Five years ago, Eric Dier wanted you to Eat More Artichoke. Now, he wants you to just find more places to eat.
While his infamous Instagram photo from 2015, pictured above, was reportedly just a way to increase awareness about a London cafe run by one of his friends, Dier is expanding his gustatory presence online by co-founding a new app that promises to help you find new places to eat in your area that are recommended by your friends and acquaintances.
The app, titled Spotlas, has a distinctly Yelp-like feel to it, but while Yelp aggregates restaurant reviews by everyone who uses it and decides to rank a particular eatery, Spotlas is designed to aggregate and recommend restaurants that are liked and rated by your friends in the app. The tagline is “Discover the best spots from your favorite people.”
The app was developed by Dier, his brother Patrick (the same brother for whom Dier charged into the stands to defend after the FA Cup loss to Norwich last spring), and a mutual friend. According to the Evening Standard, the app has an Instagram-like feel and is intended to “reduce the inefficiency” of actually asking your friends and family what restaurants and pubs they like.
The app looks more like a social network, akin to an Instagram, than a TripAdvisor. People set up profiles and follow their friends and family who will post photos about “spots” they’ve visited and loved. Spots can be anywhere in the world, from beaches and hotels to bars and churches. A map feature will allow you to find places near you marked by Spotmojis such as sushi or pizza - a more personalised version of a map pin. The homepage will allow users to save the places they want to visit or plan to return to, and the Discover section will showcase recommendations from accounts they don’t follow.
We are not in the app-recommending business here at Cartilage Free Captain, so this shouldn’t be read as an endorsement in any way. The app likely works much better for those with large social circles and who live in large cities, though you can notably recommend “spots” from anywhere. There’s also some very mild questions about whether it’s appropriate to launch an app that encourages people to gather in public during a global pandemic, though the Standard notes that the app has been in development since 2018.
I wanted to try it out, but the app is iOS only and I’m running an Android phone, unfortuantely. I’ll leave it to others to try it if they wish and post their experiences with it in the comments. New apps like this may take a while to catch on, especially this one as it requires that your friends and family ALSO use the app in order to give you recommendations. That means recruiting people to download and use it, and y’know, while you’re talking you could just ASK your friends what clubs they like in London or wherever.
Eric certainly seems excited about the app launch. He told the Standard that working with his brother has been a fun, if sometimes draining, experience.
“Tech is something we use every day and it’s exciting to have something you’ve created on your phone. We’re really excited about the launch now.
“I think [Eric and his brother] manage it well. Pre-quarantine, when we had meetings about the app they were always at the office and those things make a big difference because we’re in a space where we’re talking about the app. We treat it like a different relationship.”