Ever been disappointed by a much hyped-about restaurant? Yeap, I know the feeling. You’ve seen it reviewed on magazines and everyone’s been buzzing about it, but when you actually try it out, you don’t see what’s the hype.
Not everyone has good taste. That’s why you should listen to what the connoisseurs on Zomato are saying instead.
I’m still new on the restaurant-discovery site, but it’s quickly become an integral part of my epicurean life. To me, it’s proven to be a trusted guide for good food. That’s first and foremost, but it’s also so convenient to use – all the necessary information of the cafes, restaurants, bars and even home delivery services in town are right on the palm of your hand.
Yup, I was referring to their mobile app, which, again, of its existence I only found out a few months ago, but I’m already loving.
I wish I could share all the different aspects that make Zomato a standout against other listings out there, but let me just highlight 3 of those (in no particular order) to let you see why I put my trust on Zomato’s ratings:
It’s the TripAdvisor of gastronomy meets Facebook: You’re encouraged to get social about your passion for food.
Naturally, this makes the aforementioned connoisseurs of Zomato a trustworthy bunch for restaurant hits and misses, because the Foodies here aren’t just any old foodies who claim themselves as one with a mere hashtag. There are about a dozen levels of opinionated Foodies who will tell you, in a minimum of 50 words, how good or bad the stuff is in a restaurant.
For a noob like me, it’s nice to see honest reviews about restaurants I’ve been wanting to try and interact directly with the connoisseurs on the go. Which brings us to ….
The wish list
The Pocket for your browser, only better. You get to bookmark the thousands of foodstuffs you want to try (and a comprehensive collection of information about them) in one place. This includes the complete, official menus of every restaurant, directions to and latitude of the restaurant (super useful if you’re browsing Zomato in the car), the ‘open now’ highlight the moment you’re checking it out, and many, many more. I find this very convenient because I have seriously too many places I want to try that a pen-and-paper format just doesn’t cut it. Even when I’ve downloaded other productivity app to manage my to-try list, it’s still much easier this way because I don’t have to check individual websites and open multiple tabs to gather all the information that I can get about the places before I finally decide on where next to dine out.
The search engine
In this day and age, you often have to make your decisions fast and on the go. Zomato’s search engine is smart, clean, simple, super easy to use – type in a keyword and it’ll show you all related results from every possible category (for example, if you type in”kemang”, it’ll automatically show you restaurant names names with the word ‘Kemang’ plus all the food categories in Kemang).
Unless you have time to rest on your La-Z Boy and be specific with filtering your search (which Zomato also provides after all the results appear), you’ll love it because it’s easy to discover restaurants you might like to try according to your search.
Also, what I’m a big fan of is the search nearby feature on the mobile app. As long as you enable your location, it’ll show you all the restaurants within your vicinity, sorted according to the closest distance from you. So when you’re in a neighborhood you don’t frequent at, it’s really convenient to just see what’s for lunch/dinner without having to endure the city’s traffic. I personally like to see what’s the best-rated restaurants nearby, then put a couple from the search results on my wish list.
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Now, I’m going to be a soulless critic for a minute … not because Zomato still has a lot to improve (in fact quite the contrary), but because I believe it will help what’s already good to be the best.
Notify me whenever, wherever
Because this is a really social site, I hope to see notifications on every update I choose to see (new likes, new comments, new followers) on the mobile app. It’ll also be easier for me to spend more time on Zomato if the notifications won’t just appear whenever I open the mobile app and instead, just show up on my Android home screen whenever there’s an update. Right now I find myself spending a lot of time on the computer to fill me in on all the updates on my account, and whenever I do, it’s a bulk of notifications at one go. I think it’ll help fellow Foodies to engage more and often if this notifications feature is on the mobile app, so it’s easier for us to respond instantly and continue our conversations on Zomato. Another benefit is that this will motivate Foodies to level up their ranks among their peers in their network, and we’ll be uploading more photos and writing more reviews as a way to keep in touch with other Foodies.
Feed me more
I know Zomato’s statement feature is its searching, but again with the social networking focus, I’d personally like to see what’s the general buzz in my circle. We all love to see what the people we already know are doing, so I’m sure it’ll be helpful for Foodies if the default landing page when opening the mobile app is the news feed instead of the search. I believe we’re more likely to try out new things our trusted circle have tasted more than the things no one in our circle has ever tried before, so it’s a matter of prioritizing the Foodie-approved places (‘Feed’) above individual browsing (‘Search’ and ‘Nearby’). This will work for Zomato because like I said, they have a great community to begin with.
Tell me the meat of the story
Although there are ‘What should you order?’ suggestions on several restaurants, I would like to see it on every restaurant. It’ll save time (and money) for new visitors of the place, especially if they’re in a rush. Nobody wants to endure the traffic only to have a dining experience that ended up being less than what they could’ve been, so it’ll help new visitors of the restaurant to know what to expect without reading the exhaustive list of menus, then set their bars however high that restaurant claims itself to be on Zomato. Yes, it’s been very helpful in our searching process to have the nitty-gritties and the complete menu at our disposal, but with our lifestyles getting busier and more nomadic than ever, it’ll cater to the Foodies who are always on the go: They’ll know what to order instantly and they’ll be spending the dough in the right places, all thanks to Zomato.
- Top-rated nearby
Like I said, I use the ‘Nearby’ function of the search engine quite often. I tend to sort my ‘Nearby’ search from the default ‘Distance’ (It has 3 filters: ‘Distance’, ‘Rating’, and ‘Cost’) to ‘Ratings’, because I prioritize good food when I already know all the results I got are within my reach. So it’ll be helpful if Foodies can actually set the default filter according to their individual priority, because it’s a bit of a hassle to change it every time I’m in a new neighborhood. Besides, no matter which of the 3 filter you choose, the distance information is provided on the side anyway.
- We all want to be read
For readings that has been put to a minimum of 50 words, we Foodies would love to spoil the lazy online readers with bold headlines and italicized words to get them to even look at our stuff. Most of us skim before we really dig things linearly, so we Foodies would like to have the power to put our emphasis to our opinions.
- Trends with variety
Right now the ‘Trending This Week’ collection lists 30 restaurants – which is enough for most people. Since there are thousands of restaurants in town and most of them are overrated while many more still go undiscovered, I would personally love to see a list of 50. But that’s just me ;)
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As you can see, Zomato’s clearly a fun, open, and social place to get excited about food in the city. Connoisseurs love it here for the informative nature of the site, and I trust these information because they make sure it’s always up to date (they even have a special team for that).
So if you’ve got a massive restaurants bucket list like I do, the mobile app is your friend. Plus, it just makes life in a congested city like Jakarta a lot easier with the search nearby feature whenever you’re hungry. The great thing about it is that you’ll be able to replicate the Zomato experience worldwide – it’ll guide you with real good food in major cities in India, Brazil, Turkey, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, South Africa, Qatar, the UAE, and the UK – and they’re still expanding (with Bali being the most recent expansion effort in Indonesia).
I hope Zomato will find feedback useful for future developments. You guys sure know how to keep us excited.