Ever have problems deciding where to go out to eat? Hngry, a dining suggestion engine, launched today and may be able to help you out. According to the founder of hngry, who remains somewhat anonymous:
"Hngry was built to solve a problem that I and my girlfriend have… not being able to figure out where to eat, especially when we’re already hungry. I figured that a lot of other people had the same problem, so here hngry is."
The site asks you to sign-in and pull together your favorite menus from local restaurants and enter them into hngry. The site then asks you questions as to what type of food you would like to eat and then spits out dining suggestions.
I have been waiting a couple of weeks for hngry to launch. I figured it would be food related but was not sure on the details quite yet. In creating an account and logging I found hngry to present couple of very simple functions. A users enters data on a restaurant and then has access to that data online to such on later for dining suggestions. I think it is a good idea and runs very much in parallel to TeamSportsBars.com a Ning application I launched a few weeks ago. The difference between the two sites though is that TeamSportsBars.com is focused solely on finding a place to cheer on your favor sports team that teams' local hangout and hngry offers dining suggestions. In my experiences with TeamSportsBars.com I have found that it can be difficult to get users to sign up and contribute. I could see hngry encountering the same hurdle. For example, I just search my condo for a local restaurant menu to enter in the information and it is currently the only restaurant that is available to suggest so it will take some time to build up the data.
In hindsight, with both hngry may have wanted to shopped the idea around to a few bloggers to beta test so that there was more data available prior to the launch today (March 11, 2006). I did this but still had data entry buy-in issues. I think hngry could be useful if users entered enough data but in the meantime, I would suggest hngry look into getting data dumps of some basic Yellow Page data for several of the larger cities. Users could then be offered some suggested restaurants to choose from and add to their dining portfolio. According to the hngry blog there are plans in the works to offer a bookmarklet to enable easier restaurant entry. So that could help with building up the data. Additionally, I think that hngry could benefit by adding and leveraging some other web 2.0 elements, like syndication feeds among other things.