Foodspotting Midterm

The web application is viewable here.

What type of channel is your assigned channel?


Foodspotting was originally developed as an application which also offered a web app and was founded in 2009. The application was available for download for iPhone, Blackberry and Android but is no longer available for download, at least in the United States. Foodspotting started as an “instagram for food;” users took pictures of their meals, tagged it, and shared it with friends via the app or through Facebook, Twitter, or another social stream.


Foodspotting originally began as a coffee table book- a concept designed by Alexa Andrzejewski and her husband while they were traveling in Japan and she realized most people take pictures of their food, but she didn’t know where they were putting those pictures. She was also trying a lot of dishes she had never tried before but had no way to identify them. She later teamed up with Ted Grubb who helped her make Foodspotting into an app. Soraya Darabi came in after and was intrigued by the concept so she began advising the team leading up to the launch of the beta application at SXSW 2010. The application was bought by OpenTable in 2013, and sometime since then the application has ceased operations in the iTunes store in the United States. Through research it is unsure what happened to the application, or why it shut down.

Target audience


The target audience for Foodspotting was anyone who is active on social media and is also interested in food. The application was open to everyone, and it seems as if it’s secondary target audience would be people who are traveling, as the app promotes locating food throughout the world.

User numbers


When the application was bought by OpenTable it had an estimated 3 million users. According to there were an estimated 262,500 visits over the last 30 days, and traffic has decreased by 29.9 percent over the last year. It is also worth noting that I accessed this graph on February 14, and when i went to revisit the website for citation purposes on February 19, the traffic estimate website for this page was shut down.


When Foodspotting started they raised $3.75 million, but were bought for only $10 million in 2013 when they were acquired by OpenTable, an online restaurant reservation company that was founded in 1998. OpenTable, instead of taking over the application, allowed all employees to stay. They claimed that OpenTable would integrate features of Foodspotting instead of the other way around; for example, offering pictures on menus on the OpenTable website.

Features / What does it do? How does it work?


The application allowed users to view pictures of food taken nearby, take and post pictures themselves and follow influencers and celebrities as well as see what specific restaurants had to offer. Foodspotting realized people were using the app at all times of the day, so they expanded so that users could follow people, places and dishes. The goal of the app was to allow consumers to see the food that is offered at a restaurant before going in. It allowed a consumer to go to a place because it offers something they like and looks good, not go to a place and try to find something they like on a menu they haven’t seen. Foodspotting went a step beyond a regular restaurant recommendations; it helped users make better culinary decisions and explore a variety of places and dishes.

Professionals could use the app to connect to consumers and get them interested in their products. Businesses were able to create a profile as well as guides, or even run a promotion through the app. One of the ways that Foodspotting recommended utilizing their service for business is through “Spot to Win.” This allowed businesses to enter customers into a photo contest or drawing when they “spot” at that a restaurant or spot a particular dish. The people who participate received an automated, branded response and it would show their followers that they had been entered as well.

Integration with other social channels

Users were able to share their posts to all other social media feeds, like Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare. They were also encouraged to use #foodspotting when posting on other apps.

Mobile friendly

The app was incredibly mobile friendly and mostly relied on its mobile versions. The website offers some of the features but is hard to navigate and is considerably less functional. The apps have been shut down.

What major brands/companies/celebrities/people are using this channel effectively

Foodspotting was used by experts like Mario Batali, Wolfgang Puck, and the Travel Channel. When I checked the Travel Channels last use of the app was four years ago, Puck’s was three years ago, and Batali had never spotted anything, but his last guide was uploaded in 2011. Personally, I had never heard of the application before starting this project and it seems as if it’s popularity faded over time, because when the celebrities and influencers were active they posted frequently.



Startup Success: How Soraya Darabi Put Foodspotting on the Map. Lauren Drell –

OpenTable By the Numbers: From Launch to $2.6 Billion. Hillary Forbes –

The App Review: Foodspotting.


Foodspotting App Adds Dish Recommendations to the Menu. Christina Bonnington –


Foodspotting’s app hits 1 million downloads and gets new social features – TNW Apps. Courtney Myers –

Foodspotting app review. Matt Warman –

The presentation form of this project can be viewed at


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