What Do You Crave?

Many of my decisions find their origins in cravings, mostly in terms of food. Sometimes my cravings hit me hard and fast–popcorn, cake, Indian food, cucumbers, sushi.

But sometimes I find myself sitting at my desk at work in the evening, knowing that I’m craving something, but the craving is just out of my reach. I can’t identify it. That happens all the time, really.

I end up either (a) going home and eating whatever I have or (b) wondering aimlessly through the grocery store until I stumble upon the item of my affection. The former is rarely completely satisfying, and that latter is quite inefficient and doesn’t guarantee results.

So.

I’d like to introduce the idea of cravelist.com.

Cravelist is a web app (or an phone app, if you’re fancy) that helps you determine what you’re craving. I think the site could work for more that just food, but let me explain how it would work with food here.

You go to the site and given a series of options and questions that help you realize what you’re craving. I could see this working in a number of ways, but one such way would be for you to be presented by photos several different food types on the main page; say, desserts, entrees, salads, snacks. You choose one and then are given some other options: sweet, salty, small, big, etc.

Of course, the site gets smarter the more you (and other people) use it. It starts to recognize your cravings, eliminating things that you never crave and pushing things that you often crave up to the top of the hierarchy. It also culls data from other users to expedite the process for everyone using the site.

It’s free. But I think the site could generate revenue from the results. Say you’ve determined that your craving is for chicken Parmesan. When you reach that conclusion, you can enter your current location and the site shows you where in the area you can get chicken Parmesan. Restaurants could pay to have theirs be the featured dish in that area or offer coupons on the site to entice you to choose them. And it’s not limited to restaurants–if you feel like cooking, the site could pull up a well-received recipe from epicurious.com and feature certain brands of tomato sauce or nearby grocery stores.

The crowdsourcing could really help when your result is determined–say, for example, the site helps you discover that you’re craving a burger, and it suggests Liluma as the place to go. But you already know that your favorite burger is found at Seamus McDaniel’s. So you tell that to the site, and that information may help someone who hasn’t tried burgers from Seamus.

I see a lot of elements of this site that could work–it’s fun, it’s quick, and you’re rewarded every time you go to the site. What do you think? What am I not considering? What would make it work better?

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