The 5 of us gathered in our summer sublet’s living room (furnished lavishly with our $25 Walmart tables) and thought, “what facet of life could we try to improve with technology?” One of us shouted out, “What about Tinder swiping for food?”

“What do you mean?” Another one responded.

“Well, when you want to order food, pretty much your best option is something like Grubhub. In a typical case, you have to call the restaurant directly. The process takes time and people tend to be indecisive about a menu’s option, since you’re typically given more than 50 items to choose from. What if we took out the hard work and made the process super simple? Instead of looking at a long menu, you’d get meals in the form of cards, similar to Tinder. You can swipe left or right or save, and that’s it. If you want it, swipe right to customize, choose delivery or pickup, and BOOM!” Everything would be location based as well, so dineR could be your one stop app for ‘I want food now.’

What it does

With dineR, our goal was to build on the success of Tinder's swipe formula to drastically reduce the time it takes to order a meal as well as eliminate the element of indecision associated with choosing your dining options. While there are many food ordering options available, no solution gives you the ability to order a meal extremely quickly. We wanted to build on the success of Tinder - replacing myriad options with small binary decisions. With dineR, you can swipe with Tinder like functionality to choose a meal you’d like right now. You are immediately shown options from restaurants that are open and will deliver to your location. You swipe left if you want to order the meal presented to you, or swipe right if you don’t like what you see. All you have to do is confirm any modifications to the order (extra pickles, tomatoes, meat options, etc) as well as choose delivery vs pickup. That’s it!

How we built it

We used Meteor as our application framework. Meteor is a full stack JavaScript (built on top of NodeJS) approach to creating apps, and it’s awesome! You get tons of features for free with Meteor -> app reactivivity, web sockets, an amazing package community for stuff like user authentication and tables. We used React as the front end Javascript framework, and Ionic for building the mobile view.

Challenges we ran into

React! I think we still don’t fully understand this.props! But also, we decided to built an admin console to show the ‘restaurant facing’ side of our app, and since our main swiping app was built with Ionic, we had to spin up another separate Meteor app with a typical web app view. We also wanted orders to come in to the admin console as soon as a user would swipe right, forcing us to hack a way for both apps to connect to the same MongoDB database.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Wiring everything together was very fun! We also really enjoyed mapping out the entire storyboard for the app. It was really cool to see an idea evolve from idea to a coded implementation.

What we learned

None of us knew ReactJS. Most of us new have never used Meteor. Those of who were familiar with Node and Meteor helped out the others who were diving in for the first time. There’s a lot to learn about Javascript apps, but we feel it’s the future (especially React) and a great opportunity to learn a lot.

What's next for dineR

We want the experience to only improve as the user uses the app more often. This means doing things like adding machine learning features to the app, so we can learn from the user’s preferences.

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