PA Food + Travel Tech Start-Up Unveils "Course Restaurant Guide", Wins Hospitality Industry Pitch Competition in NYC

Published: Jun. 29, 2022 at 8:09 AM EDT

BROOKLYN, N.Y., June 29, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Allentown, Pennsylvania based food + travel tech start-up Hawser unveiled "Course Restaurant Guide" to hospitality industry leaders, visionaries and investors at Indie Cultivate: An event series, hosted by the Independent Lodging Congress.

Josh Sapienza | Course Restaurant Guide Founder & Winner of 2022 ILC INDIE Cultivate Seed-Round...
Josh Sapienza | Course Restaurant Guide Founder & Winner of 2022 ILC INDIE Cultivate Seed-Round Pitch Competition at Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn,NY. Right: Jessica Hays of Tambourine, Pres. HSMAI Boston. Right: David Millili of NYU Hospitality Innovation Hub. Far Right: Andrew Benioff of Independent Lodging Congress(PRNewswire)

"Delivering genuine hospitality begins with seeing each guest as a unique individual with individual needs and unique preferences."

The event series described by emcees Andrew Benioff and Bashar Wali as 1/3 TED talk, 1/3 SXSW and 1/3 ALIS Conference incorporates a Shark Tank-style pitch competition which Hawser's Founder, Josh Sapienza won as best seed-stage startup.

Course Restaurant Guide matches you with restaurants that suit your personal taste and organizes your lists of the places you want to try or have tried, and don't want to forget.

Unlike restaurant recommendation resources like Yelp, TripAdvisor, The Infatuation or OpenTable that recommend restaurants based on what's hot or popular in a given city; Course takes a more personalized approach to recommendations by utilizing deep machine learning to understand it's members' preferences and then calculating each person's individual compatibility with restaurants and bars so that they can eat (and drink) like a local everywhere.

Is personalizing restaurant recommendations an entirely new concept? No. Not by a long shot. But those who have already demonstrated success, e.g., The Infatuation, Google, Trip Advisor and Ness Computing (purchased by OpenTable) have built their recommendation platforms with editorialized content or a heavy reliance on what "other people think" (i.e., public reviews and social media activity) which was groundbreaking 5-10 years ago in the "pre-bot browsing era" and long before social media activity (i.e., Likes, Shares and Comments) were monetized or charitably doled out in an effort to manipulate algorithms for greater exposure.

"We understand that taste is personal and because of the phenomenon known as 'Audience Effect' - we've found our anonymous first-party granular data to be the most reliable, informative and immediately actionable data out there." - Josh Sapienza, Founder

After creating a profile, you're asked to privately rate 20 of the restaurants you already know and to take a series of fun food quizzes. The app gradually learns more about your specific taste and displays a range of emoji faces that reflect your personal compatibility with different restaurants.

Sapienza is seeking seed funding to finance further developing Course into the perfect digital companion for the food-loving lifestyle traveler which includes the integration of a social component and a lodging plug-in.

Social influencers on TikTok, Instagram and even local restaurants groups on facebook have been giving restaurants with smaller marketing budgets more exposure over the last few years but Sapienza says: "There's still a lot more we can do to support those lesser known restaurants and bars that not only contribute significantly to the streetscape in their respective communities but also offer visitors unique and memorable experiences.  That's our main focus - streamlining the guest's discovery experience as time and finances become increasingly limited."

You can learn more about Course Restaurant Guide by visiting their website: or watching this 60sec video:

Media contact: Josh Sapienza,

Course Restaurant Guide Home Screen. Course's advanced deep learning software calculates your...
Course Restaurant Guide Home Screen. Course's advanced deep learning software calculates your compatibility with restaurants and bars based on your own personal preferences and then displays a range of emoji faces on the location pins that correspond to your compatibility with each respective outlet.(PRNewswire)

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