Renzell hopes to disrupt the industry with a big-data approach to ranking high-end restaurants.
by CAROLINE HALLEMANN JUL 27, 2016
Last year, we reported that Renzell, a new restaurant ranking system taking on giants like Michelin and Zagat, was launching in New York City. Now, the app is expanding to two additional dining destinations: Chicago and San Francisco.
Using a hand-selected panel of anonymous, non-industry reviewers, whom the company describes as "regular patrons and connoisseurs at high-end restaurants" (and who pay for their meals out of pocket), Renzell hopes to alleviate their ranking of the "subjectivity, biases, and inaccuracies" of other lists, including the Michelin Guide, the World's 50 Best Restaurants, and Zagat. After dining, the members complete a 60+ question survey about the experience, which is then fed into a proprietary algorithm.
"I think that what we're trying to tackle is what we see as the two dominant problems with restaurant ratings," said founder Bo Peabody. "One the one hand, you have Michelin which is plagued by gross subjectivity. It's a couple of people who are visiting a restaurant a couple of times. On the other side of the spectrum you have the Yelp problem, which is too many people, many of whom are unqualified, and some of whom might not even be real people. So we're trying to do something in between, which is to have a large enough group of people that we can get a statistically relevant number of experiences from a bunch of different types of people on different days."
In short, they're applying data science to the restaurant world.
The company also makes its survey, methodology, and data available to the restaurants it ranks, in a gesture of transparency.
The ranking launched in New York with 54 restaurants pre-selected by the founding teams. And again, 54 seems to be the magic number in both Chicago and San Francisco. The two lists have already been "highly scrutinized and vetted in advance of being surveyed by Renzell Members," according to the company, and restaurants must be open for a minimum of two years to even be considered for the list.
Members have already started evaluating venues in Chicago and San Francisco—find the full list of establishments below—but we'll have to wait a little over a year for the results. Renzell plans to release its official rankings every September, beginning with New York this fall.
Chicago Renzell Restaurants
Bavette's Bar and Boeuf
Dusek's Board and Beer
Fulton Market Kitchen
Girl and the Goat
Homestead on the Roof
La Sirena Clandestina
Maude's Liquor Bar
Owen and Engine
Table, Donkey, and Stick
The Boarding House
San Francisco Renzell Restaurants
1601 Bar and Kitchen
Flour and Water
Ichi Sushi and Ni Bar
Sons and Daughters
State Bird Provisions
Twenty Five Lusk