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Tinder for food? New app helps users decide where to eat

It’s like Tinder, but for food.

A new app launching in Columbus Thursday will help indecisive eaters choose where to eat by swiping right or left on their favorite meals.

Entree helps users decide what to eat by having them swiping right or left on their favorite meals. | Credit: Courtesy of Entree.

Born out of frustration between two roommates, Entree was created as a new system to help customers find the right place to eat.  

We often fought over deciding what to eat and we used a lot of the alternatives out there like Yelp and Foursquare, and we kind of realized that the process of deciding was flawed,” said Danny Tippens, co-founder of Entree.

The New Jersey natives realized that people eat with their eyes first, so rather than being shown a list of restaurants, they created an app in which users see images of food first. Tippens said this way proved to be more efficient in helping users decide where to eat.

“You open the app and you’ll see images of dishes and then from there, we’ll show you restaurants around you that have that dish,” he said.

Once the Entree app is downloaded, users are prompted through a tutorial in which the app learns their meal preferences. From there, users are shown dishes relevant to their tastes, which Tippens said separates the app from other services that are mostly ad-based and don’t cater to users’ preferences.

Unlike other food apps, Tippens said, Entree is not involved in partnerships with restaurants around the city. However, the app integrates its data from Foursquare, which helps users discover and share information about local businesses and attractions.

Entree is also partnered with other services to provide an optimal food experience.

“We also have a partnership with Uber so you can get a ride to the restaurant,” Tippens said. “Soon, we’ll have integration with Open Table and Eat Street, so you can make reservations or get delivery.”

The Columbus debut will be Entree’s first major launch in the United States, apart from its test launch in the New York area, which helped Tippens and co-founder Prajoth Pattamatta create what they say is the ultimate food experience for app users.

“Right out of college I was the product manager at [American Express] and I have a strong technical background,” Pattamatta said. “But that being said, learning or knowing how to build an app is very different from building the right food app, so we definitely had a lot of learning experiences along the way in terms of learning from our users based on what features they use [and] what they like.”

The pair chose Columbus as a starting point because of the big-city atmosphere driven by a large university. Tippens said the app is mostly targeted toward students and young professionals.

“The reason why we decided to launch this week in Columbus is because it has a great food scene, and also this is a big weekend because Penn State and Ohio State are playing so it’s obviously a huge weekend in Columbus,” he said.

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