Google's Zagat app makes lunching easier with personalized recommendations
Google?s restaurant review platform Zagat has rolled out a revamped iOS application, boasting personalized recommendations based on the time of day and user?s location, as well as a streamlined interface better suited to quick searches.
Zagat is attempting to stake a stronger claim in the competitive restaurant recommendation market by placing a bigger focus on the location aspect of deciding where to eat. Consumers who have their location enabled on their smartphones can tap on the revamped app?s ?Find Lunch Nearby? button to discover local eateries, or opt to filter options by cuisine or neighborhood.
?With an abundance of choices, mobile app users have very high expectations and equally high abandonment rates,? said Jon Burg, head of product marketing at AppsFlyer. ?A seamless, beautiful and rewarding mobile app experience is the table stakes, but this is still no guarantee of app success.
?While Zagat's new mobile app certainly raises the stakes with a refreshing design, that element is not Zagat's core value to its users,? he said. ?In a world full of crowd-generated content, Zagat's brand stands for more ? offering critical expertise, recommendations and trusted reviews.
?While this redesign will make Zagat feel more fresh and current, foodies that prefer the legacy expertise Zagat provides could be attracted to the app. However, it still may be challenging to draw from heavy users that have made a habit of checking into and checking out eateries on apps like FourSquare.?
searching, start eating
Consumers have been increasingly relying on their omnipresent mobile devices for a slew of day-to-day related tasks, including deciding where to eat and ordering food for quick delivery. The Google-owned Zagat service is vying for a coveted spot on foodies? mobile devices by redesigning its iOS app with a cleaner interface and enhanced search options.
Google, which first purchased the restaurant review platform in 2011, opted to reinvigorate the Zagat app with a Google Maps integration, according to a report on Engadget.
Therefore, consumers in need of walking directions to a nearby dining establishment will be able to receive them directly in the Zagat app.
Zagat?s revamped app automatically identifies a user?s precise location, as well as the time of day. For example, an individual who launches the app at 1 pm in New York?s Chelsea neighborhood will see a welcome screen saying, "Good Afternoon. It?s time for lunch in Chelsea.?
The user can then press the ?Find Lunch Nearby? button to open up a neighborhood map or browse a list of nearby restaurants by type of cuisine.
If consumers choose to search by cuisine, they will be brought to a separate screen showcasing a plethora of icons corresponding to each type of food, such as American, Asian, French and Japanese. The icons also correspond to categories of food, such as pizza, bar snacks and burgers.
To view a list of already curated options, consumers can tap on the ?Quick Bites Nearby? button.
?There are many ways for apps to offer personalized recommendations, and the better their recommendations, the more value they offer to users,? Mr. Burg said. ?It's imperative that location-based apps leverage all of the data at their disposal to deliver the optimal user experience and provide the right recommendations, in the right places, at the right time.?
Once individuals have whittled down their list of possible eateries, they may hone in on the right choice by perusing Zagat?s ratings and reviews. Each dining establishment has a profile featuring ratings for food, décor and service.
Users can scroll down to read other customers? reviews. Additionally, individuals may save lists and places for future plans.
The mobile-enabled restaurant recommendation space continues to grow more competitive each month, with new players constantly entering the fray and established platforms rolling out revamped apps and sites.
Thrillist?s new Eat Seeker digital hub is taking on Foursquare and other location-based platforms by enabling mobile and Web users to interact with an immersive map, find insider information on local restaurants and save potential venues to visit later (see story).
Meanwhile, Nestle Waters? Sanpellegrino Sparkling Fruit Beverages brand uncapped location-based discovery with the recent rollout of the Delightways mobile app, which leverages a partnership with Foursquare to highlight a city?s most interesting attractions and up-and-coming hot spots (see story).
?There are many directions that Google could take with Zagat,? Mr. Burg said. ?This is a great step in the right direction, and by attracting users with creative marketing campaigns that are constantly measured and optimized, the potential is certainly there to boost awareness and garner a loyal, valuable user base.?