esculent eats means suitable eats. This site aims to answer questions about what is suitable to eat when you're eating out.
Name alternative: succulent eats?
Some food websites that are popular:
yelp.com: De-facto place to go to when looking up information about a restaurant
grubia.com: Pretty much copying the core idea of this site. The site, however, appears to be going in a different direction to reach it. There can be multiple ways to reach a goal, and there is definitely room in this market.
What's wrong with these websites? They focus on restaurants, not the dishes served. They are worthless when asking the question: I am at a restaurant, what is a good fare served here that I might like?
Site can also be used to answer the secondary question: I want a good ice cream sundae, what are good places I can get one?
Both of these questions can be made more specific by adding social networking or location-based service features, once support is added to the site, to answer questions such as:
- What did my friends like to eat at this restaurant?
- Where is good ice cream within walking distance of where I am?
- Where have my friends eaten in this neighborhood and which restaurants did they like? Maybe I should try those restaurants first.
None of the aforementioned websites are capable of answering these questions, nor are they even close.
The tweet or twit (Twitter), or dent or notice for those familiar with Status.net/Identi.ca/The OpenMicroBlogging standard. Each description about a food item is hence forth called a notice (OMB terminology).
Notices will be limited to 140 characters. Why 140 characters? If the user can't say it in 140 characters, then it's probably not worth saying. User needs to be focused on adding value to their message, which is what all the best Twitter/Status.net users already do already in 140 characters.
Photo. If mobile, user can take a picture with their mobile phone. Advanced users can upload photos from point-and-shoot and DSLR's through the website.
All of the above are part of the OMB specification. The next few items are site-specific metadata added to each notice.
Geolocation. Add coordinates of the restaurant, based on address. This should be in the OMB specification but apparently isn't.
Disallow links. Why would they be needed? Users should be describing dishes, not spamming links.
Would you eat this again? Yes/Maybe/No. A much better question than "did you like this" or trying to rate dishes on various scales. There are plenty of times where I liked a dish, but it wasn't so spectacular that I'd eat it again. IMHO I think this is a better correlation to whether a dish is popular.
Associated section of menu (i.e. is the item an appetizer, entrée, or dessert?).
Other users should be able to favorite a user's notice. Twitter and Status.net allow this, but Twitter does not use it at all, and Status.net only uses it for displaying popular notices on the front page (AFAIK). This could be used for reputation building a user's identity on the site.
User goes to mobile site/application.
Examples of good notices
- Fresh, mozzarella cheese, with no grease! Tangy sauce, not precooked, but cooked in the oven on the pie. Lots of fresh basil. (describing a pizza at No. 28)
- Canned, pre-cut toppings. Onions were not fresh. But a huge, filling slice. (describing slice of Cornet's pizza)
- Asked for spicy, they made it spicy! Unfortunately was greasy. Sauce had an odd tang to it.
How do we use these?
Main site's IP: do simple NLP (natural language processing) on each user's
I would like the source code for this site to be open source, but this decision may conflict with the business model. Making this product open source has the following benefits:
- Encourages contribution by developers. There's a lot of custom code to write here. Developers with skill don't work for free. Many of the savory ones who contribute to OSS projects do it for the utility as well as reputation, and this project has both.
- Encourages contribution by users. Users, knowing both the site and content are free (see below), are more likely to contribute.
- Neatly handles the franchising problem. Yes, I can personally moderate NYC, someone else San Francisco, someone else Portland... but what about everywhere else? If the product is open source, people will step up to do it (witness Wikipedia and DMOZ.org, and other popular free culture sites). If it's by a corporation, people won't unless hired.
However, this product may not make a good open-source project (that is, it may not have a community of developers, say the Linux kernel, LiveJournal, or Android).
All user-uploaded content will be licensed under the Creative Commons (like Status.net). Creative Commons is widely used and accepted, and offers a clear incentive for power-users (the real engines of Web 2.0) to contribute.
The Creative Commons also freely specifies clearly what we will do with the content, and what others may do with it as well, without the need of complicated terms of service agreements or lawyers. This is in stark contrast to Twitter and Facebook, whose closed, copyright nature, in my opinion, will be their downfall.
The attribution clause in the Creative Commons is a little vague. We can take advantage of this by suggesting that user's notices be linked back to their site profile.
This site may not have a viable business model on it's own.
Yelp is floundering and has not come up with anything particularly innovative; in fact, some of their monetization techniques have been called unethical.
I have no idea what Chowhound does, though apparently they've been asked this before. I believe they're part of a larger media brand.
Menupages is part of a larger media brand.
What's the legal situation with posting restaurant menus, and can that be circumvented? Menus are copyrighted, and you're committing a copyright violation by post them online without permission. See Can restaurant menus be copyrighted?