A new way of discovering food

Mmmystery started when three other developers and I were discussing how people choose where to eat. Yelp is obviously the top dog when it comes to online reviews of local businesses and eateries. Some people I talked to said that they don’t even consider a restaurant that has less than three stars on Yelp. Others said that they go straight to the food pics when deciding where to eat. A friend of mine explained that whenever she logs into Yelp, she quickly sees her favorite, highly-rated restaurants and just picks from the places that she’s already familiar with. Very rarely does she use it to actually find new restaurants.

A team of four, including myself, are working on an iOS application that will take the most fun part of deciding where to eat, looking at photos of food, and make it the central focus.

How it works

Utilizing a “Tinder for food” mentality, you will be presented with user submitted photos of plates from nearby restaurants. A left swipe rejects the meal while promptly displaying other options and a right swipe is considered a “like”. We also wanted to allow you to filter the meals by category, distance and price.

Initially, we designed the app with the intention of having unlimited “likes” and just offering a way for you to collect plates that you find delicious looking, along with all its information – restaurant, location, etc.

We realized, however, that most users would swipe right and then google everything about the restaurant getting a plethora of often biased user reviews. There are already so many review sites and we wanted our app to offer a different experience.

With Tinder, you form a first impression of another person based on their submitted photos. It’s fun to fantasize and paint a picture of someone before actually talking or meeting with them. This is why people-watching is so fascinating and addicting. We wanted to apply this light-hearted and amusing process to selecting a meal.

Keeping it a mmmystery

In order to maximize the amount of mystery involved, we only show the most basic info about the photos – the name of the meal, the time it takes to walk to the location, the price range and the user who submitted it.

When you swipe right, you are given step by step directions to the restaurant. However, you are only given one waypoint at a time. When you reach the current waypoint, the next one will then display on the map. You are shown the remaining walking time to the current waypoint along with a progress bar that indicates how close you are to the restaurant so that you aren’t completely in the dark during your adventure.

We recognize that this feature will deter the less adventurous. Our intention behind this component is to get you out and about – exploring your neighborhood and discovering new restaurants. We are hoping to create a fun and different culinary experience – perfect for event get-togethers and date nights.

You can upload your own images of your meal either by taking a photo directly within the app or selecting from the camera roll. Just tell mmmystery where you were and what you had to eat. If the name of the plate isn’t listed, you can easily add it.

Where does mmmystery go from here?

We’d like to create a more social experience by adding the ability to follow friends and share mmmysteries with them.  We would also like to integrate a “Venmo-like” news feed that shows current activity in your area.  You would be able to see what others are eating along with how they are feeling after their meal.

Mmmystery Next Steps 1

We are also excited about the possibility of partnering with restaurants in order to offer local deals and sponsored meals. Since we are collecting user information along with their preferred restaurants and tastes, we can offer valuable demographic data to the restaurant industry.

Mmmystery Next Steps 2

Tech Stack

It is extremely exciting to work on this project because we are utilizing some of the latest JavaScript and iOS technology available. We are really enjoying React Native and its ability to create an authentic iOS app experience.

  • React Native
  • ES6 / Babel
  • Yelp API
  • Mapbox API
  • Facebook Oauth
  • Amazon S3
  • Node / Express / Heroku (to create an API endpoint for image uploading)

Coming soon to an app store near you!

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Also, check out my other projects.