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Uber uses trip data to recommend popular restaurants

The service's new guide only covers 12 cities right now.
Billy Steele
11.17.16 in Services
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Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images

As you might expect, a lot of Uber riders use the service to get to and from restaurants and bars. Thanks to its customer base, the ride-sharing company has a lot of info on which spots are popular in the cities where it operates. Uber announced this week that its putting all of those trip details to use with a new restaurant guide.

The ranking system divides restaurants into six different categories: most popular, local favorites, up-and-coming, brunch spots, weekend picks and date-night destinations. All of those are pretty self-explanatory and the lists can be viewed on this web page. Unfortunately, that's the only place the guide lives for now, but it's easy to see how this information would be beneficial to users inside the Uber app.

Another issue with the restaurant rankings is that the tool only provides suggestions for 12 cities right now. Riders in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, LA, Miami, Nashville, NYC, Phoenix, Pittsburgh and San Francisco are privy to the purely data-driven guide.

Uber explains that unlike other online services like Yelp that collect user reviews, its rankings rely entirely on trip data rather than personal opinion or expert criticism. We're talking details like number of drop-offs, time of day, type of vehicle and a location that may be trending recently. In other words, you won't be using the Uber's guide to determine which spot serves the best mussels, but it can tell you which places are popular in a particular city.

For now, you'll have to take a look at Uber's picks on the web, but it will be interesting to see if restaurant tips or some other use of the company's data make it to the mobile app. With details on every trip at its disposal, it would be easy for Uber to tackle other topics like hotels, shopping and more in a similar fashion.

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