HowUdish Kickstarts a New App to Help Diners

Diners are more aware of ingredients, preparation, and portions of food now than ever before. Some are health conscious because of the diet they choose, and some are restricted based on health constraints. Keto and Whole30 are currently popular diets that have created not only buzzwords, but a following of people looking to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Limitations like gluten and lactose intolerance have forced some to cut certain foods out of their diet altogether. This change in the landscape of food has had a significant impact on the food and restaurant industry as a whole.

As a restaurant owner, you’ve probably also had to adapt your menu to fit the needs of a diverse array of dietary restrictions. You may now offer vegan items or dishes made with less sodium. It’s important to be inclusive of all lifestyle choices and diet requirements, not only for the success of your business, but for the consideration of your patrons.

HowUdish, an app geared toward restaurant discovery, recognized the need for a tool to help individuals quickly find restaurants that are friendly to their diets. So, the company behind the idea created HowUdish for iOS to make it easier for diners to enjoy a meal away from home.

The truth is, it’s much more difficult to stick to a healthy diet plan or abide by health restrictions when you’re on the go. If you’re not cooking it, chances are you don’t know exactly how the food is being prepared. But, this uncertainty shouldn’t hold diners back from enjoying a dinner out with friends. And from this notion, HowUdish was born.

The app curates nearby restaurant offerings and dietary information in one place. Users can filter by dietary restrictions (so if, for example, they’re gluten-free, they can choose that setting) to see what options are available in their area. They’ll get nutritional information including calories, fat, carbs, protein levels, and more. Dining out without the guilt has never been easier.

Along with nutritional discovery, Dishers can keep track of diet progress in order to close the loop on their nutritional journey. They can track weight loss, interact with other Dishers, and even save meals they enjoyed to remember them for next time.

From a restaurant owner’s perspective, this app can be extremely useful for attracting more diners to your location. If you offer the options they’re looking for, you become easily discoverable on the HowUdish app. These users are looking for very specific menu items and ingredients, so if you can fulfill their needs, you have the chance of not only being discovered, but being talked about among app users. With the diverse dietary restrictions that are prevalent today, it’s important to showcase your offerings wherever possible.

When you take off your business owner hat, HowUdish may still be relevant to your personal life. If you stick to a strict diet or have an allergy or limitation, the app can help you find more menu choices when you’re dining out. HowUdish’s mission is to make the world a healthier place, but to do so, they need our help.

HowUdish has already been around for about 6 months, but they are looking to expand their business by launching a brand new app for Android. Currently, the app is only available to iOS users, which limits its reach. HowUdish hopes to expand its presence and help more people discover restaurants that suit their needs by being available on any type of operating system.

In order to make the Android app a reality, the company launched a Kickstarter campaign to help get the job done. And you can contribute! Follow this link to read more about HowUdish and consider making a pledge. There are some great perks, and opportunities for you to market your restaurant.

With HowUdish, hungry diners everywhere are finally able to find a place to eat, no matter what limitations they have.

Visit http://www.howudish.com/ to check out their product features, blog, social media, and more. Happy Dishing!

[News] Google Introduces Maps Engine Pro

Here’s a highlight of some of the top local-business-related news of the week:

[Search Engine News] Google Introduces Maps Engine Pro to Help Small Businesses Visualize Customer Data

News Source: TechCrunch

On Monday, Google introduced Maps Engine Pro, a new utility that allows small businesses to use Google’s location tools to create maps out of proprietary data uploaded as a spreadsheet.

The tool is designed to help small business owners visualize and filter location-based data to help make better decisions about staffing, regional services, customer engagement, and other business practices.

For example, Pure Fix Cycles, a pilot tester for the program, used Maps Engine Pro to visualize the locations of East-Coast customer service calls. The program allowed them to determine which location would be the best to send a customer to based on proximity, inventory, and other factors.

Maps Engine Pro is currently available on desktop and Android mobile devices.

Key Takeaway: Google has spent a lot of time and effort building out robust map features for consumers and enterprises, but this is its first utility built specifically with small businesses in mind. If your business collects location data, this tool will be a huge help in identifying trends in and drawing conclusions from your data sets.

[Location App News] Foursquare Revamps Website, Highlights Nearby Hot Spots, Offers and Tips From Friends

News Source: The Next Web

Foursquare has focused on revamping its mobile apps for the past few releases. This week, the location-based social network rolled out extensive updates to its desktop site, Foursquare.com.

