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Forkly app for iPhone helps users discover new eats and drinks

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One of the greatest pleasures in life is discovering a great restaurant, or a new favorite dish. Forkly, a highly polished new app for iPhone, makes it easy to do both at once.

Available free in the iTunes App Store, Forkly lets users find restaurants and bars in their area, and then gives tips about which dishes and drinks are the best at a particular establishment. Users can search for either “food” or “drink” or “food & drink,” within a maximum 25-mile radius of their current location. This may sound nearly identical to FoodSpotting, a popular food-photo-centric app, or a variety of other mobile applications that put their focus on food. And, in some ways, it is. But from our initial tests, it also appears to be one of the best foodie apps available.

Fueling the Forkly database is a flurry of social features, one of which allows users to rate restaurants and menu items as they see fit. Users can “like” a particular meal, “love it,” say it’s “okay,” or just “not for me.” Forkly gathers this information, and then builds a so-called “taste graph” for each user, and serves up menu selections based upon the data.

Users may also leave short reviews of restaurants and their food, and share their reviews on Twitter and Facebook directly from the app. Forkly also lets users “want” particular menu items that are posted to the app, which bookmarks the dish for later reference.

On top of all this, users can also earn “Influence Points” by sharing their food and drink selections with the Forkly community. Users can track their Influence Points, and see who’s checking out their recommendations. Forkly then gives prominent display to “Top Influencers.”

Restaurant owners can also get in on the action with Forkly’s analytics and loyalty rewards offerings, as well as customizable menus. Forkly also says it has plans to offer brand promotion opportunities, which is good for business owners, but potentially annoying for users.

The primary downside to Forkly at this very early stage is that the app is more or less useless until a greater number of people start to post their reviews and favorite dishes and drinks. It’s a problem every app or service that relies on user interaction for its content has faced in the past, so this is by no means a fatal flaw. But it will disappoint early adopters who are mostly looking for a take-but-don’t-give relationship with the app.

Watch a video introduction about Forkly below:

Forkly iPhone App from Forkly App on Vimeo.

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