Discovery of cuisines that our taste buds love, places that are cool to hangout are no more a daunting task. Startups like Etable, which recommend cuisines, restaurants with an additional layer of social element are making the job easier. Being a foodie myself, I explored the web platform of Etable and here’s what I found.
How does Etable work?
Etable allows you to log in via your Facebook account. Once the authentication is done, your Facebook connections that are on Etable are synced with your profile. At this moment you can connect your other social accounts such as Twitter and Foursquare. However the choice is yours on what should be shared from Etable to your other social networks.
1. Community: This feature is one of the most attractive features on the platform and also the one that makes it social too. Community feature is further sub-divided into – 1) What’s Cooking, 2) Posts I Follow, and 3) My Posts.
What’s Cooking is a common feed where people on the platform are sharing things. So if you are having dinner or saw a good content that foodies would like then you can share right away.
Posts I Follow is a stream of posts you have specifically followed that have been shared by others. There is an option to follow a post when someone shares content on What’s Cooking. Similarly My Posts is a stream that displays all the activities that have been performed by you.
The home page of Etable has features like – Top Reviewers, Top Restaurants On Etable, Recent Reviewers and Recently Added Restaurants. These features that are self explanatory, make the life easy for a user and pulling up associated content like this buys time from the user on the platform too.
2. Categories: Is a broad list of sections that allow you to make your choice depending upon your interests. A feature best suited when you are undecided about what to have. Once you click on any choice the platform provides a list of preferences which is a delight and makes life easy. For example I clicked on Afghani and I got a list of restaurants that serve the Afghani cuisine. Detailed listings are provided for the restaurants along with the people who were there and their feedback too. If you are still not satisfied, the page has a search option with preferences that could surely make your life easy.
The platform has been built on crowdsourced data so you can add your favourite restaurant if it is missing. However, your submissions will go through a check and adding up your Foursquare profile will give you a hint of restaurants you have been to and are missing here.
3. Explore: Is a search that pulls out data according to your liking. The page gives you an option to select a city, later the neighborhood listed in the city and the cuisines listed. I tried searching for Pune but the results were really limited but it was not the case with Bangalore. The page results are similar to the Categories section. Once you get the desired set of listings, you can select the restaurant you like and get more information about it. For example I had searched for North Indian food in Indiranagar, Bangalore and I opted for Barbeque Nation. So you get to the details of the restaurant, services, menu, etc. You are also shown who had been recently to the restaurant, feedback, favourites, etc. The below screen grab gives a glimpse.
4. My Profile: The individual profile has quite a few features that are worth mentioning. The Food Feed tells me the activity of my Facebook friends who are a part of the Etable community. The platform provides loyalty points based on the activities I do on the platform. You can update your profile details, check your activities, link social profiles, etc.
How effective is Etable?
Etable, as a social discovery platform for foodies, is easy to use and has the required features to make it a helpful one. Being a discovery platform, Etable has provided required features such as great search to make discovery of content easy. Adding the social layer on top of the platform has made it all the more effective and interesting. Also the presence on mobile will help users on the go.
However, the challenge for the platform like any other social platform is the adoption by users. As the model is based on crowdsourcing of data, the platform can get better only with an increase in users. Besides, similar platforms like Zomato are out there to give a stiff competition to Etable. It would be interesting to know from the founders of Etable whether they plan to bring hotel or restaurant owners to own their pages on the platform. A feature that would form a two way interaction between users and restaurant owners leading to greater traction on the platform.
Have you used Etable while exploring food choices in your city? If yes then do share your experience with us.