According to Nielsen numbers, 55 percent of cellphone users who bought a new phone in the past three months purchased a smartphone. And you can bet your apps that many of these new users are choosing where to eat using their smartphones.
Whether you're trying to find the best pork belly or most chill place to grab a beer -- no matter what city you're in -- following are some apps to help.
How it works: Users can create events, make lists of places to try and review restaurants without being solicited. Yelpers can also attain "Elite" status: There is no secret number of reviews to write or check-ins needed to become one of the limited Elite members. Businesses can claim ownership of their page and make sure the information shared on the page is accurate. Users can leave quick tips and upload photos of their visit.
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Available on: Android, Blackberry, iPhone, iPod Touch, Palm Pre, Windows Phone 7
How it works: Foursquare users can check in to businesses of any sort, while earning badges (Super Swarm badges were doled out during South by Southwest, Animal House badges for checking into "frat-boy bars," for example) and mayorships. Restaurant owners can claim business pages and offer specials; Houlihan's offers users a free order of french fries upon checking in. Users can leave tips and upload photos of their visit.
Available on: Android, Blackberry, iPhone, Ovi Nokia, Palm, Windows Phone 7
How it works: Call it Rotten Tomatoes for restaurants. Users can write reviews, upload photos and take advantage of the Like button. Conrad Saam, marketing specialist for Urbanspoon, stresses the convenience of the Like option.
"It's an off-the-cuff number that helps reflect how good a restaurant is," Saam says. The site promotes Prime users, or users who are most active and police the site for "Mom" comments that try to boost a restaurant's approval rating with illegitimate reviews. Saam stresses the benefits for restaurants.
"Owners are embracing the traffic," he says. "They realize the impact this is having on the bottom line, and having that type of pressure means delivering a good product."
Available on: Android, Blackberry OS 6 & 5, iPhone
How it works: Capitalizing on the "Let's-take-photos-of-what-we-eat" movement, Foodspotting users shoot photos with their smartphones and upload directly to the site. The photos are tagged by type of food, restaurant, date and location. Users receive a Twitter-like feed with others' spottings. Spotters can create guides or lists of places they want to try, and restaurants with the best burgers, margaritas and seafood, then publish the guides to their followers publicly. Spotters can create lists of places that they'd like to visit (Want it) and acknowledge other users' photography skills (Great shot!).
Available on: Android, iPhone, Windows Phone 7 and a Blackberry app is in the works
How it works: Food suggestions are all about trust. Dinevore is trying to make that happen with its users as it encourages them to follow respectable sources; lists like "Best Of" or Texas Monthly's "The 63 Tacos to Eat Before You Die" can also be followed. Users can mark places where they have eaten and places they want to try, and make reservations and read reviews.
Available on: iPhone
How it works: Local Dish compiles food-blog content into a free user-friendly app. It was launched July 22. The creators have partnered with food blogs across the nation for the launch and hope to add more content as the app develops.
Available on: iPhone