With over 220 restaurants opening in Denver last year alone, choosing one spot for dinner can be a bit of a hassle. In the age of technology, patrons often reach out to the internet—through Yelp, Facebook, or our various dining sites—to help filter through myriad concepts. However, in a cluttered media universe full of subjective and often biased reviews, it can be difficult to know who to trust. Instead of combing through it alone, let Renzell do it for you.
Launched in New York in Fall 2015, Renzell is changing the way restaurants are rated. The app bridges the gap between the chef grading system of the Michelin Guide and the people’s views of Yelp with data-driven responses. Unlike most restaurant apps, Renzell members are regular patrons and connoisseurs of the restaurant scene. These diners provide feedback through a comprehensive survey, which utilizes a proprietary algorithm to remove bias and one-off reviews, in order to create an accurate assessment of each restaurant. The system currently has more than 6,000 members and is active in 11 cities, including Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and now Denver/Boulder.
Here’s how it works: Renzell members fill out a comprehensive survey of over 70 questions after dining out, which rates their experience on eight key characteristics, including food, hospitality, vibe, and even wine. The reviews are then weighted against member preferences through the app’s algorithm—which helps weed out subjectivity and bias—producing the most accurate overall score of a restaurant. Although users are visiting restaurants on their own dime, members are invited to attend free experiences in and around Renzell restaurants.
The restaurants also go through an extensive selection process. “We went through an exhaustive, 18-month research process where we decided on 32 criteria that we thought made up the entirety of how to assess a great restaurant,” says Renzell founder Joe Peabody. After a thoughtful surveying process, the app currently has 54 Denver/Boulder restaurants on the roster, including high-end options like Frasca Food & Wine and ChoLon, and well as more casual dining experiences like Los Chingones and Comida. The official ratings for Denver/Boulder will be published in May 2017.
By Morgan Carter, Editor