It's a conversation had everyday: "What do you want to eat? I don't know, what do you want to eat?" Well, a metro-area internet entrepreneur wants to helps folks settle that age-old question with his website Jackson Restaurant Guide (Jacksonrestaurantguide.com).
Jackson Restaurant Guide creator John Dolan knows he has his work cut out for him. His free online directory of local eateries goes head-to-head with the likes of national powerhouses Urbanspoon and Groupon.
However, after his first full year in business it appears there is definitely a place for Dolan's web domain.
"Our reach in 2013 was 3,020,000 hits," Dolan exclaimed.
It is those figures that Dolan uses to encourage restaurants to list on his site. 1,500 restaurants, diners, bars and hole-in-the-walls currently list themselves on JRG.
The site provides users a one-stop shop for promotions, directions and discounts.
"You can go on our website and you can use their promotion right from your phone," Dolan demonstrated. "All you do is show it to them."
While convenient for consumers it also gives restaurant owners real-time data on how their message is being received.
"How many people have hit the site, what pages they've looked at, I have restaurants that want to know how many people have looked at my particular page," Dolan said.
He has duplicated his efforts in other markets, including Hattiesburg and the Gulf Coast with Pinebelt and Gulf Coast Restaurant Guides. While that sounds ambitious enough he said restaurants are just the tip of the iceberg.
"(I) will be taking it to another level very shortly to include retail service, recreation, so it will be increasing very shortly," Dolan said.
As-far-as guides go Dolan's website will ultimately go beyond food and he hopes to have retail and tourism destinations online within a year. When that is up-and-running the additional content will mean a new name for the website which Dolan is not quite ready to announce.