We analyzed 106,607 restaurant websites to see how they will hold up with Google’s new mobile friendly algorithm. Check out our results on the state of restaurant website mobile optimization.
We’ve been very busy recently crunching numbers (billions of them) for some very cool upcoming features, however we thought that we would take a short break from that and clean up a few pages that were in dire need of some love.
Previously the logged in portion of the site did basically what we wanted, but lacked a focus and was a little messy. We revamped everything putting much more emphasis on the recommendations and promoted a few interesting statistics (unrelated to our number crunching) to the primary logged in page as well. If you don’t have an account you can sign up for free.
Additionally we just started updating our Foodio54 Facebook page and added Facebook Like buttons to all restaurant listings.
We’ve been thinking of ways to better explain the difference between a recommendation and a review, and we’ve decided that the best way to do that is by example. In short a review is when you do the work to find a great restaurant by
reading lots of stuff whereas a recommendation is when we do that work for you. Still we needed a grandiose way to demonstrate that point and we think we have it.
This past weekend we needed to test out some of the feasibility of this adventure that will demonstrate the power of recommendations, and so after a day at work and a computer science graduate course, on Friday I set off from Kent Ohio to Houlton Main (the eastern border with Canada). This was a 35 hour / 2000 mile weekend trip that was a test of … Read More »
We’ve been collecting a lot of data and we realized that the recommender system algorithm was originally specialized to work under conditions with less data, so we’ve been experimenting a bit. We’ve collected now just over 138,000 restaurant ratings. We’ve also logged every time we’ve made a prediction, and so we can now compare with a great deal of certainly how well we’re doing.
The old system was on average 0.81 off. This may seem like a lot, however this number would win the $1 million Netflix prize (yes we tried). If you’re unfamiliar with the Netflix Prize, it is a competition to improve Netflix’s recommendation system by 10%, if you can do that you get $1 million. Netflix provides you with 100 million ratings and a pat on the back The system we’ve developed for Foodio54 uses certain pieces … Read More »
One thing that we want to explore more is showing our data more graphically. Our first idea along these lines was what if at night only the restaurants in our database turned on their lights? What would that look like from space?
And the new Restaurants at Night feature was born.
After we got it to show all restaurants, we thought it would be interesting to see some of the larger national chains. As we do enjoy comparing McDonald’s and Starbucks if you look at the night maps of McDonald’s and the night maps of Starbucks you can really see how McDonalds is more evenly spread throughout the country while Starbucks has the tendandcy to clump its stores in urban areas.
If you would like to see a different chain we can probably accomodate that, however we can’t do this on the fly … Read More »
We get a lot of great feedback, and one of the more common requests is for the site to be able to remember where you live so that you don’t have to type in a location every time you’re looking for a restaurant. After I read a few of these recently I thought, geez why don’t we do that it seems entirely useful and plenty of other sites do it too.
So if you are signed into your account you can click on “My Foodio54″ and then the profile tab and check the box that says “Always default search location to my address” and it should work right away. For privacy and security we decided to set this to off for all existing users, but going forward new users will automatically have it selected to begin.
This is entirely optional, we only … Read More »
Just an update on moving servers, we have run into several problems doing this, but we are finally making progress again. I would really rather not try to guess as to when this might be completed, but hopefully it will be very soon.
The problem is mostly that we have a ton of data that is constantly changing, so by the time that we move it it’s already out of date. I think I have a plan to get this all over, switch the code to pick up the new server, and then go back and pick up any changes, but we’ve made a real mess of things trying that in the past.
As with any technical challenge this one will be solved, but for now know that we are feverishly working to get this over to the new faster server.
We’ve got our sweet new quad core Xeon server, and we are going to begin the transition over to it. The database will be migrated on Sunday night at around 1 or 2 am Eastern Time, and during this time we will need to cut off anything that would write to the database. The rest of the site will officially go over in the next few days, but the way we’re setup it doesn’t really matter how that happens (actually most of the other stuff is already moved, but we’re still pointing to the old server). The difficulty should all be in getting the database (technically databases) over.
Should this fail for any reason we will try again on Monday night and every night thereafter until we can get it right, but I’m confident we can do this in one try.
You … Read More »
We are pleased to report that we have added several hundred new vegetarian restaurants to our database and tagged several hundred more as being vegetarian bringing the total up to 4,346 vegetarian restaurants.
I believe, and we are still looking around, that for the US at least we have the most comprehensive list of vegetarian restaurants anywhere on the internet. One worry then of course is that some of these places are no longer open, so please if something is closed use the delete feature and we’ll get rid of it. The opposite is also true, if we’ve missed something please added it or tag it appropriately.
The search feature takes adavantage of our normal searching process except that a search for “vegetarian” will actually look for “vegetarian”, “vegan,” and “veggie.” You can also search for only vegan restaurants. The vegan search … Read More »
Well it was a bit overdue, but the clunky blog that we had before is all gone and replaced with a fancy new WordPress blog. Not only does this look better than the old one, but it is just much easier for us to update.
Additionally we have used the blog in the past primarily to communicate new development features, and while we will continue to do that, we plan to write a lot more restaurant related posts as well, so make sure to add this to your RSS reader