Lets be honest: If you're looking to eat seriously good food, you're going to want to go where the chefs go. ChefsFeed, the website billing itself as the "Anti-Yelp" within the restaurant reviews space, is hoping to guide the younger, hipper clientele into that exact direction.
Today, the San Francisco-based company launched a new version of its mobile app and website, which now operates in over 50 cities nationwide, as well as in Canada and the U.K. Founded in 2011, the platform was started by brothers and former food publicists Steve and Jared Rivera.
ChefsFeed aims to do away with the negative energy in the reviews space. Its extensive network of 1,200 chefs publish reviews of dishes and restaurants they dig. Here's the kicker: there's no negativity -- only positive reviews are welcomed.
The four-year-old company landed $5 million in venture capital this year in February, and according CEO Rich Maggiotto, the majority of that money went into revamping its platform to target millennial eaters. "The millennial audience is spending more money eating out than any other generation," he said. "Food has become social currency [for them]."
Food startups, he adds, should be harnessing that spending power.
Maggiotto has a point. According to IBIS World, restaurants are still trying to chase the purchasing power of millennials by considering culturally diverse appetites. For the first time ever, Americans are spending more on dining out than they are on groceries, says recent data from the Department of Commerce. Other studies also suggest that young consumers, between the ages of 25 and 34, are increasingly willing to spend on eating out.
Spending ultimately racks up, but one misconception about chefs is that they tend to eat at high-end, fancy spots that are more expensive. Not so true, according to Maggiotto. In fact, after joining the company as chief executive in 2014, he noticed that most chefs on the platform weren't recommending dishes from fancy or fine-dining restaurants that are bound to serve quality, Michelin-starred food (i.e., New York's Per Se or California's French Laundry). Instead, they were nodding to young and edgier locations, like taco trucks.
With that observation, ChefsFeed rebranded accordingly with hopes of winning over the younger crowd. Whereas the previous logo displayed a white chef's coat in an orange background, the new design resembles the famous Rolling Stones logo and has a tongue that laps at users when the app is opened. (Classy!)
Users may peruse the site and apps to watch videos, read about trending dishes and food articles written by chefs. They can also use ChefsFeed's geo-locator to learn about the top-recommended dishes and restaurants within proximity to their current location.
The new version goes beyond just a product redesign. The company also launched a parody of Jimmy Kimmell’s "Celebrity Mean Tweets," but in a "chef's version," where popular chefs read mean reviews about their restaurants on camera -- and get the opportunity to jab back at the haters.
Although Maggiotto would not disclose its revenues, he estimate that the company has clocked roughly one million installs for its iOs and Android apps since launching. Like many free apps,ChefsFeed makes its money through native advertisements and marketing partnerships with brands like Uber and Virgin America.
As the food industry becomes more saturated and popular, young consumers will be the target brands want to go after. After all, says Maggiotto, "Food is the new rock n' roll, and chefs are the new rock stars."