FAQs
How do I cancel my membership ?

To cancel your membership and avoid further charges from your iphone, go to "Settings" and open your subscription settings, select "Course Restaurant Guide" and choose "Cancel Subscription".

To cancel your membership and avoid further charges from your Android phone or Web app, tap on the burger (⌸) in the upper right hand corner of the screen, go to your profile page in the app, scroll to the bottom and select "Manage Membership". 
You will be taken directly to the subscription management setting where you can then elect to cancel your subscription.

We're sorry if you decide to go and we don't want to make leaving difficult  - but sometimes bad things happen to good code, systems go down, bugs pop up and glitches occur. The good news is that we know how to fix them so if you encounter any issues and have trouble cancelling your subscription, please don't hesitate to let us know: course@hawser.org



How do I create a List?

Think of Course "Lists" as your food and beverage outlet "playlists".

Course "Lists" are a great way to keep track of the names and locations of restaurants you've read about, seen online or heard about from a friend and want to try...or the restaurants you've already enjoyed and don't want to forget. Each restaurant's profile page is customizable so information you enter in the "Notepad" are viewable only by you. 

You can create, update, rename or delete a list at-will.

To create a new list: tap on the List icon (bookmark) in the burger, select the '+ New List' button, give your list a name and start adding restaurants. If at first you can't locate a restaurant, try entering the full name and/or the name of the city after the name. If that doesn't work, adjust the settings for your search by selecting the specific type of outlet and the destination city or town under "Settings".

Once you've created a list, you can add any restaurant to that list, remove a restaurant from the list or share the list via email, text or social media.



Why does a "Location Services access was denied" notice pop-up when I try to load Course?

Course uses your location to find nearby restaurants and direct you to the ones you'd like to try next.

In order for Course to function normally, you should allow location access by selecting: “While using the app” when asked if you will allow Course to access your location during account creation and registration.

If you did not elect to share your location with Course during registration and sign-in, you can go to:
Settings > Privacy > Location Services at any time and then tap on the current setting in order to select: “While Using the App”.



Why are all of the pins on my map yellow - with no emoji face / compatibility displayed?

The yellow pins without emoji expressions are an indication that the artificial intelligence engine does not yet have enough information to make a reliable compatibility calculation. The more Taste Personality Quizzes you take and the more restaurants you privately review - the more Course will be able to determine what you’ll like and what you won’t.



Why can't I find / don't see the restaurant or bar I'm looking for?

If the food and beverage outlet you're looking for is not found on your initial search, it may be listed under it's full name (i.e., Alberto's Italian Trattoria" instead of just 'Alberto's". 

Additionally, it could be outside of the immediate area and require you searching a different location. You can search different areas in a few different ways.

You can add the name of the city after the name of the restaurant in a local search - or you can search a different area by adjusting the search settings: From the Home Screen > Tap or click on the "Settings" button to change the location.

You also have the option of filtering your search results down further from the Home Screen by selecting the type of outlet based on how the owner(s) may have classified their business in their Google listing / Google My Business™ profile. If the outlet you are searching for has not claimed their business on Google or set up any associated profiles, they may be found under the "General" or "Other" category type.

Once you've identified a general area to search, you can enter the name of the establishment and/or search for it by keyword (e.g., type of cuisine, atmosphere or even specific menu items like "Oysters" in the top "Name or Keyword(s) search bar.

You can also conduct a search for food and beverage outlets from the "Lists" page. The "Lists" page can be accessed by tapping on the burger ⌸ located at the top right hand corner of the Home Screen and then selecting the bookmark icon ). 

Please note: If a restaurant or bar has permanently closed, it will not be found in our database. You can have a hand in helping to ensure more independent restaurants stay open by trying (and privately rating) a few different places this week, exercising a little more patience than usual and tipping as generously as you comfortably can.

*Entering in the name of the city and state after the establishment's name often helps locate the outlet you're searching for if there's more than one establishment with that particular name.



How do I rate a restaurant on Course?

Remember that you're not rating restaurants for other people.

Your ratings are private & no one but you will ever see them.

Every one of your private restaurant ratings is used to train your personal A.I. restaurant guide to know exactly what YOU like, what YOU don't like and how willing YOU might be to try something new.

In the event you are not sure how you feel about a particular category or a particular category is not applicable; we recommend selecting the “POSSIBLE / SOME COMPATIBILITY” emoji rating: 🤨 .


ATMOSPHERE:

What’s your general impression of this restaurant/ bar’s vibe?

Atmosphere speaks mainly to the: decor, music, lighting, cleanliness, seating, temperature, flow, crowd and overall feel of the interior, exterior and/or online presence designed and maintained by the owners and operators.


SERVICE:

How well were you taken care of and what how did your interactions leave you feeling? Whether it was at the bar, over-the-phone, online, tableside or at the drive-thru - Service refers to the level of attention, hospitality / caring and accuracy during your experience.


