Company unveils food guide, app-A A +A
Sunday, August 5, 2012
KNOWING how powerful pictures can be when it comes to grabbing people’s attention, a company is using photos as a food guide for those looking for next best place to eat.
John Kim, founder of the Now Media Group that is behind the SMS-based job site iTrabaho, introduced Food Pick, their latest offering for foodies on the go.
Rather than being just another food review site, Kim said Food Pick aims to connect users with the kind of food they want to eat using pictures.
“People love pictures. And rich or poor, we all love food,” he said.
Kim said the site is gaining popularity as most restaurants do not have an online presence while most information he found on food were from blogs, which can sometimes be inaccurate.
The team behind Food Pick developed a mobile app, which can be downloaded for free.
Once launched on the smartphone, the app brings the user to a homepage that makes one’s mouth water. Photos of specialty dishes from over 500 Cebu restaurants and cafés are featured.
The homepage, which can be accessed through foodpick.me, shows the most popular dishes that users have clicked on.
The site not only shows photos, it also allows the user to get directions, make reservations and find new places to eat.
Clicking on the option to make a reservation will make the app convert the action into a text message that will send the reservation details to the concerned restaurant.
Kim admitted that not all restaurants can receive reservations this way, saying this service is only available to member establishments that have paid the P5,000 monthly subscription fee. He assured the user will be informed of this if the restaurant they choose requires a phone call to make the reservation.
However, they have accessed all available data from nearly all eating places in Cebu to feature on site. These include locations, contact numbers and best-selling dishes.
Those who don’t have smartphones or have no Internet access can still get suggestions from Food Pick.
Sending text messages to their hotline numbers allows users to get suggestions on where to eat, updates on restaurants they want to follow, hours of operation, make reservations and available promotions.
To demonstrate, Kim typed the words “foodpick pasta” and sent it to their hotline number. He then received a text message with a suggested dishes featured by some of the restaurants. Their hotline numbers are 09173108200 and 09226113119.
“This is an image-driven model. We won’t over-explain it to you. You can just connect with the image,” Kim said.
Establishments that subscribe to the service get their own microsite, which will show the restaurant’s menu, a location map and operating hours. They will also get to receive reservations through text, which makes it easy for their employees to do.
Food Pick also has a social media link wherein the user can click on a button that directly posts the photo on the user’s Facebook page.
Though they only just launched last June, Kim said they have had 1,087 unique site visitors and 10,000 impressions, all without marketing the site yet.
The idea has also piqued the interest of other industries and they have received requests to build a similar setup for cars.
For now, the seven-person team of Food Pick has about 18 member-subscriptions, which include Marco Polo Plaza Hotel and Choi City.
Kim is optimistic in this latest venture, saying the site has produced income within 30 days, which he said is unprecedented for a startup company.
He added that even bars and tea and coffeeshops can be featured on Food Pick, as long as they have food to promote.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 06, 2012.