The site can now:

  • Detect a user’s location
  • Highlight exclusive nearby offers and deals
  • Highlight relevant locations based on the user’s local time
  • Serve up tips and highlights for any destination a user searches for

These changes will make Foursquare site much more useful to consumers searching for local businesses at home or at work on a laptop or desktop.

Key Takeaway: Foursquare has invested serious resources to improve both their mobile and desktop experiences-which is great news for businesses on the platform. Make sure your Foursquare profile is up to date and as complete as possible (note: including your full menu of products or services is a must). Also encourage your customers to check in and leave tips so that Foursquare has plenty of material to serve up to local consumers.

[Social Media News] LinkedIn Launches New Mobile Apps for Intro, iPad, and Pulse

News Source: Tech News World

LinkedIn rolled out new mobile apps this week to improve customization, reach, and productivity:

  • A new iPad app includes enhanced search, job listings, and productivity features.
  • Pulse, LinkedIn’s news service app, also relaunched with new personalization and productivity features.

Key Takeaway: These new apps make it easier than ever to share and view personal and company profiles on mobile. Make sure your personal LinkedIn Profile is current, and if you don’t already have a Company Page, consider setting one up so that viewers can find and follow your business.

Other news catch your eye this week? Leave a comment and let us know!

[News] Foursquare Makes Ad Tool Public

Here’s a highlight of some of the top local-business-related news of the week:

[Location App News] Foursquare Opens Its Ad Platform to Small Businesses

Source: Fast Company

Foursquare announced this week that its ad tool is now open to 1.5 million merchants after months of testing. The tool allows businesses to target relevant customers, set a monthly budget for ad spend, and track ad performance. Ads can feature a special offer or highlight popular user tips.

Analytics will track clicks and check-ins / redemptions, providing businesses with a clear correlation between ad dollars spent and dollars earned in sales. Businesses can choose to spend as much or as little as they like to run campaigns; the preliminary average spend appears to be between $200-500 a month.

Key Takeaway: Running ads on a location-based app like Foursquare could help you convert more foot traffic into paying customers for a very modest up-front investment. And if you already have great tips for your location on Foursquare, running an ad can help you share positive word-of-mouth feedback with additional consumers. 

[Social Media News] Twitter Adds Tweet Scheduling, DMs from All Followers

Sources: AllTwitter, Business Insider

Twitter launched several product updates this week, two of which are especially helpful for businesses and brands:

  1. You can now schedule Tweets, including Tweets with photos, up to a year in advance using the Twitter ad interface.
  2. Anyone who follows your Twitter account can now send you a direct message (DM) without you having to follow their account as well.

While many social media management services already provide Tweet scheduling capabilities, this is the first time users have been able to schedule posts from Twitter itself. Scheduling Tweets with photos is something altogether new—and exciting, considering that Tweets with photos are 94% more likely to be shared than text-only Tweets.

Opening DMs to all followers has both positive and negative consequences. On the positive side, it means that customers can send you a private question or complaint rather than publically commenting in your feed. On the negative side, it also means that random people who follow you can spam you with unwanted messages.

Key Takeaway: If you’re not already active on Twitter, these improvements will make it easy to get started. Sharing engaging content and managing customer communications is now simpler than ever.

[Social Media News] Facebook Adds Review Button to Place Pages

Source: AllFacebook

Facebook is beginning to roll out Review buttons for Place Pages this week. The button appears in the top menu next to the Follow, Like, and Message buttons. When users click the Review button, they can rate and review the business.

Reviews are published on the Place Page, in the News Feed, and in the Ticker. They can also be used as the basis of right-column ads.

Key Takeaway: Recent changes to Facebook’s Graph Search are helping consumers find your business Page. Now consumers who find you are also able to write reviews directly on your Page. Make sure to assign someone to monitor your feedback on Facebook so that you can address any negative reviews or ratings. (Note: As with major review sites, you can’t hide or remove reviews from your Page once they’re posted.)

[News] Microsoft Links Daily Deals to Credit Cards

Here’s a highlight of some of the top local-business-related news of the week:

[Daily Deals News] Microsoft Pilots Program Linking Daily Deals to Credit Cards

News Source: GeekWire

Microsoft launched a pilot program this week on its Bing Offers site that connects daily deals directly to a user’s credit card. The goal is to eliminate the “friction” caused by requiring users to show or print a coupon when redeeming a daily deal at a business.

