Of New York City’s 24,000 restaurants, 1,660 have received a grade of C, putting them in danger of being closed down by the health department. In danger of being closed down, though, means they’re still open and people can still eat there, but who would want to? A new foursquare-based app, DontEat.at, developed by Max Stoller has a simple purpose: warn you when you check in at one of those poorly-rated restaurants on foursquare.
The site couldn’t be simpler. You click the sign in with foursquare button, give it access to your foursquare account and voila, you’re done. It gathers the phone number associated with your foursquare account and sends you a text message to alert you when you’ve checked in at one of those low scoring restaurants.
The data for DonEat.at is based off information from the New York City Health Department, who perform the unannounced inspections at restaurants. Each violation carries a point value. The points are tallied up to compile the restaurant’s score, so the lower the score the better. A score of 13 or better is considered an A, while restaurants scoring 14-27 points are rated a B. Restaurants with more than 28 points receive a C, and receive monthly inspections from the Health Department until they either improve or are shut down for repeated violations.
Stoller, a computer science student at New York University, built the app as part of the NYC BigApps competition. Sponsored by the city, it features $20,000 in prizes for software that helps “New York City become more transparent, accessible, and accountable.” Competing apps must present data from the NYC.gov DataMine in an understandable and usable way to interested users.
I’d say DontEat.at is an incredibly useful application of that data, especially in New York, where foursquare enjoys some of its highest penetration. What do you think of DontEat.at?