Radio's On the Go.
"It's very visual, it's faster, it's more fun; you don't have to click too many places to find what you're looking for."
'The every-person app'
Watson was also motivated by her own food reviews piling up — 1,500 featuring Montreal restaurants — to create something both travellers and locals would find useful.
"Say you're coming out of a hotel, right downtown, and you're thinking, 'I need lunch. Where am I going to get a burger around here?' You can even look up specifically burgers, but you can just see everything around you," she said.
"It doesn't even have to just be when you're travelling … Even when I was home [in St. John's] in April, for example, I thought I knew the city but I'd be walking around downtown and there had been a bunch of places that had opened since I had been back," Watson added.
Last minute dinner plans? From poutine to pappardelle, find all the restaurants around you. Download the new Feed Me app at feedmeapp.ca <a href="https://t.co/DjcKKgZLRE">pic.twitter.com/DjcKKgZLRE</a>—@FeedMeAppCanada
The app took four years to develop, and Watson said she had a lot of help. It's free to download, so the way for her to cash in is through advertising incorporated within the app.
"Obviously I want to make money with it, it's a business ... but first and foremost, I want people to find good restaurants and eat good food — whatever that means to them," said Watson.
"I want it to be the every-person app when you're looking for food, wherever you are."
With files from On the Go