Another app that lets users rate restaurants. Doesn’t sound particularly revolutionary
It’s true, the internet isn’t exactly short on review platforms. TripAdvisor, Yelp and Foursquare already offer consumers a podium from which to opine about indignant waiters and spaghetti that’s too short. But Eaten has a USP.
It is described as the world’s first dish-based review app. Rather than inviting customers to comment on the overall dining-out experience, it instead homes in on that important element of eating out, the food. So, if someone wants to know where the best margherita pizza is in their immediate vicinity, Eaten will supposedly be able to help point them in the right direction.
How does it work?
Gone is the five-star system used in most review-based apps, Eaten has users upload photos of dishes they’ve eaten, and rate them by choosing between descriptions of amazing; really good; pretty good; just ok; or not for me. It then encourages users to add further comments and hashtags if they so wish.
So it’s Instagram with ratings?
Pretty much. You can even import pictures onto the app straight from your Insta account. There is more, though. If, for example, someone has a particularly great cheeseburger in one specific restaurant and believes it was the best one they’ve ever tried, they can make that clear in the review. If they then have the same dish somewhere else and it was even better, they can change their original review and ranking.
Is this a new thing?
Eaten was founded in 2017, so it’s relatively new, yes. In recent months it has gained traction in the press after being named by the Apple App Store as one of its five favourite new apps. Now its founders, Timothy Lui and Jeeho Park, are calling on UK restaurants to help build their own presence by amending and updating menus stored on the app, adding their own pics and responding to user reviews.
What about those who submit fake reviews?
According to an interview in the Evening Standard, Lui says that Eaten’s “trust algorithm” has been designed to mitigate such an issue by giving more weight and influence to reviews from users who post regularly rather than once or twice. Content is also moderated to help sniff out bogus voices.
Is anyone actually using it?
According to Eaten, the app now has almost 100,000 reviews from 102 countries. But whether any of them really add to the gastronomic discourse is a matter of conjecture. Tom Brown’s pickled oysters and Henry Harris’ calf’s brain with black butter both have an almost perfect score on the app. But then again, so does a plain croissant from the Pret a Manger in Gatwick North.