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NANY 2010 Release: Open Menu

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NANY 2010 Entry Information
Name Open Menu Version v1.0 Short Description Providing a single format for restaurant menus so they can be easily shared, searched and used. Web Page System Requirementsn/aVersion History
* initial releaseAuthor Veign

By providing a single, controlled specification for restaurant menus Open Menu Format will ensure that restaurant menus can be easily shared and used by others. From Restaurant Locators based on a menu item to tools for finding restaurants based on what you're looking to spend, Open Menu provides the foundation for such tools.


* A single, consistent specification to fully and wholly describe a restaurant and its menu items.
* Website for information on the specification, access to add your menu to the database and sample projects using the database.
Planned Features

* Firm up the specification based on feedback to strive for a 99% coverage of restaurant menus
* Release tools using the Open Menu Database called the Open Menu Search.  This will allow people to Locate a restaurant by searching for a menu items you're interested in.  For example, locate a restaurant within 30 miles of your location which is serving chocolate cake for desert.

Please don't be shy about posting your comments on this.

Wow, this is a super cool idea! My girlfriend actually works at a restaurant and I've worked with her on their menu design, OpenTable registration, take-out ordering system, and other things, so this subject is somewhat familiar (and of interest) to me. I love the idea of standardizing it all.

My main question is what exactly this NANY entry is. Is it the format specification, the website, an app to edit the menus and save in an open format, or all 3?

I'm also curious how are you going to encourage participation in this by restaurants? This could be a great success if there is sufficient incentive, but without that buy-in it's really going nowhere.

I see right off that it's another way to promote their restaurant, in theory (assuming the site gets popular), but I think if you offer some additional services (which you may already have planned), it could probably be a lot more attractive, e.g. allow restaurants to embed their open menu listings on their website really easily, with easy management through the open menu site, keeping their site menu and the open menu site listing in sync.

For the future a way to actually create templates that can turn into printable menus would be fantastic and probably a very desirable future. A lot of restaurants have trouble keeping their web menu, take-out/to-go menu, and print menu in sync. If you could provide a single, easy to use system for managing restaurant menus in full, with functions to embed on websites, search, and print in high quality with some decent formatting, that would be outstanding. I realize of course that a formatting system would be complex to implement, but I've worked with one that seemed fairly adequate that I think could mostly be translated to the web very easily.

Anyway the other nice thing about this of course is that the format is open, so even if you don't do all the above, someone else should be able to. Just keep your DB standard open, create an API as soon as you can, and let people run with it.

More feedback as I think of it. I'm really looking forward to seeing this evolve!

- Oshyan

The Nany project is the specification/website - mouser suggested I enter it.

The goal for me is to create and maintain the specification for which all menus are stored on a website.  Then have a database of all the OMF files.  The database would be freely available so anyone could generate a website/tool from the database, given that the menus will be standardized.  I think the tools will come since projects could easily generate traffic, and thus money, for people willing to build the tools.

I am going to get it going by entering menus from around my city and create the first tool to show off what an OMF database powered website/tool can do.

I really don't want to 'hold onto' anything but the specification.  This is why the database will be freely available.

The adoption process is going to be extremely difficult since I don't have the funds to market or hire people to really push this.  I figure if I build the tools to work with OMF files and projects to show off what can be done then restaurants will start adopting the file on their website.

I'm shocked nobody ever tried to standardize the storage and structure of restaurant menus.

Also, JavaJones,
Your excitement is why I did this. I thought once you had a database with say 10000 menus there are so many cool tools and projects that could be created.  I have many in my head but no time to create them.  Create the spec, make it so anyone can access the database, create a base others can earn money from and the tools will come - that's my thought at least.

I think the NANY concept is suitable for new web sites like this.


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