Hungry? Shake things up

Urbanspoon is a website and phone application that helps users find a restaurant that caters to their location, taste, and price range. It was started in Seattle, Washington in 2006 and had 3 employees. It was purchased by InterActiveCorp in 2009, the exact price is not known but its estimated to have been bought for a price in the low double-digit millions.
Today, it is utilized by 28 million users every month. Both the web and the mobile app are steadily growing but mobile app traffic is outpacing the web. Every year the app grows 112% and the site grows 70%. The app is available on iPhone, Android, and Windows phones and the app provides services in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand. 53% of the app’s users are women, and 47% are men.

How it works:
Urbanspoon uses geolocation to find restaurants near the user. It the filters the search in its most famous feature, the shake, based on neighborhood, type of cuisine, and price range. The app also allows the user to make reservations at restaurants and collects the users dining history and reviews.

Benefits of the app:

  • The app is customer reviewed so you can get an honest opinion before you dine.
  • You can filter choices by how much you’re willing to spend and Urbanspoon will do the work for you.
  • You can choose what kind of food you want to eat. For example, American, Chinese, Mexican, sushi. There are categories that get even more specific like hot dogs, pub food, organic, and kosher.
  • After you choose a restaurant that fits your current craving and price you’re provided with all of the restaurant’s information, phone number, hours, directions, etc.
  • You can check in at your favorite locations and share with friends on social media.

Where’s Urbanspoon going?
In 2009 Urbanspoon sold their reservation making capabilities. This means you can still make a reservation on the app but it isn’t run by Urbanspoon themselves. They recently hired more bloggers and food writers hoping to gear the app with more professional editorial content about restaurants and dining. Urbanspoon works and will continue to work because it caters to the masses. They have a variety of features and can alter its services to fill the individual needs of virtually ANY user.
For more information, visit Urbanspoon’s website:

There’s an app for that


A few days ago my roommate and myself were sitting in our apartment, trying to find a cure for Sunday boredom. The situation went as follows:

Roommate: What’s on tv?
Me: I don’t know, let me check the TV guide app. There’s no good football games on.
R: Let me see if there’s any good wing deals on the Party Tutor app maybe we can watch the game somewhere.
M: Alright. I just checked ScoreCenter both of our teams play next week.
R: Are you hungry?
Simultaneously: URBANSPOON

This conversation all took place over several minutes as we both flipped through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, I posted a selfie, beat a few levels of Candy Crush Saga, and bought a phone case on Amazon for $2.35.

Why is this important?
The International Data Corportation (IDC) predicts that over 76.9 billion app downloads will occur by 2014 and it will be a $35 billion dollar industry. According to this inforgraphic, where you can find more information, the average smartphone user has 22 apps on their deck and the average iPhone user has 37 apps on their deck.

My point being: apps are PERVASIVE, there is an app for everything these days from banking to games to restaurants to movie theater times and it is a relevant industry, both personally and financially. Apps are designed to make life easier, and as you can see from my conversation with my roommate they do accomplish that goal. But my question is, as apps make life easier do they make you lazier?

Today there is literally nothing I can’t do without the use of an app.
Because of WellsFargo Mobile I literally never have to go to a bank teller to deposit a check. Because of this, I quite literally don’t know how to deposit a check.
Because of Evernote, I don’t have to print out the notes I take on my computer because they sync automatically to my phone.
Thanks to Dominos, I don’t have to call anyone to order a pizza.
Thanks to Yelp and Urbanspoon I never have to ask a friend about what restaurant or business they recommend.
Because of the TVGuide app, I don’t even have to look at the guide on my TV.
Thanks to Google Maps I can visit a whole city on foot, alone, without having to communicate with a single person.
I can live almost my entire life without even looking up from my phone, my apps guide me through every aspect of my life. And while this makes life greatly convenient, I can’t help but notice how app technology hinders development of life and communication skills.