I want to make it a lot easier for you to get the information you want about restaurants on your smartphone.
An iPhone app (and eventually an Android app) that makes it super fast and easy for you to get just the information you want about restaurants when you're on the go.
For each of several dozen Louisville restaurants the Menu and Hours app will quickly give you:
- Contact information
It will not give you:
- PDFs to download
- Flash sites that thwart your phone's browser
- Music that starts playing automatically
- Images whose load time stand between you and the information you actually want
Michelle Jones, publisher of Consuming Louisville. With your help I'm going to hire a super talented Louisville graphic designer and an equally talented Louisville programmer (when I get their permission I'll share their names).
How will the money be used?
The money will go to pay the fees of the local designer and developer I'm hiring. This is basically a down payment that will secure the services of these very talented people who will help make the Menu and Hours iPhone app both useful and a delight to use.
If we reach the $8,000 funding level we can begin simultaneous development of the Android version of Menu and Hours as well.
Why Menu and Hours?
Some people have said that Menu and Hours is “reinventing the wheel” because apps like Urbanspoon already do what Menu and Hours is going to do and they do it for free. I, respectfully, disagree.
Menu and Hours is going to give you the contact info, the location, the hours and the menu of restaurants in an elegant package that is focused on delivering the best user experience possible. That’s it. It’s not going to give you ads or reviews from people you don’t know. It’s not going to show you photos taken with cellphones and it’s not going to make you click and scroll and zoom just to find out when a place is open and what they have for you to eat.
As I was explaining the app to someone I came up with a real world example that I think perfectly illustrates why I want to see Menu and Hours out in the world. Using an existing app (in this case Urbanspoon) let’s find out if a particular restaurant is open at 5:30 and if they have a vegetarian main course on their dinner menu. Volare was the restaurant we picked at random to use for this test case.
Well, now I’ve seen a credit card ad and know that 20% of 183 Urbanspoon users don’t like Volare but I still don’t know either of the things I’m trying to find out.
I’m confused as to how someplace can be a sports bar, romantic and kid friendly all at the same time. I couldn’t fit it all in this screenshot but the hours section shows that Volare is open for dinner but has no indication of what time the restaurant actually opens and closes.
Another click to get to the menu and it’s actually just reframing the Volare website which isn’t terribly mobile browser friendly. I can’t read this at all and my eyesight isn’t that poor.
After zooming in to make the text large enough to read it doesn’t fit onto the screen so I’m scrolling left to right to read each line of text. So yes, in the end, you can find out if there is a vegetarian main course option on Volare’s menu using the Urbanspoon app.
You can’t find out the specific hours though (at least not anywhere that I see). I find this to be a frustrating experience. If I’m going to have to click, scroll and zoom and still not get all the information I want then this app doesn’t fill the need I have. What need is that? A tool to easily, quickly and efficiently get the information I actually want about restaurants.
The Menu and Hours experience will be streamlined and you’ll know exactly what information you can count on the app to have for each restaurant. The sole purpose of Menu and Hours is to save you time and frustration when you’re looking for information about restaurants. It’s cool if you don’t think that’s something worth paying for but I sure do hope we get to build this for the people who do find a better, more efficient experience to be something worth dropping a few dollars on.
What if you don't raise all the money? Kickstarter is an all or nothing platform. If support doesn't reach the $6,000 level then I won't receive any money. If that happens I'll take it as a sign that interest in the app isn't sufficient to bring the app to market.
And to be clear: $6,000 is not the entire cost of app production. It's not even half of the final cost in fact. But $6,000 allows me to make the initial payments to the developer and designer and it is a sign that there is enough interest to bring the app to market.
What about Android? iPhone app sales will hopefully be sufficient to fund the development of an Android version of Menu and Hours. If you make a donation at a level whose reward includes a gift code for the app you can either give it to a friend with an iPhone or you can wait for the Android version and use your gift code then.
Do you have permission to use these menus? Yes. To make sure I'm completely respecting copyright and intellectual property I had a legal release drafted that will be signed by the owner or authorized representative of every restaurant represented in the app.
Why isn't this app going to be free? The long tradition of generating revenue by building a great product and charging for it seems like a much better choice to me than delivering a poorer app experience by including advertisements. Revenue is needed not only to get the app built initially but to maintain it, update it and keep the content up to date.
How often will new information be added to the app? Based on how frequently some restaurants change their menu I estimate updating the app's content several times per month.
What about restaurants who update their menu daily? There will be two or three sample menus that are representative of that restaurant's typical daily menu offerings.
- (30 days)