Dinevore.com, a New York food-ranking site launching next month, aspires to be the “Rotten Tomatoes of restaurants,” founder Jeremy Fisher told Grub Street. The site aggregates reviews from Michelin, New York, the New York Times, the New York Post, Bloomberg, Gayot, and Time Out, and a weighted average, or “Dinescore,” is applied to each restaurant based on reviews.
The site will contain excerpts from and links to reviews, Fisher said. Dinevore users can agree or disagree with reviews. The more users agree with a particular critic, the heavier that critic is weighed. Though the concept of assigning numerical values to restaurants based on external criteria has more in common with NBC’s Feast Rank, Fisher considers Urban Spoon and Yelp to be his competitors. Feast has “metascores but are focused primarily on breaking restaurant news,” Fisher told Grub Street. “We think it’s great that they’re helping to familiarize restaurant-goers with the concept of a metascore.”
Feast’s algorithm and source list is a “state secret,” according to the website, which concedes that “prime-time mentions, such as a big newspaper review, can swing Feast Rank significantly,” while “smaller mentions signal buzz and impact scores temporarily.”
Feast’s ranking system is more sophisticated than simply a compilation of reviews, said founding editor Ben Leventhal. “The Feast Rank extends far beyond the relatively small set of ‘usual suspects’ and critics who have traditionally had a great deal of control around the public perception of restaurants,” he told Grub Street via e-mail. “It changes in real time.” Leventhal’s working on “a dramatically different evolution of the Feast, including important changes to how we present the Feast Rank,” he added.
Dinevore.com is currently password protected. Curious Grub Street readers should send an e-mail to request preview access.