Japan has a number of restaurant-focused apps and services, including recent CNet Japan Startup Award winner Retty. But another restaurant recommendation app that’s gearing up to challenge in this space is Quchy, produced by Tokyo-based Endymion, a Samurai Incubate startup. The founder is Loren Fykes, who decided to create this service to make it easier for people all over the world to keep track of restaurants they like or ones recommended by friends.
Quchy, which has been operating in public beta since October 2013 , proposes a social, card-collection approach to restaurant curation and recommendation, where you can save your favorite restaurants or remember places you’d like to go, or you can explore restaurants saved by your friends, sorting by proximity to your current location if you wish.
One of Quchy’s more interesting functions is the ability to arrange cards into decks. Assuming that enough users make use of this function, it could potentially give Quchy’s mobile restaurant curation the same sort of appeal as the many articles we typically find online for top five or top ten lists of, for example, sushi restaurants in Tokyo. Currently decks cannot be shared externally in the same way that cards can (i.e. via a web link shared to mail, message, or other social services), but I’m told the startup “will likely add this as part of the web app first”.
While I’m not a huge foodie myself, I can see the value in collecting and sharing restaurant information. It’s especially handy for travelers to be able to browse what’s available when they are in a new area. But at the same time, restaurant information available for reference on the web than ever before (think Google Maps, Facebook, Yelp, FourSquare) so I’m not sure Quchy has the same sort of value right now that it would have had a few years ago . In terms of curation and recommendation, it does solve a problem, yes. Is it a big problem? For me, no. But that may differ for people who eat out more than I do .
On the restaurant side however, Quchy will later provide the ability to use a dashboard to grow and reward their loyal fan base. I’m told that the dashboard portion of the service will launch on February 1st, and it should be interesting to see how that feature is received. The startup has established a partnership with benefits platform community KUDOS First Benefit to help “will leverage its lifestyle benefit partners and build out premium communities” around the world. In the long term, Quchy aspires to have 3 million users and 10,000 lifestyle partner shops in three years.
Similarly, I think the connoisseur list feature looks very promising. Currently there’s just ‘Mr. Quchy’ on the app, but Quchy has some tie-ups with industry professionals who will become connoiseurs, thanks to its partnership with KUDOS. That initiative could result in some really fun curated collections.
If you’d like to check out the app for yourself, you can download it for free over on the App Store.
It has been in private beta since May of 2013. ↩
And then there’s Gournavi and Tabelog in Japan, or Dianping in China, if you want to look at other languages. ↩
It certainly would come in handy when friends come from out of town. But as international as my own online social circle is pretty international, this situation only arises once or twice a year for me. I do like to pop open Quchy and save interesting restaurants when I see them. As a relatively busy person, those instances are not so often, but I can see many of my friends on the service have been far more active. ↩