Over the last few weeks, Resy has released what we consider the first major update to our core browsing and discovery UI, adding a series of progressive filtering options to the app’s List View and allowing users to use the Map View much more easily to search by neighborhood or other geographic area. With more than 200 restaurants on the platform, these improvements were long overdue. The delay?
Restaurant discovery on the web is deeply flawed. Generally, the idea is, “We are going to show you everything we’ve got and a bunch of boilerplate filters.” The problem with this approach is that it often whittles a long useless list down to a shorter useless list. For example, searching for “Best Chinese” in “10065” yields 519 results on Yelp. Adding “Szechuan” as a filter gets the list to 10, of which zero are viable options. Szechuan, a placebo filter, doesn’t matter. If you search for “Chinese” near “Lincoln Center”, you’ll get options in Kansas.
Meanwhile, when you ask a human for a restaurant recommendation, it’s a very different kind of filtering process. First, people are always passively pruning their “search results” list, because few of us can easily recall more than a few hundred places. The ones we do remember are the ones that matter. Second, friends can unfold the narrative in a query and apply context. If it’s nice out, then Outside or Inside in incredibly material; but not if it’s raining. The exercise is fluid.
This is how restaurant discovery on the web should work—and how it will on Resy. We’re never going to have all of the restaurants, just the great ones. Then, given the right filters, in the right order (Inside/Outside, Early/Prime/Late), we’ll get you to where you want to be. Take it for a spin and let us know what you think!