Good food hunting [New Straits Time (Malaysia)]
(New Straits Time (Malaysia) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) TIRED of eating the same food everyday? Rozana Sani checks out a new app that helps you search for good eats.
DO you feel depressed about the choices of eateries when dining out? Are you no longer excited about going to a particular restaurant because you've been there so often you can recite the menu backwards?
That was how Sathish Krishnan felt. Having been away studying software engineering in New York and accustomed to the various types of food available there, the 30-year-old found the choice of food outlets in the Klang Valley wanting.
So he and his friends started combing areas in and around Kuala Lumpur. They encountered numerous family cafes and restaurants, some of which were gems. Some featured specific dishes, while others offered ethnic cuisine as well as regional and international offerings.
"These eateries were just waiting to be discovered. What they lacked was the right type of marketing," says the co-founder of IT Geeks.
Sathish thought it would be great for people on the move to have access to information that provided them with a list of suitable restaurants in the area they were in as per their requirements.
"People are often in a quandary over where to dine or how to find a certain dish or ethnic cuisine they crave. We understand how it feels to be in a new area when you need a place to chill with your laptop and have a cup of coffee or if you want to take the wife and kids to a new restaurant that prioritises families. Or if you're craving some great Indian vegetarian food. We decided to address all these with My Diner Network," he says.
FOOD SEARCH MADE EASY
My Diner Network, which took three months to develop, is a mobile app that caters to people on the move. Based on cloud technology and available on Android and iOS platforms, it lists tried-and-tested restaurateurs in a directory and alerts users to promotions and menu updates.
Users can search for outlets based on several factors, including what's hot, type of cuisine, new openings, latest promotions and of course, what's nearby. Searches for pork-free and halal food, as well as other dietary requirements can also be conducted.
Sathish says user experience is further enhanced when users can share menu items and locations with friends.
Why choose the mobile platform rather than PC-based interface?
"Since most decisions are made while on the move, a mobile platform is more practical. Speed being a critical feature in mobile applications, My Diner Network features encrypted and compressed code and a preloading feature which give almost instantaneous results. All these are fitted within a user friendly interface, promoting seamless and intuitive use," he says.
"The use of interactive technology, geolocation features and expertise are built into the platform to effectively connect consumers with desired outlets. This results in users getting what they want and outlets having traffic directed towards them," adds Sathish.
For F&B establishments, My Diner Network is a tool to effectively reach out to customers.
"While creating a brand name for themselves, My Diner Network allows for interactive engagement with potential customers, and these establishments can then complement marketing initiatives by highlighting promotions and events via My Diner Network's Push Notification System. They can also get feedback from users in the form of reviews and comments, enabling them to improve their services, and getting free word-of-mouth advertising which is the best form of marketing," says Sathish.
At present, My Diner Network provides listings of eateries in the Klang Valley. Soon it will include those in Penang, Johor and Malacca, with the aim to list eateries nationwide - particularly family-run restaurants.
Sathish hopes to have 5,000 registered users on My Diner Network by year-end.
"We'll have My Diner Network on Windows and Blackberry phones by next year," he says.
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