Since that time, I fell in love with the easy-to-use app and have become quite the fanboy. I’ve written several posts referencing Foodspotting and asked the SA community to participate in #FoodspotSA day. Foodspotting has also grown up from a fledgling company to a one of the hottest startups that is looking to explode in the next few months.
Sometimes, however, I can get so excited about something that I forget that not everyone is familiar with what I’m talking about. Realizing that I may have been more than a little confusing when talking about Foodspotting, I decided to take a step back and explain what Foodspotting is and why I like using the app.
What Foodspotting Does
Foodspotting is an app that is available for download on most mobile platforms (iPhone, Android, Windows, and coming soon to Blackberry) and also a website you can view on your laptop or desktop. Essentially, Foodspotting allows users to take pictures of what they are eating, tag that photo with the restaurant they ordered it from, and write comments about what they thought of the food. I like to think of it as “Twitter for Foodies” because you can provide real time updates in the same manner as the popular microblogging platform.
Image you are at the restaurant Eat At Joe’s and you ordered a cheeseburger (if you are vegetarian, let’s call it a soy burger). When the meal is delivered to your table, you can take a picture of said cheeseburger and store it in your phone. After you eat your meal, you decide that you love the cheeseburger so much and you want to tell everyone about it. You open up the Foodspotting app, upload the photo, tag it with Eat At Joe’s (the restaurant where you got the cheeseburger), and write something like “Oh my goodness! This was a great cheeseburger! Be sure to upgrade to the jalapeño cheddar bun!”
Your post on the cheeseburger at Eat At Joe’s will be published to Foodspotting and will be able to be seen by the people who follow you, or anyone who searches for something “spotted” in the vicinity of Eat At Joe’s.
So Why Foodspot?
Foodspotting helps you figure out where to go and what to eat.
Have you ever been in the situation where you have to decide where to go eat? Have you ever been at a restaurant and been torn on what to order? Are you an average Joe like me and don’t know what all the French terms in a menu mean? Foodspotting can help solve these problems.
While Urban Spoon, another popular food app, will suggest restaurants in the immediate vicinity based on cuisine and price, Foodspotting shows you the actual dishes that consumers are ordering which can be much more helpful in determining where to eat. If I need to figure out a place to go, I will open up the Foodspotting app and in a matter of seconds can see suggestions from Foodspotters who have been in the area. This is really helpful in determining where to dine out.
Furthermore, I will often use Foodspotting while I am in a restaurant to see what other people have suggested. The app has helped me decide on what I should order and is incredibly helpful to see pictures and comments from folks prior to making a decision. I am not the most erudite food lover and many a French term is lost on me. Foodspotting has become helpful in this situation because I can see what a duck confit is prior to ordering it.
Foodspotting lets you have an opinion.
While not everyone has a food blog, most people have an opinion on who has the best pizza in town or where to get the best dessert late at night. Foodspotting lets you share your opinion with other food minded kind of folks in an easy to do manner. By posting on Foodspotting, you place an endorsement for your favorite restaurants and dishes for other folks to find. Not only do you spread the joy of what you consider good eating, you also help promote the establishments that serve up the grub.
Want to take it a step further? Instead of just posting updates on the meals that you’ve eaten, you can create a guide for others to follow. You can build many different guides to highlight your favorite spots in town. Anything from your Top Ten 24-Hour Establishments, to Best Vegetarian Breakfasts, or Best Margaritas in Town, the world is your oyster and you can help out of towners and locals alike find some really good spots to eat.
Show the world you’re a food expert.
Similar to Foursquare, Foodspotting offers “badges” that users can earn to show their expertise. After spotting a handful of chicken dishes, you might become a chicken expert. Make the rounds to the bar quite often? Soon you will unlock the cocktail expert badge.
Additionally, users garner tips, or virtual points, each time they post an item on Foodspotting. Additional tips can be earned as other users “Want It” or “Nom It” or tell you that it is a “Great Shot” or a “Great Find”. At this point in time, there doesn’t appear to be a way for users to cash in their tips, but as Foodspotting continues to grow, I wouldn’t be surprised if they tied in a loyalty program of some sort.
As you complete guides that other users have published, you can also earn a badge for your profile. So the next time you are in San Antonio, check out my guide on my Favorite Mexican Food and earn the badge!
Final Advice to Getting Started on Foodspotting
First and foremost, Foodspotting should be something that is fun, lighthearted, and positive. Because of this I offer the following advice:
1. Always post positive comments. There is too much negativity in the world, so if what you ate didn’t live up to your expectations, don’t even bother to post it. Trust me, negative publicity travels way faster and farther than positive publicity. Use this platform to build up instead of tear down.
(As an aside, I have resolved to take a bit of my own advice and will not be posting negative reviews on my blog. Granted, I think I have only had three negative reviews since blogging 2+ years ago, but I think my time will be better spent pointing out the positives rather than the negatives. Sometimes what isn’t said is more poignant than what is said.)
2. Don’t let Foodspotting get in the way of your meal. Sometimes you will be with folks who get it you can be the table of dorks laughing together taking pictures of food. Other times you will be with people who won’t have a clue what you are doing or the situation might not be appropriate.
In general, I like to follow this rule: take your picture and put up your phone. This will make sure that you have the photo so that you can Foodspot later, but it won’t ruin the flow of your meal. Dining out is an experience you should enjoy with other people, so first and foremost make sure that you are always considerate towards the people you are with.
3. Try to get a good picture. I am the world’s worst at getting a good picture, but I still try. Inevitably, my pictures are always shot straight on and lack any artistry. My girlfriend’s tactic, which I have recently adopted, is to tilt the camera to get an “artistic shot.” You can use Instagram to spice up your pictures as well. There was recently a really good article posted on Foodspotting’s blog by Ultraclay on how he takes pictures of his food. Apparently there is more to it than just tilting your camera.
Go Get Started!
Now that you have some of the basics on how to Foodspot, go download the Foodspotting app and get started! If you have any further questions, be sure to check out their blog or leave a question in the comments section of this post for me to answer.