Zomato is like the TripAdvisor for dining out, where you get honest reviews and experiences of places, which helps you make a decision on whether to try an establishment or not.
The service was founded in July 2008 in Delhi, India; and has since expanded into the UAE, UK, Qatar, Phillippines and Sri Lanka. Zomato as a service offers information on restaurants like contact details, GPS coordinates, scanned menus, pictures, ratings, and user reviews.
Globally, it has more than 94,000 restaurants listed (across 21 cities in 7 countries); and now with its launch into South Africa about two weeks ago, provides this information for over 2,000 restaurants in Johannesburg. As far as I am aware, a Cape Town launch is coming very soon.
The platform is accessible on the web via zomato.com and detects your location, so if you are visiting from anywhere in South Africa, the Johannesburg landing page is your default page. Once you sign up and fill your profile on the web, you don’t have to be at your desktop/laptop to post reviews. Zomato has an app on every platform – Android; iOS (native iPhone); BlackBerry 10; BlackBerry; Symbian; Windows 8; WAP and also accessible on a mobile browser via m.zomato.com. If you like taking pics of your food (I knew having a Joburg food tumblr would come in handy one day ;)), you can add these images to your review, which I noticed can only be done via the web at this stage. I’ve been using the iOS app and works great – no bugs, no crashes. Just hope a future update lets you add pics.
So why should you use Zomato? A service like Zomato relies on user-generated content; and only its community can make it a success. If you visit an establishment, feel free to share your experience. You are not obliged to be “nice” because you went out, paid for a service, and now you’re writing about your experience. If you’ve ever used or rely on a service similar to TripAdvisor, you’ll appreciate what Zomato has to offer. Zomato as a community lets you follow other foodies, and displays rankings on a leader board, which is a combination of reviews and followers. Only reviews with 50 words or more are eligible for leader board positions (subject to moderation). The leader board displays the top 25 foodies in a city. Reviews can be shared on Facebook or Twitter.
Zomato is currently running a so-called promotion – it’s not a competition or contest. They are trying to create activity in their newest launch city, Johannesburg, and have 20 iPad minis to give away (okay 19, since I earned the first one!). All you have to do is become a “Connoisseur”. This means, reach 50 reviews, and gain 100 followers. The 50 reviews have to be eligible for leader board position. They do moderate and if they feel your review is of low quality, it won’t count towards a leader board position. So if you do love eating out, sign up and review & rate restaurants listed. Feel free to post pics (web only). If you already have a blog where you review restaurants, you can post them onto Zomato but you need to display the Zomato widget on your blog to qualify. Also, you are allowed to use your blog logo as a profile pic and promote it at the bottom of your reviews. So what are you waiting for? 🙂 Sign up and start reviewing here: www.zomato.com