VALUE:

How did you fee about the overall price compared to the worth of your experience? Whether it’s a curbside takeout order at a family style restaurant or a prime seat at a jazz bar charging cover for live music.

Do you think you got what you paid for?


PRESENTATION:

Presentation refers not only to how the food is presented / delivered but how the staff or third party partner presents themselves as well.

Is the food presented in an aesthetically appealing way on the plate? Was sufficient care taken when boxing meals to go (e.g., When rating to-go or delivery - the restaurant has little control over how long it takes for the order to be picked up or how far you or the driver needs to travel; therefore presentation does not refer to temperature or timing but does refer to: hot items separated from cold items, liquids protected from spilling, containers protecting the food from damage, containers appropriately sized for the menu item, etc…)

As far as presentation goes for employees or representatives of the outlet, consider: Are they clean and display appropriate hygiene? Are they respectful and polite?


FOOD / INDIVIDUAL MENU ITEMS:

This one is easy. Just as every other category, there’s no right or wrong when it comes to personal taste and individual preferences so…. How did you feel about the food?

Would you go back again for the same menu item? Was the item(s) good enough to make you want to try more of the menu?

If you do not want to review specific menu items, you can simply rate the food overall.

However, if you do decide to rate specific menu items, be sure to enter the names of each menu item exactly as they appear on the menu (a link to each establishment's website will help you with this).


Once a menu item is entered and rated by any member, Course® will remember that menu item for every member so, if a menu item is available in the dropdown list, you may select it from there instead of entering it manually.

Please keep in mind that your food may be prepared by different cooks with each new visit/order so try your best to rate based on the average experience or consistency of the food.


- PLEASE REMEMBER - 

Everyone has an off day. If the food (or any other aspect of your experience) isn’t to your satisfaction, ask to speak with the manager and respectfully explain why your expectations weren’t met.

You might be surprised at how well foodservice managers are trained to resolve your complaint. But whatever you do… Please don’t leave any restaurant or bar dissatisfied and complain publicly / online without giving the management or ownership the opportunity to make up for their mistakes. I mean, come on. We’re all human and none of us are perfect.

One of the reasons Course was developed was to prevent our community’s small business owners from having their reputations and their livelihoods (as well as the livelihoods of all those they employ) jeopardized over a negative public review that may not accurately represent the experience most others can expect to enjoy at the establishment.



How do I change a rating I gave a restaurant?

Everyone has a bad day…and sometimes a restaurant won’t deliver an experience that’s consistent with your expectations or their past performance. That’s why we encourage all of our members to communicate any constructive feedback directly to the management team whenever convenient in person or via private email / message...and adjust your ratings (up or down) in the event your opinions change over time.

You can change / update any rating at any time simply by tapping on the emoji that most accurately reflects your current opinion. This ensures your Personal Taste Profile™ is accurate and always up-to-date.



How do I delete a rating  / un-rate a restaurant or bar?  

While you can not delete or undo a rating at this time, you can change an unintentional rating to a neutral review by selecting all "neutral / not sure yellow emojis" (yellow face with one raised eyebrow).

 


How do I add a restaurant to one of my Lists?

There are a number of ways to add restaurants & bars to a list.

One way is to simply go to the restaurant’s profile page (via map pin or listing) and click on the Lists icon (bookmark) then select which list(s) you’d like to add it to.

Another way is to enter the name of the city in which the restaurant or bar is located, then search for it by keyword.

You can also go directly to an existing list (or one you just made) and click "Add New Restaurant". A search window will pop-up where you can type the name of the food and beverage outlet. Remember: entering in the name of the city and state after the establishment's name often helps locate the outlet you're searching for if there's more than one establishment with that particular name in our system.

So now… If you ever find yourself in Austin TX, you'll never again have to feel the frustration of not being able to remember the name of that Diner, Drive-In or Dive-Bar with the insane burnt ends and fried chicken sandwich" that you saw on The Food Network.

The uniqueness of your Course "Lists" is only limited by your own imagination. Give it a try and make a new list today…of the places that: play your kind of music on Thursday nights, happily welcome your dog, have great rooftop bars, are opening soon, host “karaoke" or Quizzo on Wednesday nights, have bottomless mimosas during Sunday brunch or simply have something every member of the family will enjoy near the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia.

We hope you enjoy creating your library of Lists and encourage you to compare lists with friends and fellow foodies in order to support more independent restaurants. Just screenshot any list and sharing it ("Share" feature coming soon).



How secure is my personal information?

Pretty darn secure! 

