Startupland has been a big supporter of the techification of foodie culture: Foodspotting and Gojee being two local examples . While the newly-launched Real Cheap Eats may be light on tech, its commitment to Lean Startup principals seems like enough to qualify for the club.
From idea to launch in two weeks with zero funding are stats any techie would be proud of. Although Betabeat might be biased because we just discovered the intriguing “cow foot soup” is being served steps from our front door.
In an interview on Food and Tech Connect, blogger James Boo explains that the idea came out of a panel at the Food 2.0 event.
Real Cheap Eats is a content platform as an alternative to “food discovery” apps. Unlike say New York magazine’s Cheap Eats issue, which quickly veers into pricey territory if you forgo the one discounted item on the menu, it focuses not just on new offerings, but dishes that cost $10 or less at places around that price point.
It also incentives collaboration with food blogger by not being a content farm:
“Real Cheap Eats is not a content aggregator. We have a brand built on collaboration, not on the power of an established brand to re-tweet the world or entice bloggers to give up their work for free. Zagat is currently asking bloggers to contribute original content for them in exchange for “exposure.” Citysearch launched a cheap eats site three years ago (to which I contributed); it died within a year because it was little more than a referral page to Citysearch. Bigger brands and publications have been extracting the efforts of independent food bloggers without a very compelling effort of their own long enough.”
It was also built with an eye toward usability:
“In producing Real Cheap Eats I put mobile usability at the top of our list. With zero resources to build a native app, my two front-end developers spent less than two days building an adaptive display that changes according to the size of your browser. When you load the site on an iPhone or Android phone, CSS3 media queries tailor the size and form of the site to the size of your screen, giving you more touch-friendly navigation and freedom from scroll bars. You can see this change take place instantaneously by reducing the size of the browser window on a notebook or desktop computer.”
Developers, take heed, Mr. Boo says while the content will always be free on the web, “I’m looking into options for building a full-fledged application, which at the very least would allow users to cope with the fact that the New York Guide will have something like 300 entries in the summer of 2012.”
In the meantime, we’re gonna try to convince @ADRjeffries that cow foot soup is totally vegetarian friendly since you don’t actually have to eat the foot.