Boston-based online food ordering and rating service Foodler plans to announce its first international expansion Thursday, launching partnerships with about 150 restaurants in Vancouver.
The 9-year-old company already has grown to cover the entire continental United States, offering takeout from more than 12,000 restaurants, and is ready to venture beyond American borders, said co-founder Christian Dumontet. Canada is a logical fit for Foodler because its time zones mirror those of the United States, he explained.
And: “The weather is not great, which means people stay indoors a lot and order food,” he added.
Foodler’s foray into Canada marks another milestone for the company this year, after it unveiled a new rating system that allows users to score individual dishes, instead of entire restaurants, on a five-star scale. The system helps Foodler distinguish itself from competitors like Yelp and GrubHub by giving diners more specific information about menu items.
Frequent users of Foodler, which is available on desktop browsers and as a free mobile application, receive personalized recommendations, based on their ordering history and which dishes are highly rated at a given restaurant.
Early on, the ratings for Vancouver restaurants will be less meaningful because they will be based on small sample sizes, but Dumontet said the quality of feedback will rise quickly as more Canadians use the service. The company has hired a small sales team to help grow its brand in Canada, with Toronto next on the destination list.
This choreographed launch is a far cry from Foodler’s startup phase in Boston.
“We couldn’t afford to do any advertising,” Dumontet recalled. “We literally went door to door. I stood on Commonwealth Avenue handing out flyers, asking people to order pizza that night. We don’t have to do that anymore.”