Eggplant Parm Hero from NYC’s Parm at The Infatuation HQ

Mobelux Provided:

  • Branding & Identity
  • User Interface Design
  • User Experience Design
  • Front End Web Development
  • Back End Web Development

As part of the Social Media-ing for the launch of our own fanatical food platform, Best Dish, our production lead, Johnny, encountered the #EEEEEATS hashtag. This connected him to a bunch of other like-minded people—those who appreciated delicious food but didn’t want to be too serious about it. In other words, he wasn’t into reading posts tagged with #foodie.

We had discovered—like so many other food fans before us—The Infatuation, a group of food writers who really weren’t food writers. That is, they took a healthy amateur interest in finding a great meal, but they never went through the school of fine French cuisine. The Infatuation had built their brand on trust, pledging never to accept comped meals, become industry insiders, or establish you-scratch-my-back-I’ll-give-you-filet-mignon-for-life relationships with chefs.

The Infatuation’s co-founders: Chris Stang (left) and Andrew Steinthal (right)

So far, The Infatuation was only reviewing restaurants in a handful of cities, including New York and recent expansions into San Francisco, Chicago, and Denver. Their site had been built on Wordpress, and they were skeptical it could scale enough to take them to all the other cities they had their eyes on. Their half million Instagram and Twitter followers were getting ravenous, and it was getting harder and harder to ignore requests to expand. In the words of Co-founder Chris Stang “We needed our web platform to become more useful to our users and readers, and we needed to think about things beyond just reading a restaurant review or guide on a webpage.”

I was impressed with the design and clarity of Best Dish and the idea as a whole, and once that led me to Mobelux, I liked the concept of working with a team that acts as an extension of your own company.

Chris Stang

The Infatuation

Our forays into food and drink discovery platforms: Best Dish (left), Elixr (right)

“I was impressed with the design and clarity of Best Dish and the idea as a whole, and once that led me to Mobelux, I liked the concept of working with a team that acts as an extension of your own company”said Stang. Products like Elixr and Best Dish have not only been fun experiments for us, they’ve been ways for Mobelux to market itself to clients who value the same things we do. The Infatuation is a perfect example—someone who wants to do things differently and who has learned the importance of custom solutions. So when they reached out to us we had a feeling we’d be a good fit.

Killer burgers from The Continental in Richmond, VA

What we did and how we did it.

The first step was building a platform that could scale across the country. Their team found design just as appetizing as a good dish, so we knew we’d fit together aesthetically. They gave us the thumbs up on the design we brought to the table, so we began building.

The key to it all was coming up with a way to add value to their existing model, which was entirely focused on content production. They can drop knowledge about food, but we can create tools that their readership didn’t know they were missing in their lives.

Ratings with Distinction

We took the data The Infatuation had amassed for all of their ratings and determined a new, color-driven ratings scale to depict the good from the bad. With hundreds of reviews now populating search results and new key features such as the platform’s Restaurant Finder, it’s easier than ever to skim views and maps for the best spots.

An animated graph on each review helps to reiterate the new colored rating spectrum

The new animated rating, in-use on a classic Infatuation review

Finding the Restaurants

The heart of that user-facing feature development was the restaurant finder. Using Mapbox and Foursquare APIs, and some fancy new javascript technology (React/Redux), we’ve come up with a really dynamic way to find the right restaurant for whatever mood you’re in. The data source driving this fun feature are the reviews, ratings, and tagging that The Infatuation was already doing.

The Infatuation’s new Restaurant Finder feature

It works like this: you choose your starting point, whether that’s your current location, a particular neighborhood, or even a landmark, and instantly see the best restaurants nearby. Looking for a particular cuisine or style option? No problem, select a “Perfect For” tag or a cuisine type and find exactly what you want.

The list, “Perfect For” tag filter, and map views on mobile

Serving Up the Content

The backend was The Infatuation’s other big gamechanger. They needed more structure than the rich text editor that their existing platform provided. We built them a custom CMS with a post editor built around content blocks. Connecting text, photos, videos, restaurants, quotes, and more in a very dynamic way gave them consistency in their content creation.

Now, The Infatuation doesn’t just have beautiful new virtual digs, they have more functionality (that restaurant picker!) and a solid, custom-built foundation that can carry them into every corner of the country. And, if they want it, maybe even beyond.

A typical unfiltered “All Cities” / “Featured” homepage view—fully customizeable from their new CMS

Future Features

As fast as they dish out new features for us to add, we can keep building them. That’s our favorite part of establishing these kinds of relationships. Still a pretty new startup in an exciting growth phase, The Infatuation can stay focused on creating content, putting it out there, and analyzing the response. “We're driving a lot of new email newsletter sign ups just by putting the form in the right places. Little things can make a big difference. I think having a great restaurant discovery tool on the web will allow us to think about our other products as compliments to that central piece. We can build on top of this as we grow and evolve, and ultimately offer our users several different ways to find great places to eat around the country/world.“

When they’ve got an idea for something new, they know they can just tell us about it, and we’ll get to work. You won’t get anything close to that from one of the mega-big platforms.

The Infatuation has the site they’ve always wanted, and we’ve got another great product out there doing our marketing for us. If you haven’t already, check it out. We’re positive you will be spending a lot of time there.

Rise

Taking a startup to new heights.

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