With the world getting closer and more socially connected, the big questions haunting foodies now are – Which restaurants are my friends eating at?, What items can they recommend for me? , What is new at my favourite restaurant? Well, these questions can now be answered by Zomato’s newly launched social features, thus making the online restaurant and events guide a go-to destination for more personalised reviews and make informed decisions on where to eat.

What are Zomato’s social features

  • Zomato’s social features are an interesting addition to the existing UI and help users follow updates on their favourite restaurants, create wish lists and follow other reviewers and friends.
  • The users will get notifications for any new user reviews, ratings as well as menu, picture, information and event updates on their favourite restaurants.
  • The users can also invite their friends to follow them and their activities on Zomato as well as share the live feeds of their activity on Zomato on their Facebook page.

I am not much of a foodie but I can easily vouch for this social layer introduced by Zomato. No more do you need to ask for restaurant recommendations on Twitter or Facebook or succumb to garish paid reviews. You can simply build your foodie network by following your friends and other foodies in the city and get expert access to their ratings and reviews. Impressed, curious and impatient, I visited the foodies’ portal and signed in with my Google account. Yes, you can sign in with Facebook too!

How to start and build your foodie network

I was given an option to find or invite my friends. I could do this either through Facebook connect or Google or email. The little glitch I saw here was that finding friends on Google was not possible now, since the application did not bring any results from my Google network. To my sound knowledge, I do have a good amount of friends on Google but my click drew a blank. Nevertheless, inviting friends from Facebook worked fine and is a good foundation to start building your network with.

On the homepage, I clicked on Top Foodies in Pune and was taken to the foodie leaderboard for Pune, featuring the top 25 foodies in Pune with their respective badges. That’s when I realized that I was just at level 1 i.e. foodie, since I hadn’t written reviews. The second level ‘Big foodie’ can be unlocked at 15 reviews and 15 followers. The third level ‘Super foodie’ can be unlocked at 30 reviews and 30 followers which means that a super foodie is double the big foodie. But the kings of this foodies’ network are definitely the ones who have unlocked the fourth level, the ‘Connoisseur’ with 50 reviews and 100 followers. Now that’s a long way for me to be a Connoisseur and get freebies and free meals, courtesy Zomato!

Zomato foodie levels

So can I not just spam the network and plaster my reviews all over the place and become a ‘Connoisseur’? Of course not! Zomato has checks in place for that – your reviews will be moderated and if it is less than 150 words, you might not get credit towards foodie levels. So there – you can’t spam the community.

I quickly followed the Top Foodies in Pune and browsed through the featured reviews and trending restaurants listed by Zomato. Restaurants that have maximum pageviews, top reviews and maximum time spend by users on a weekly basis have a chance to get selected in the trending list. However there are some more features that Zomato considers before listing a particular restaurant but it has not revealed them to prevent spam.

The network also allows you to build an attractive profile page which not only has your profile details along with your picture but also showcases your reviews, favorites, wish list, follows, followed by, etc. in a tabular format. The profile also displays the list of recently visited restaurants and most viewed restaurants by the foodie. To give a better picture, I have captured the profile of Pune’s number one connoisseur- Praveen Grupta.

Praveen Gupta Zoamto

They say curiosity killed the cat but for me, it got me hungry for more. The Zomato foodie network seems to be the grand masterstroke in building an online community of foodies and motivating them to write reviews. This move will not only help people to find quality food and restaurant reviews but will also excite its strong community of 28.5 million foodies to spend quality time on the site. I am impressed the way Zomato has evolved from an online review site to a social network focussed on food. In today’s world when going social is becoming a fad but here is Zomato which has opened up its door and invited its community to take the centerstage. On the other hand, it also provides restaurants to monitor what people are talking about them. However, will Zoamto provide an opportunity to the restaurant owners to talk to the foodies community is a thing that needs to be watched out for.

Does a foodie network motivate you enough to be a part of it?