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] Yelp Adds Video Feature to Reviews

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

[Listings News] Yelp Adds Video Feature to Reviews

News Source: Business Insider

Last week, Yelp announced that it will be adding a new video upload feature to its app. Reviewers will be able to include a 3-12 second video clip and caption along with their review, similar to its current photo upload feature.

The idea is to help convey the atmosphere of a restaurant, store, salon, or other small business to readers—something that can’t be done effectively with photos alone. Yelp’s mobile product manager Madhu Prabakar says, “[The feature] will be a reward for businesses that go to great lengths to achieve a certain ambiance, whether by having a certain lighting or the music at just the right level.”

Elite Reviewers will be able to start uploading videos in early June, with the feature rolling out to the rest of users sometime this summer.

Key Takeaway: Yelp’s video feature will provide patrons with a way to highlight local businesses in a more dynamic way to other app users. Make sure your business is camera-ready by cultivating the kind of ambiance you want your customers and mobile consumers to experience.

[Tech News] Google to Offer Discounted Wi-Fi for Small Biz

News Source: Venture Beat

This week, a leaked report on Information.com indicated that Google is planning to continue its investment in the small business sector by providing discounted Wi-Fi hardware and software for SMBs. The release timing of these new offerings is still unknown, but rumored to be as early as this summer.

It appears that, by providing better networking options for small and medium businesses, Google hopes to promote the adoption of some of its other web-based services such as Docs, Apps, and cloud storage.

Key Takeaway: If you’ve struggled to find reliable, affordable Wi-Fi hardware or software for your business, Google’s new offering might solve your problem. However, you’ll likely be sold on the idea of trying a few of Google’s other products as well during the process.

[Payments News] Square Launches Cash-Advance Program for Small Businesses

News Source: Mashable

Mobile payments company Square announced this week that it will be branching out into the lending space with Square Capital. This new cash-advance program provides Square users with a loan that is paid back incrementally as a percentage of future sales (on top of the base transaction fee associated with each charge).

Unlike other business loans, Square Capital has no set time period for repayment, allowing businesses to pay back more when sales are strong and less when sales are down.

The program has been piloted by companies since last year; an exit survey showed that 85% of participants would recommend the program to other businesses.

Key Takeaway: Square has been expanding its offerings over the past year to provide a broader suite of services that will help small businesses succeed and grow. Square Capital is a natural outgrowth of this evolution. Whether this lending model works or not remains to be seen, but it’s an interesting approach that removes much of the pressure of traditional loan repayment from small businesses’ shoulders.

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

[News] Netgear and Facebook to Provide WiFi for SMBs

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

[Technology News] Netgear and Facebook Partner to Provide Wi-Fi for Small Businesses

News Source: AllFacebook

Global networking company Netgear announced at this week’s CES in Las Vegas that it’s teaming up with Facebook to provide Wi-Fi to small businesses. The Facebook Wi-Fi service will be available free-of-charge to users of the social network who check in on those businesses’ Facebook Pages.

Small business owners who own select Netgear routers can turn them into Wi-Fi hotspots. When customers select the network, they’re prompted to check in to the business’s Facebook Page before they’re taken to their web browser. Customers will also be prompted to Like the business’s Page as part of the login process.

Key Takeaway: Netgear and Facebook’s offer can benefit small businesses in two ways: (1) by providing free WiFi for patrons without requiring a new investment in equipment by business owners, and (2) by encouraging check-ins and likes on a business’s Facebook Page. This functionality seems like a win for both customers and businesses who already own the Netgear routers in question.

[Social Media News] Pinterest Acquires Visual Search Startup

News Source: Entrepreneur

This week, Pinterest purchased VisualGraph, a startup working in the visual search and image recognition software space. The acquisition was motivated by a desire to better understand what users are Pinning and how they can better serve up related content.

Key Takeaways: Down the line, Pinterest may use this new search software to show more targeted Related Pins, improve search results, and develop other kinds of Pins that may be very useful to small businesses who are promoting their products and services on Pinterest. It’ll be interesting to see what Pinterest does with VisualGraph’s technology over the coming months.

[Technology News] CES Suppliers Show a Glimpse Into the Future of Professional Kitchens

News Source: Mashable

Also at this week’s CES, Whirlpool showcased a new interactive cooktop concept that incorporates hands-free devices and touchscreens. The computer component can be activated via touch or voice, and gives users the ability to perform web searches, social networking, and other online tasks. The concept is still in a prototype phase for now.

Whirlpool also debuted a smart refrigerator that streams music from any Bluetooth-enabled device. Pricing hasn’t been announced yet, but the product will be on the market soon.

Key Takeaway: Technology is becoming even more integrated with our daily lives, including in the household. It won’t be long before smart kitchen appliances and devices are commonly used in both professional kitchens and private homes. How small businesses will react to integrating technology in the kitchen on such a broad scale remains to be seen.

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

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