Earshot: New App Lures Hungry Diners Right Off the Streets

By on Thursday, October 17th, 2013

First there was Twitter. Then there was Yelp, and Foursquare. Then came Foodspotting. And Instagram. Social and check-in apps gave us entertainment, and power. We looked for interesting restaurants, showed off the awesome dish we just ate and left a scathing review when our service took too long.

Bub City uses Earshot to listen–not only to who is talking about them but who is nearby and ready for a beer and BBQ. (Photo courtesy Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises)

For many years, the dance of engagement has been skewed towards consumers rather than the dining establishments. Now with Earshot, the intersection between consumers, food and direct marketing just got more interesting. Or at least, more targeted. Customers “within earshot” of a restaurant are identified through any number of social media and geo-tagging channels in real time–the digital equivalent of (or perhaps superior to) outdoor “hosts” urging tourists to come in and order the special.

Earshot, in a nutshell, is a filtering technology that lets restaurants not only see exactly which people are “talking” about them or seeking food that tastes like theirs; it also lets restaurants send greetings and invitations to those people, through the social media channel they use most.

NoWait Restaurant App Revolutionizes Dining Out

By on Thursday, July 25th, 2013

No Wait iPad App

Banner photo © Jasperdo/flickr. Product photos © NoWait


NoWait
Developer: NoWait, Inc.
Runs on: iPhone, iPad
Cost: Free (premium services available)
Website: http://nowaitapp.com
Version: 1.0.2

Whether a restaurant offers reserved seating or simply places you on a waiting list for first come, first served seating, neither option has scratched the surface of understanding the all-important patron. What does a plastic hockey-puck-looking device that lights up and buzzes know about the person holding it? The field was wide open for a sophisticated communication app that provides vital dining information to the customer, the host and most importantly, the restaurateur. Two decades after the plastic buzzer came along, that app has arrived.

Food App Review of the Week: Clinq

By on Thursday, May 16th, 2013

Clinq
Developer:
Arnold & Pearn
Cost: $0.99
Runs on:
iPhone
Website:
http://arnoldandpearn.com
Version: 1.0

It always amazes me how creative apps can be. I’m sure there are 1,000 cocktail apps that can show you how to make a Manhattan, but I have yet to see one that informs the way Clinq does. In short, imagine a how-to cocktail guide created by highly skilled designers, not mixologists or even cookbook writers. That’s the way Clinq felt as I used it. No big descriptions, no complicated navigation, and with the exception of some glassware silhouettes no real imagery. Doesn’t sound like it leaves you much, but the design team at Arnold & Pearn have created their own concoction worthy of the $0.99 tab.My first sip of love for this app appears on the opening screen. It’s a white background with five large, bold words: gin, vodka, whisky, bourbon and rum. I know when I’m sifting through my liquor cabinet that’s the way my brain works (Ooh, I have a little vodka left, what should I make with that?). Of course, there are other really great cocktail apps out there that allow for this same type of filtering, such as FOOD & WINE Cocktails or the 2012  app award winner for Best Spirits, Mixology (formerly Mixologist). But unlike those other apps, the simplicity of the design strips away all the bells and whistles so you can get straight to the point, the same way Google.com has done with their plain-Jane search box page.

Food App Review of the Week: Better Bacon: Chef Recipes & How to Make Your Own

By on Wednesday, May 1st, 2013


Better Bacon: Chef Recipes & How to Make Your Own
Developer:
Open Air Publishing
Cost:
$2.99
Runs on:
iPhone
Website:
http://openairpub.com/book/the-better-bacon-book
Version: 3.2.1

It was bound to happen: an app dedicated to that cured slab of pork belly that we all love. This is less of the traditional app that I typically review and more of an interactive book. The app developer, Open Air Publishing, has also created a few other digital books, such as Wine Simplified and Speakeasy Cocktails.

So what do you get with Better Bacon? First, you get sharp writing and contributions from journalist Rob Wiley, specialty foods entrepreneur Ari Weinzweig and butcher shop owner Tom Mylan. You also get bacon basics, how-to information, and 31 interactive recipes. From how to build your own smoker to mixing your own bacon & eggs cocktail, this app brings the swine. This app doesn’t just focus on the bacon you buy in the plastic wrap either, this gives love to pancetta, Canadian bacon, guanciale and others.

Food App Review of the Week: Karen Martini

By on Tuesday, April 16th, 2013


Karen Martini
Developer:
Karen Martini Media
Cost:
Free (+ in-app purchases)
Runs on:
iPhone
Website:
www.karenmartini.com
Version: 1.0

Watch out, the Australians are coming! This past weekend golfer Adam Scott became the first Australian ever to win the Masters Golf Tournament and less than two weeks earlier, renowned Australian chef Karen Martini introduced her first app for the iPhone and iPad bearing her name. Let’s see if this tall poppy is dux with her app or if it’s bodgy and not at all my cup of rice (translation: Let’s see if this successful chef is top of the class with her app or if it’s of inferior quality and not my thing.)

Food App Review of the Week: Panna

By on Wednesday, March 27th, 2013


Panna
Developer:
How 2 Media, Inc.
Cost:
Free (+ in-app purchases)
Runs on:
iPhone
Website:
pannacooking.com
Version: 2.0

Panna is one of the more interesting apps I’ve reviewed. Not just because of what it is, but how it started. Panna is a video cooking magazine built for the iPad and iPhone; but more importantly it was funded through a Kickstarter campaign, the crowdfunding website. The team of founders is also a powerhouse cast, including David Ellner, who worked behind the scenes of American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance; Gary Vaynerchuk, wine celebrity and social media marketing guru; David Schaefer, Managing Partner of international law firm Loeb & Loeb LLP; and Dorothy Kalins, the founding editor-in-chief of Metropolitan Home.

If those names weren’t big enough, the culinary contributors are sure to get your interest, with offerings from the likes of Jonathan Waxman, Rick Bayless, Nancy Silverton, Seamus Mullen and others. Panna is a digital magazine built for your mobile devices, with a few free recipes to try before committing to the $14.99 subscription for six issues—released bi-monthly. Individual issues are available for $4.99 each.

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