Social media has been under scrutiny in the past few years for its potential negative effect on mental health and overall well being. Today, a new social media app launched with the aim of being a positive space for users to connect and share their love of food. The app is called Recon Food, and it was created by Spencer Rascoff, the co-founder of Hotwire and Zillow, and his daughter Sophia Rascoff.
Instead of meeting up with loved ones at restaurants to connect over a meal during the pandemic, over this past year we connected over social media by sharing photos of trending recipes like banana bread and whipped coffee. However, there are many other tricky things to navigate through on social media like non-stop news, targeted ads, politics, and controversial topics. The father-daughter Rascoff duo was inspired to develop an app like this because of the many aspects of social media that felt unhealthy, and food was something that brought their own family together during the pandemic.
With the Recon Food app, there are two tracks: restaurants and the home kitchen. Users can post photos of food and drink ordered from restaurants and leave a review, or upload photos of dishes they have created themselves. The app has geolocation, which enables users to tag the location of the restaurant and recommend their favorite dishes. Within the app, users can view a map (powered by Apple) to see where different restaurants are located, which can be helpful for finding new restaurants. Only restaurants that have been reviewed will show up on the map, and because the app is so new, there are currently only a handful of restaurants that pop up.
For those cooking at home, (this option does not allow geolocation), users can also post photos of foods or drinks they have created. The Recon app has computer vision technology that will search a user’s camera roll for food photos, and automatically upload them to the app privately or publicly.
Tradionally, people use platforms like Google or Yelp to view photos and reviews left by other diners to decide on where to eat. This is certainly helpful in making a decision, but a downside to these review platforms is that more often than not, a negative experience is more likely to produce a review. Additionally, it is hit or miss if someone actually recommends particular dishes in their review. With Recon Foods, hopefully, there will be a balanced mixture of honest positive and negative reviews, and more users will feel compelled to recommend dishes they’ve tried at a restaurant.
There are a few other food and restaurant-centric apps available besides Recon Food. Jybe is an app that can currently be used in major U.S. cities that helps conscious consumers see where eco-friendly restaurants are located. Diners that post high-quality restaurant reviews on the SynchroLife app are rewarded with the platform’s own cryptocurrency called SynchroCoin (SYC).