Urbanspoon, the popular restaurant finder and recommendation website and app, launched an update to its app today, December 12. The update introduced Dineline, a new feature that lets users check-in to restaurants and rate them. With Dineline, the photo taking feature of Urbanspoon can become more personal, since those pictures can be attached to certain check-ins and experiences at certain restaurants. People can enter “Where” and “When” their last Urbanspoon meal was, and can add information about the meal like specific notes, a picture of it, and a quick tap of “I like it” or “I don’t like it” to save a fast opinion of the item.
The update to Urbanspoon’s app comes at a time when food check-in, rating, and recommendation apps are growing rapidly. Last week, Fueled wrote about a few new dining apps that were improving upon what was already out there, like Eight Spots, which curates recommendations from insiders that know their area well. I spoke with Urbandig a few months ago about their service, which also curates recommendations from locals. Stamped is another easy-to-use recommendation app that allows users to, well, stamp their seal of approval on different aspects of the dining experience, as well as on anything else they encounter. Foodspotting already has an established audience and lets users recommend specific dishes instead of the restaurants that serve them, as well as location tracking for restaurants on the go. With all of these companies gunning to recreate Urbanspoon’s success, Urbanspoon had to counter with something that would keep it on par with its competition.
Dineline is Urbanspoon’s response as it rolls out to iOS users today. This is definitely an answer to Foodspotting’s technology, and while Urbanspoon may never have the cool club status of an Urbandig or Eight Spots, this update gives a much-needed personal touch to the app. By being able to track specifically where they’ve gone on certain dates and how they felt about the places, users can now build a history of what they’ve eaten. Urbanspoon is showing that they believe this is desirable to their customers, and they’re banking on it to stay ahead in an increasingly crowded field.