Online Order Tracking: Yay or Nay?
So… I’m not sure how I feel about this one. On one hand, location technology exists allowing us to see exactly where something — our friend, our Uber, whatever — is at any given time. Does this mean we should use it to track everything? Like food orders? Initially, it’s like, “Sure, why not?” But after taking a step back, I have to wonder, do I really need to watch my thai food’s journey to my door? Will that make me any happier? (I suppose this is a similar argument to wanting to know when the L train is going to take 25 minutes to arrive, vs. a quick three-minute wait.)
Meal delivery service Sprig just launched order tracking, allowing you to watch your food in transit. We probably have Uber to thank for this — though it has become the scapegoat of the on-demand economy (and its repercussions), Uber’s practice of showing the customer a real-time map of where, exactly, the service provider is has made the experience arguably better for both sides. The rider anticipates the driver; the driver has less confusion when trying to find the rider. But does a food delivery merit the same attention to detail?
For me, this falls solidly into the “just because you can do it, should you?” category — which is generally the lens through which I judge new ideas and products. Still on the fence here. Though I will not be surprised if this feature is de rigeur for delivery companies in six months to a year.
A Record V-Day for OpenTable, Plus Infographic
I’m a sucker for cute ways to disseminate information, and this Valentine’s Day graphic from OpenTable falls right into the cute category. The reservations site announced a record day on Valentine’s Day, announcing two million seated diners in honor of the holiday. (They also mention 375 notes to the restaurant that mention planning to propose. Here’s hoping for a 100 percent success rate there.)
There are a few other fun stats included in the infographic, including a visual representation of the number of special requests mentioning “Valentine’s Day.” Given the massive amount of data OpenTable has about the industry and consumer behavoir, I’m hoping for more blog posts like this one. It’s telling to watch what the dining public does en masse, and interesting to watch trends develop and emerge. (Though proposing on Valentine’s Day at a restaurant isn’t exactly the latest trend. The classics are still good, too!) I’m also curious about whether or not Valentine’s Day was a bigger dining holiday generally this year, or if the booking increae OpenTable notes comes from greater awareness about online and mobile restaurant reserving. (My guess: Valentine’s Day was a Saturday this year, so the pressure was on to make February 14 a perfect celebration.)
South Beach Wine and Food Fest, As Shared by Attendees
The South Beach Wine and Food Festival is one of the year’s biggest (doesn’t hurt that The Food Network and Food & Wine are also a part of the event), with much food news, huge culinary events, and all the celebrity chefs you can handle in one spot. With so much to see, do, and eat, you bet a bunch of interesting photos came out of the event.
Want to see? Check out the first two days’ worth of shared photos on CrowdAlbum, a site that aggregates images taken in a certain location at a certain time (no hashtag required! Woo!). Here’s day one, and here’s day two.
Thing I’ve said a million times but will keep saying: social sharing and digital connectivity make these events better and allow anyone, even a full country away, to get in on the action. I particularly like CrowdAlbum for food events, the images are great and pretty engaging. Good stuff.
Google’s Alleged New Food Social Product
Huh. Google is rumored to be launching a new, food-based social network. It’s called “Tablescape,” and it could be an offshoot of Google Plus, or a stand-alone network. Slashgear reports that Tablescape “would be entirely focussed on food, and people who photograph their food.” (Hm, Foodspotting, anyone?) The report is based on a series of “leaked” screenshots, so who even knows if this will become a thing. It could just as easily be some sort of Google Plus experiment or an internal Google group with a vested interest in what’s on their plate. Google does own Zagat, however, and layering some level of social connectivity to Zagat’s reviews could be interesting. This is a wait-and-see, but obviously if Google’s getting in the food game, it’ll try to make a big splash.
- Restaurant gives totally unwanted twist to Mexican cuisine — The Onion
- An early look at the Tock FAQs — @NickKokonas
- A great, up-to-date, well-researched look at the current state of restaurant tech — TechCrunch