Introducing the Tinder of Dining: Chicago-based Sugr matches you with food places you’ll love

If you live in a metropolitan area, picking the next best place to have lunch or dinner can be rather difficult. Do you want spicy or sweet? Are you looking to eat earlier in the day or later? Do you prefer to have a reservation when you walk in? Chicago-based startup Sugr wants to make dining experiences a little less indecisive and more tailored to your preferences.

“The incredible access to information that we have today sometimes makes the simplest decisions take way too long,” said Ruben Flores-Martinez, CEO and founder of Sugr. The discovery service uses machine learning to give users tailored results. The app also takes into consideration where people within your network are eating. “It’s basically a very simple neural network. The more you use it, the better it gets at predicting what you’ll like.”

Sugr has an array of neat features. Once a venue has been selected, you will have the option to hail an Uber. You can invite friends and family to the venue you’re planning to visit, should you wish to be in company. An option is also available to pay via Apple Pay, subject to if the venue has enrolled in this payment method. The app also doesn’t publish written reviews, a design feature that was intentional. “The power of online reviews leads to a lot of negativity. Instead, we want to validate preferences based on what your peers are doing. What my wife thinks is a lot more important than what a random stranger on the internet thinks. So we weigh recommendations based on what people in your networks are doing,” Flores-Martinez added. We wanted to create a very smart product that could easily understand your personality, the things you like and connect with, and help you make those decisions better and faster.

The service is pro-small business, as Sugr does not include major chains in its recommendations. However, its founder said “we want to create incentives that are sponsored by major brands, but are redeemable at local businesses.”

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