Open Sesame – a whole new Zomato!


I am sure this is a late entry to you contest Zomato, but I am not too keen on being a part of the contest, being an a foodie and an avid fan of Zomato I would love to give some constructive feedback/suggestion to Zomato.

1. Digital Menu

First of all, most of my suggestions/feature requests depend on digitising the menu for all the restaurants listed on Zomato. The image/scan copy of the menu should be converted into a proper text based menu and the restaurant owner should be given an option to add/delete/edit the menu items and categories on the menu.

2. Tag the dish in pics

I am sure Zomato has loads of pics being uploaded everyday and most of these pics are that of dishes. Even though most number of users might not be patient enough to add meta data for the pics they upload, you always find a set of active users who love to add as much information as possible.

Why not make use of this? There should be an option on Zomato for users to be able to tag the dish name for the pics being uploaded. Say I upload a pic of “Rustic Pizza” that I had at “Little Italy”, while I upload a pic and start typing the name of the dish in the pic the platform should be capable of automatically searching for “Rustic Pizza” from the menu and start suggesting me the options without me having to type the entire dish! This makes it lot more easier to tag the dish and for Zomato to collect pics of dishes.

3. Multiple reviews for a restaurant, pretty please!

We used to have this feature on Zomato but has been removed later may to be to reduce spam and irrelevant reviews. Consistency is what that lacks with most restaurants out there, by not allowing users to add multiple reviews Zomato is not able to capture that consistency in food being served at a restaurant. A user might have an option to edit a review and add more information about the latest experience but it isn’t an effective way of capturing the review over a period of time and multiple visits.

Why not provide points only for one review for each restaurant but allow multiple reviews for each user? Or why not allow the top 30/50 top foodies for each city to be able to write multiple reviews for a restaurant? Or why not set a critical limit of say “X” points minimum for a foodie to be able to write multiple reviews for a restaurant?

4. Email Photos

It’s a pain to write large reviews on mobile, so my go to way of writing reviews on Zomato is to do it on the web using my lappy. One pain of doing so is to add pics to my review, I have to email the pics from my phone to my email, download them on my lappy and upload them on my Zomato review. Big pain!!

Any way of making it easier?  Something like this would be cool.

Once I start writing a review, a unique 8 alphanumeric code such as “XDA2F8FG” should appear somewhere in the review box and this code should be associated to my email ID. All I have to do is to send an email from my phone to zomato (some email ID) with subject as that unique code “XDA2F8FG” and zomato should automatically add these pics to my review. 😀

5. Contextual Reviews

Zomato with the plethora of reviews and foodies can leverage on existing data and users to provide and capture contextual dish reviews. Most of the featured reviews on Zomato has users writing about dishes they had at a restaurant and their experience with the dish. I really wonder why such valuable data hasn’t been put to good use.

Once you implement the Digital Menu, Zomato will be able to know what dishes basically exist at a restaurant. Say I am writing a review for “Little Italy” and I start writing about how awesome the “Rustic Pizza” was, the platform should dynamically search for each and every word I type in my review and IF it finds a match in the menu it should automatically pop up a small box on the right vacant space asking the user to either “Like or Dislike” the dish or to rate the dish.

Screen Shot 2014-09-22 at 9.21.37 pmBy doing so, Zomato will be able to

  1. Capture dish based ratings
  2. Capture user preferences
  3. Suggest restaurants to the user depending on the preference data captured.
  4. Monetise better by providing contextual ads to the user and hopefully have a better convert ratios for restaurants showcasing ads.

Taking this a bit deeper, you can even try some NLP techniques to try and automate rating/like/dislike for the dish. If you find words such as Awesome, bad, pathetic, good etc. in the close proximity of the dish position in the review you can assume that is what the user is specifying about the dish, populate the rating automatically and even provide an option to change the rating. Let’s assume awesome = 5, good = 4, bad = 2 and pathetic = 1, my review above (in the pic) says it’s awesome so fill up the rating with 5 stars automatically but I still want to rate it 3.5 stars so I am given an option to do so.

6. Dish Based Search

I really need a platform that can help me search for restaurant depending on the dish I want to have. I am sure most foodies would love to go out depending on what cuisine they prefer to dine on but after a certain while it all comes down to what dish I would love to have rather than what cuisine. If Zomato is able to capture dish based ratings it makes it so much easier to suggest restaurants depending on dish I would love to have.

Right now, if I search for “Pizza” on Zomato all I get is restaurants with “Pizza” in its name. This must change and I need to get suggestions with restaurants that serve pizzas.

  1. You can suggest restaurants based on dish search for
  2. Rate a restaurant in the search results depending on the rating provided for the dish searched for
  3. Again, personalise the search results. May be classify the user in a bucket depending on the ratings pattern for dishes and then suggest restaurants depending on the what people in the bucket I fall into suggest.

Aggregating all this data, a simple search for a “Pizza” can give search results suggesting which restaurants serve awesome pizzas, rating for pizzas in that restaurant, pics of pizza in that restaurant, people/friends who suggested/review pizza in that restaurant etc.