This program stems from Microsoft’s participation in the CardLinx Association, a new industry group that aims to create standards for connecting daily deals with consumers’ payment cards.

Microsoft says of the program: “When you use your card to make a qualified purchase at a participating local business, […] you are immediately notified about your savings, and you will receive the discounts directly on your card statement.”

Key Takeaway: Getting consumers to convert on daily deals may become easier without the hurdle of having to show a coupon. But the higher volume of conversions may require businesses to rethink their discount strategy to prevent undercutting profits. 

[POS News] GroupOn Updates Breadcrumb POS App to Include CRM Features

News Source: StreetFight 

On Wednesday, GroupOn released updates to its Breadcrumb point-of-sale (POS) app to include Customer Resource Management (CRM) capabilities such as storing a customer’s contact information and purchase history.

This new functionality allows businesses to connect payment and transaction data to a traditional customer list used for email marketing and other communications. For each card transaction, a new customer record is created; cash transactions aren’t automatically tracked, but can be manually assigned to a customer record post-sale.

Key Takeaway: If you use Breadcrumb as your POS system, this is a huge win for your business. Not only will this integration allow you to connect with customers after their initial purchase, but it will also provide the information you need to develop highly personalized communications, offers, and rewards. GroupOn is one of the frontrunners with this type of integration, but other POS systems are sure to follow suit. 

[Location App News] Foursquare Rolls out Push Recommendations for iPhone App

News Source: CNET

On Thursday, Foursquare began rolling out updates to its iPhone app to automatically push recommendations for nearby things to eat, see, and do.

The feature, which Foursquare refers to as “real-time recommendations,” works in the background on a user’s smartphone, tracking the device’s movements to estimate location. The app then sends a push notification when it finds a location-based bit of information to share.

The majority of Foursquare users on Android already have this functionality, which began to roll out in August.

Key Takeaway: If your business isn’t on Foursquare yet, or if your information is out of date, now is the time to log on and take control of your listing. Real-time recommendations will increase your business’s exposure to Foursquare users in your area.

Other news catch your eye this week? Leave a comment and let us know! 

[News] Facebook Graph Search Expansion

Here’s a highlight of some of the top local-business-related news of the week:

[Social Media News] Facebook Graph Search Expands to Include Check-ins, Captions, and More

News Source: CNET

Facebook’s Graph Search is the platform’s natural-language search engine. On Monday, Facebook expanded its Graph Search functionality, allowing users to search within check-ins, status updates, photo captions, and comments.

This update is currently available only to a limited number of users on desktop devices, but will roll out to all desktop users over the coming weeks.

Previously, Graph Search would return results only for people, places, photos, and interests.

The Takeaway: This is great news for your business. If your customers are checking in at your establishment, writing comments on your Page, or mentioning your business in a status update, this content is now searchable—which means that more people will be able to find you via Facebook search. Encourage your customers to interact with you on social media to maximize your exposure.

[Location App News] Foursquare and Other Companies’ Request for Government Data Transparency Rejected

News Sources: TechCrunch, SocialTimes

In June, a number of major media companies, including Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn, filed a motion requesting the right to publish more information about government data requests. This week, the Center for Democracy and Technology sent a letter to the Senate and House Judiciary Committees in support of this motion.

The letter was signed by an additional 10 tech startups, including check-in app Foursquare, cloud computing app Twillio, and Automattic, the parent company of WordPress. These companies expressed support for two pieces of legislation in Congress designed to improve data transparency. Both acts “clarify that companies have the right to publish basic statistics about the government demands for user data that they receive.”

U.S. Department of Justice officially stated this week that it would not allow companies to disclose the number of requests for user information made by the government under its surveillance program.

The Takeaway: Businesses will continue to lack insight into what data the government is requesting from major tech companies.

[Social Media News] Bing Adds Pinterest to Image Search Results

News Source: Search Engine Land

If image search is important to your business, you’ll be thrilled to hear that Bing is now including Pinterest boards in its image search results.

The boards show up on the far right of Bing’s image search results page. The board name and image count are displayed, along with the Pinterest user’s account name.

Clicking on a Pinterest board result leads to another page that shows almost the entire set of images from the Pinterest board, starting with a visible link to visit the board itself on Pinterest.

Results are displayed from Pinterest users with a wide range of follower counts.

The Takeaway: If your business isn’t on Pinterest, now’s the time to join. The images you share of your products and services will be visible both on Pinterest’s network and to search engine users on Bing. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to showcase your offerings to potential customers online.

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