Congratulations to RestaurantRep for winning the Factual Developer Contest at LA Startup Weekend.  The RestaurantRep team went from an idea to a working product in just 48 hours.  What’s even more amazing, is that they were able to sign up six restaurants as customers before their final pitch Sunday night.

Briefly, RestaurantRep is an online dashboard for restaurant owners that allows them to measure and track the online health of their restaurant across social media and other sites.  Part of their secret sauce is a proprietary algorithm for measuring online health that takes into account Factual’s restaurant ratings, social engagement on social media sites, as well as ratings and reviews from popular online review sites.  Restaurant owners can also see how they rank compared to other restaurants in their area, and set goals for improving their online reputation. RestaurantRep even provides custom recommendations of steps owners can take to boost their score.

We had a chance to sit down with RestaurantRep team member Asbed Kassis following their Startup Weekend pitch Sunday night.

Factual: Can you tell us about your StartupWeekend project?
Asbed:
This weekend we built RestaurantRep.  It allows you to take the social review aspect of your restaurant as well as your social engagement on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to create an online health monitor that gives you a 360 degree view of how your restaurant is doing online.  

F: Where did the idea for RestaurantRep come from?
A:
I have a lot of friends who own restaurants.  In the presentation we showed a case study about a friend of mine, Sean.  Everything we said about him was true.  He is a real person with a real restaurant and his pain of having to manage his online reputation is something that I have heard a lot of people complain about.  So we decided to build something to address that pain point.

F:
Why did you decide to use Factual?
A:  
We hit one point over the weekend when we were really worried that what we wanted to do could not be done, but with Factual’s API and data we were able to pull it off.  Now we’re looking forward to the next steps.

F: What are the next steps for RestaurantRep?
A:
We’ve already integrated with Factual’s Restaurant and Crosswalk APIs, and we’d like to use that data to help integrate with other services like CityGrid, Facebook, and Twitter.  We’ve also already started talking with one of the other teams here this weekend about a potential partnership.

 

API Integration

RestaurantRep used two of our APIs to help build their app, our Restaurants API and Crosswalk API.  During their demonstration, RestaurantRep showed how restaurant owners can sign up for the service, search for their restaurant, and then select it to create their restaurant dashboard.  This type of search can be accomplished by passing the search term (the name of the restaurant), and a city or locality to our API, as shown in the following query:

http://api.v3.factual.com/t/restaurants-us/read?
   q=Mediterranean+Cafe
    &filters={
        "locality":"Pasadena"
    }
    &KEY=[your key]

Below is some of the data that gets returned for the top matching restaurant.

{
factual_id: "19c77f13-b043-4250-87e6-26b2bc9748f4",
name: "Mediterranean Cafe",
address: "273 Shoppers Ln",
locality: "Pasadena",
region: "CA",
postcode: "91101",
attire: "casual",
category: "Food & Beverage",
cuisine: "Mediterranean",
founded: "2001",
latitude: 34.141354,
longitude: -118.1314895,
price: "1.0",
rating: "4.5",
seating_outdoor: true,
tel: "(626) 793-8844",
website: "http://www.kokosmediterraneancafe.com/"
...
},

RestaurantRep then uses this information to pre-populate an online dashboard. In addition, RestaurantRep uses our Crosswalk API to pull in information from other online services. To query Crosswalk, all you need to do is pass the Factual ID of the restaurant returned in the last query.

http://api.v3.factual.com/places/crosswalk?
    factual_id=19c77f13-b043-4250-87e6-26b2bc9748f4
    &KEY=[your key]

Crosswalk then returns the IDs and URLs of other online services for that restaurant. Below is a sample of some of the results that get returned.

{
factual_id: "19c77f13-b043-4250-87e6-26b2bc9748f4",
namespace: "allmenus",
namespace_id: "277013",
url: "http://www.allmenus.com/ca/pasadena/277013-mediterranean-cafe/info"
},
{
factual_id: "19c77f13-b043-4250-87e6-26b2bc9748f4",
namespace: "citysearch",
namespace_id: "",
url: "http://losangeles.citysearch.com/profile/235406/pasadena_ca/mediterranean_cafe.html"
},
{
factual_id: "19c77f13-b043-4250-87e6-26b2bc9748f4",
namespace: "facebook",
namespace_id: "120508767966318",
url: "http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mediterranean-Cafe/120508767966318"
},
{
factual_id: "19c77f13-b043-4250-87e6-26b2bc9748f4",
namespace: "foursquare",
namespace_id: "4ab91981f964a520ff7d20e3",
url: "https://www.foursquare.com/venue/4ab91981f964a520ff7d20e3"
},
{
factual_id: "19c77f13-b043-4250-87e6-26b2bc9748f4",
namespace: "urbanspoon",
namespace_id: "",
url: "http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/5/71107/restaurant/LA/Mediterranean-Cafe-Pasadena"
},
{
factual_id: "19c77f13-b043-4250-87e6-26b2bc9748f4",
namespace: "yelp",
namespace_id: "Rz_EYBuygGYz-xCRZ7042g",
url: "http://www.yelp.com/biz/mediterranean-cafe-pasadena"
}
...

Crosswalk currently supports over 45 services, and the list continues to grow.

Conclusion

Congratulations again to the RestaurantRep team and to all the teams who participated at StartupWeekend LA.  Also a big thank you to Coloft and the rest of the sponsors who helped make Startup Weekend happen. To start building your own applications on top of Factual data, sign up for an API key and visit our Restaurants and Crosswalk documentation.