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Dhaka is a city of 7 Million people (larger than the population of all of Singapore) with a seemingly no other leisure activity than to eat out at restaurants as seen by the phenomenal growth of the restaurant industry of the city in the last couple of years.
With so many options to choose from it often becomes difficult to find the restaurant that goes perfectly with your context (time of day, cuisine in mind, type of company, ambiance and crowd, price range and location). Harriken is an app that aims to solve this problem that Dhaka-ites have.
Harriken is a lightweight app with a download size of around 8MB. It is buttery smooth and has no animations to come in the way of usage. The pages without major delay and so do the images of the menus. Readability of the menus can sometimes be an issue for some restaurants due to the lower resolution of the menu scans. However, during our time with the app (Nougat 7.1), it has crashed a few times, which is forgivable given the app is still in beta.
The UI is simple, intuitive and has a pinch of zing with cartoons/animations to add character to the app. The attention to detail that has paid is highlighted by the little things such as the #ProudlyMadeinBangladesh hastag on the bottom of the loading screen when you first turn on the app or the little subtitles on the top on list pages.
The database of restaurants is close to being exhaustive but not fully quite yet. Chances are one would not miss out on any of the popular restaurants in their areas. On the off chance that one is looking for a restaurant like Okra (which has been around for almost about a year now), one would unfortunately miss out.
In addition to having a list of all (almost) the restaurants in the city, Harriken also hosts curated lists of restaurants to fit different needs and occasions which many would find very useful. These lists are named “Foodtastic Collections” and they make the app feel more personal and informational.
Features and function
For each restaurant, you get the following features:
- Distance from user’s location
- Contact details
- Cuisine/restaurant type
- Business hours
- Additional services offered like Wi-Fi, acceptance of cards, smoking section etc.
In addition to these features you also get to take a look at the reviews made for the restaurants by Harriken users and a map location of the restaurant. The app also indicates with a sticker whether a certain restaurants offers any loyalty offer from Eastern Bank Limited.
You can also write reviews, recommend it to friends you are following on the app (discussed in detail later), rate or like the restaurant and check-in to a restaurant.
Users can also search for restaurants with the Harriken search (which is supposed to also be available soon online at www.harriken.com) as well using the following criteria: name of restaurant, cuisine type or the name of the food. Users can also filter the results to limit them to a certain location. In addition to these, users can explore nearby restaurants using their current GPS location through the app.
Harriken also brings in the social aspect to its app to create a community of food lovers. You can follow other people on the app and others can follow you. Once you follow someone, you can recommend restaurants to them or check in to restaurants with them.
Areas of improvement
Software optimization: The app crashes often and connects to the GPS more often than is seemingly necessary. At times when the GPS locks on, it stays connected there by draining battery. This happens even when the app is minimized.
Navigation: While users are able to view restaurants on the map the option of navigating to the restaurant or at least opening up the location in Google Maps would have been a good addition.
Sharing restaurants externally: Sharing restaurants to friends via WhatsApp or Facebook from Harriken is not a pleasant experience at all. Sharing a link through Harriken externally only ends up sending location data via Google maps to external parties. Sharing through the app to Harriken users is however a flawless.
Newsfeed: The addition of a newsfeed would have been good as users would be able to see recommendations from a friend to a friend or restaurants liked by friends, etc.
Restaurants outside Dhaka: There are food places just outside Dhaka which are often frequented by food lovers from the city (fish fry from Mawa Ferry Ghat, for example). Inclusion of those places would have been welcome.
Eating out is also gaining popularity in places like Chittagong as well. Including restaurants from major cities outside Dhaka (Chittagong, Narayanganj, Sylhet, Cox’s Bazar, Rajshahi, etc.) would not only help the users native to those cities but tourists and travelers as well.
Updated with promotional offers: Restaurants often have promotional offers running throughout the year, which can be a major deciding factor while choosing restaurants. There should be a provision in the app to address this factor.
Addition of more loyalty programs: Finding EBL affiliation sticker under restaurants was a very pleasant surprise and we think the addition of other loyalty programs from banks such as Standard Chartered, City, etc. and Telcos such as GP, Robi and Banglalink would a appreciated by the users.
Downloaded the app yet? If yes, do let us know your experience below. Hope you have liked our review! We firmly believe this is a great start from the team of Harriken to give us such detailed information on food places in Dhaka and maybe, future cities as well!