You’re on vacation! You’re in a new city, in a sweet hotel, with time to spare and money to spend. There’s just one thing–you want to find the best food the city has to offer, and you don’t know where to turn for help. Yelp’s too yelpy and the glossy guide in your hotel room is out of date and characteristically cryptic: “Enjoy modern classic flavors and inspired food at the hands of an acclaimed chef!” What does that even mean?
“It’s an idea that kind of grew out of the way I like to discover food, especially when I travel but also in my own city,” says Johnny Hugel, a producer at Mobelux. “Whenever I go somewhere, I look in four or five different resources [to find great food]. But everything is skewed: whether they focus on service or location, or they’re kind of outdated like traditional media rankings. You never know if that particular restaurant is even open anymore.”
Hugel worked closely with Mobelux designer Rob Green to create a solution that was lightweight and straightforward: “It’s intended to be a very simple process. You can do it on your mobile device or sitting in front of a computer. It’s a very easy-to-interact-with website.”
After pulling up the website, users can navigate to their city, select the food category of their choice, and then make their superlative claim for all the world to see (and judge and debate). The site is designed to be simple and quick: “The simplicity of the platform is that there is no scale, images, or other complications. Each user gets one ‘best’ to award per category, per city. So you can change your Best Taco in Richmond, but you can’t have more than one.”
Best Dish will pull in venue information via Foursquare, so locations must be open to the public. No posting from your own kitchen, narcissists! According to Hugel, the ideal Best Dish user is an “educated foodie who knows and is willing to debate, say, the best pizza in Richmond.” The website encourages superfans to share their passion with the public in a way that supports individual venues and may eventually result in rewards for users.
“We’re looking to build a team, so to speak, of these fanatical users so that both the users and the venues benefit more down the road. We’re also building opportunities for these superfans to become backers of the platform.” Venues will be able to promote directly to their most avid fans through special promotions.
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