uOttawa grad launches new dining app

A new Ottawa-based app is finally giving social media savvy diners a practical use for all those pictures they’re taking of their food.

By Marc Shaw

BestYums creator Issam Dalati launched the app earlier this month on both the Android and Apple marketplaces earlier this month, and is focusing on people who post food pictures on platforms like Instagram.

“I was travelling two years ago to Madrid, Spain. I spent lots of time reading blogs and restaurant rankings because I was only there for 6 days and I wanted to have the must-eat food there,” Mr. Dalati said. “I had trouble finding exactly what kind of dishes that I had to try. Most of those restaurant ranking websites don’t give you details about why those restaurants are famous and what dishes those restaurants are famous for.”

BestYums allows people to upload their photos to the app along with a description of the food and a ranking based on their taste, price and appearance. It then calculates an overall rating in order to let people know not only which restaurants are good, but also which dishes are the best at a particular establishment and takes the guesswork out of dining while travelling.

It was developed through a Google startup weekend held at his alma mater, University of Ottawa in 2015. The contest was meant to have several groups competing against one another, but Mr. Dalati ended up participating as a solo contestant.

The strategy worked as BestYums, was the unanimous winner among the judges, which included the likes of Code Cubitt from Mistral Ventures Partners .

“They all agreed that I was first place so I thought to myself that it was a good idea to make it happen. Since then I’ve been working alone,” said Mr. Dalati who has had to wear many hats in order to get his app off the ground. “I do lots of things including programming, I did part of the programming and also hired freelancers to help me get the app finalized.”

BestYums currently does not have its monetization enabled, but Mr. Dalati said he plans to implement the feature as soon as he has garnered a decent sized user base.

In its monetized form, restaurants will pay for a “featured dish” to be displayed at the top of the user’s screen in a different color. This will allow restaurants to prominently feature particular dishes amongst search results that feature their restaurant, giving them the option of providing promotional coupon codes from within the app.