New Restaurant Ranking System Renzell Expands to Chicago and San Francisco

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.