Tonawanda News


June 16, 2013

New app launched to recommend local restaurants

Local restaurant-goers may be tired of going to the same places to eat. But with the swoop of a finger and the click of a button, a mobile app may be just the treat they need.

Nara, a restaurant recommendation website and mobile app, is officially available for use in cities across the United States. Instead of spending time searching for new places to eat, users can get a list of restaurant recommendations in their area that suits their taste. They can, just as quickly, book a table, order food or book a car service.

Tom Copeman, the founder of Nara, created the company three years ago because he was “suffering from the amount of time” it took to search for a place to eat online. He’d rather spend the time actually enjoying dining.

Copeman was inspired by Pandora, a free, personalized radio app, and wanted to build a similar recommendation engine across lifestyle categories, starting with restaurants.

He said the two most important factors of Nara are saving time searching for food and discovering new places to eat.

“I think life is to be discovered, and there’s nothing better than when you can get a different perspective of life and find something new and exiting,” Copeman said. “Nara enables that for you to happen based on what you already like.”

The response so far has been positive, and Copeman is “extremely happy” with the amount of downloads Nara has received, though he says he can’t yet disclose an exact number of users.

The entrepreneur started the company three years ago. He teamed up with Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientists in Boston, Mass., to conduct research and development for two years. He announced the first version of the app, which covered 25 major American cities, in November 2012.

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