Diners Rank Menu Selections


Foodler lets diners write reviews and assign ratings to menu items.

Online services that cater to diners ordering restaurant food for delivery and pickup have been around more than a decade, with at least a dozen national and local players. The industry continues to grow with the aid of numerous technological advances, and it recently has gone through some big structural changes as well.

In July, Yelp, a Web giant that focuses on user reviews for restaurants and other businesses, launched its own online and mobile-ordering platform by partnering with existing services such as Eat24 and Delivery.com.

One month later, GrubHub, with headquarters in Chicago, and New York-based Seamless, both national powerhouses in the online and mobile food-ordering universe, merged into a new entity known as GrubHub Seamless.

With this type of competition, new technological innovations are key to setting one service apart from another to capture business, and that’s been a focus of Foodler, which allows diners to order food from more than 12,000 restaurants in 48 states. Additionally, in September, Foodler expanded into Canada with 135 restaurants signed on to participate in Vancouver.

Boston-based Foodler, which inaugurated its website in 2005, uses groundbreaking data applications to develop several unique features such as Best Bets and Foodler Ratings that help online customers.

Best Bets is a data-driven component that analyzes types of cuisine and particular menu items preferred by a diner to recommend new restaurants that he or she may enjoy. Points for customer ratings, cuisine, costs, and discounts determine the Best Bets.

The recently updated Foodler Ratings system is just as unique. Instead of people writing reviews, Foodler asks them to rank specific menu items they have ordered with one to five stars.

This simple method of rating a dish has caught on quickly. Within just a few weeks of the rating system becoming active, some dishes at Passage to India, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, had more than 800 customer ratings. Comparatively, the restaurant had just 114 Yelp reviews.

Unlike some websites, where critiques can be created by anyone, the reviews at Foodler come from customers who actually ate the particular dish. Users click the particular rating based on the quality of the item they ate.


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