In a world of user-generated content, it’s hard to break in if you’re the new kid in town and the startup app world is especially difficult. However, Zomato is already a popular restaurant search and discovery service in dozens of cities in 17 countries world-wide with over 270,000 restaurants in Zomato’s database. Zomato sees over 30 million visits across its web and mobile platforms every month.
I hinted at Zomato’s launch last month when I “yawped” about Yelp and other review sites. (I chose “yawp” because I’d recently watched Dead Poet’s Society.)
Toronto is the first North American market for Zomato. With several months of work done before their launch earlier this week, Zomato already lists over 11,000 restaurants in the Greater Toronto Area for people looking to eat out, get food delivered, or order takeout.
Users can browse through restaurant information, read and write restaurant reviews, share pictures, and build a personal network of people whose opinions they trust. Zomato’s award-winning mobile app allows users to discover restaurants around them based on their location, in addition to providing information for all restaurants in the city.
And Zomato has funding behind it. Their total funding is over 53 million USD.
Some of Zomato’s features
- Find the best restaurants nearby.
- See detailed restaurant info, and thousands of scanned menus. The scanned menu was really the unique selling proposition for me. Information on establishments is updated every 30 to 90 days by a Zomato “street team”.
- Discover restaurants according to your mood.
- Create your own personal food diary.
Mobile diversity for those that don’t drink the Apple Kool-Aid
Those of us who don’t use an iOS device don’t have to bemoan the fact that yet another app company excludes us. Zomato is available on Android (I have a Samsung myself), Windows Phone, and Blackberry.
Some of the features of Zomato’s mobile app
- Rate and Review Restaurants you’ve been to, and share photos of your foodie moments directly from the app.
- Read reviews from your friends and food network.
- Deals, discounts, freebies and promotions from restaurants in real time.
- Get Restaurant recommendations, ratings and reviews from locals when you travel to a new city.
Plus, phone restaurants directly from the app.
Upcoming app features include the function to chat with restaurants to order food (instead of calling), and online payments.
My Zomato profile includes some of the restaurant reviews from my blog edited for context, and I’ve been adding new ones. My goal is to keep them concise with information readers care about when choosing a restaurant. I want my reviews to cut to the chase. As I said in the above referenced “yawp”, review sites are for reviews, not diary entries, and unless the narrative is relevant it’s superfluous.
Check out Zomato. I don’t know if it will be the Yelp and Urbanspoon killer, but it’s got some neat features. Sign up and see what you think.