We realized how difficult it can get sometimes to be able to plan meals with a bunch of friends, as there are always conflicting schedules and reservation issues that prevent from a well coordinated plan to occur. We wanted to solve this by being able to help groups of friends plan meals and make reservations using the OpenTable API.
What it does
We built a mobile app that helps groups solve this problem. It allows the user to plan a meal or join a meal where they have gotten an invite to. Then they are prompted to enter the times when they are free, and also the kind of cuisine they would like to eat. Our app then consolidates the times and suggests a restaurant list to help to choose from, based on reservation availability, preferences and reviews.
How we built it
We built majority of the frontend using expo.io and react-native as it allowed us create robust mobile apps, and built the backend in express.js, which implemented a distant algorithm to select a restaurant that was within 10 miles of the current location of all members of the party, and then ranked the restaurants based on preferences and reviews.
Challenges we ran into
Dealing with queries and parsing through large and complex json data became a challenge for us, to filter out the restaurants that fit our criteria. We were using the Fetch API to deal with queries and often ran into trouble to parse through the data, and be able to filter out what we want. As beginner hackers, being able to learn and employ these technologies in the short time frame was a challenge, but became our biggest learning point in this hackathon too.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We were able to develop parts of the GUI and workflow of the app, as well as majority of the backend algorithms that would be used to rank the restaurants for the user. We are proud that we were able to learn the technologies that we had never seen before and employ them in our solutions.
What we learned
We learnt immensely throughout the whole project. All of us started with software and APIs that we were entirely unfamiliar with, to learn a new skill that will be beneficial for us in the future. Through this challenge we learnt and got more insight into the process of ideation and product building through a team's perspective, giving insight into the industry functioning.
What's next for Meet to Dine
We would like to fix all the lose ends and make the logic of our app be 100% functional, and then develop a more robust and seamless GUI. We would then further try to integrate other services that a group would want to enjoy together, such as movies and events, allowing for a event planning app that provides all the resources in one place, and provides suggestions to the group. We would then like to employ Machine Learning to give each group or individual more personalized feedback, to make each meal and gathering more special and less of a hassle to plan.