While we don’t guarantee immunity from cyber attacks or malicious attacks, we do offer a detailed explanation of our Terms of Use here as well the following no nonsense privacy statement:

“We will never share, sell, market or otherwise reveal for any reason - your personally identifying information (i.e., your name, address, email address, credit card or bank account numbers, social media accounts, phone number, handle, IP address, etc…) with any outside independent third party without your prior consent - period.”



Why does the Menu or Order button on the restaurant's profile take me to their website instead of an order or menu page?

Course simply presents and processes information that is either already publicly available online or supplied by it’s membership. Certain functions and features (like connecting you directly to a restaurant’s menu, increasing the accuracy of search of results when searching for restaurants by keyword or connecting to their online ordering gateway) require a restaurant’s active participation with Course as an Enterprise Member. For example, if you want to order from a restaurant online and they haven’t elected to offer that service, we will not connect you with a third party that offers that service without the restaurant’s explicit consent or election. In situations like that (and others), we will get you as close as possible which, in many cases, will be to the restaurant’s own website.



Do restaurants have to sign-up for Course?

Restaurants do not have to sign up for Course. Course simply organizes data from any restaurant that makes a listing of their products and/or services publicly available through print or online publications (e.g., websites, third party promotional sites, SEO, Google listings, facebook, etc...) so that members can rate, review and store their own opinions and preferences regarding these public businesses without their participation.

If a restaurant does elect to participate, they can: maintain an up-to-date and accurate menu, enter keywords to assist members’ ability to locate them, populate a virtual "Specials Board" and manage their profile pages with links and portals that help to increase sales and better serve both existing and potential guests via CoursePRO and Course ENTERPRISE (coming 2023).



Can a restaurant claim their profile page?

Any restaurant can claim their profile page via a PRO or Enterprise Membership subscription. Early Enterprise adopters will have the opportunity to collaborate on the customized profile form that offers the outlet in more accurate results in member searches and more opportunities for accurate matches. For more information or to be an early adopter, restaurant owners and operators can visit: https://www.trycourseapp.com/owners/



How can restaurants elect to not participate in Course?

Restaurant owners and operators can choose not to participate in the Course platform simply by ignoring our...or anyone’s request for them to join. Their lack of interest in participating, however, does not preclude us from allowing our members to find them via our listings map that is powered by Google. Once our members find publicly listed businesses they can record how they feel about their business, products and/or services on our private rating network. 



How can I add a restaurant, food truck or pop-up location on Course?

All of the restaurants and bars in our system are currently pulled from Google. While we look forward to opening the door to adding: delivery only restaurants, pop-ups, food trucks, vendors, meal prep delivery services and even convenience stores to the list of “food and beverage outlets” that can be rated, it is not yet possible. This functionality will be coming soon in Course 2.0.



How can I change my answer to a Taste Personality Quiz question?

You can change / update any answer to any question at any time simply by going directly to that quiz or question and touching on the answer that most accurately reflects your new opinion. This ensures your Personal Taste Profile is accurate and always up-to-date.



How can I share my ratings or review notes?

You can’t share ratings or reviews on Course. The ratings you enter are not for other people. You’re rating restaurants in order to train your A.I. restaurant guide / concierge to know exactly what YOU like, what YOU don’t like and how willing YOU might be to try something new…because when it comes to taste, we believe that no one’s opinion really matters more than yours.



How does Course help support independent restaurants?

By providing an alternative to rating platforms that publicly share ratings and reviews; Course eliminates the possibility of fake or purchased reviews negatively impacting a restaurant's reputation and forcing managers to spend more time managing their online reputations and less time taking care of their staff and guests on property. 

Course also increases the odds that guests will enjoy the restaurants they're trying for the first time... and when they don't - Course makes it possible for them to keep their damaging opinions to themselves and still benefit because their A.I. dining companion learns from mistakes which means those mistakes aren't as expensive (or time consuming) as they used to be. 

Let’s be honest - proving a public platform for people to bash restaurants online doesn’t really make it a whole lot easier for anyone to decide where to grab dinner tonight.

And because Course doesn’t curate reviews or sell advertising, SEO, featured listings or any other services... there’s no conflict of interest or incentive to hold good reviews hostage...or any reason to buy, sell or solicit fake reviews. 

The only person affected by a negative review on Course is the person giving the negative review since their reviews are used only to determine which restaurants are recommended specifically for them.

Course was designed to increase everyone’s chances of finding more restaurants they love...and in turn, encourage more people to frequent more restaurants than they ever have before.

Course isn’t just for people who are serious about food and supporting independent restaurants; it’s also meant to empower less frequent diners who might be hesitant to try something new out of fear that they might make a bad choice & expensive mistake.




How is compatibility determined / personal recommendations made on Course?

When you download the Course app, you are asked to take a series of Personal Taste Quizzes. You may answer as many or as few of these quizzes as you like but the more you answer...and the more restaurants you privately review on Course - the more reliable the recommendations will be.

Course® crowdsources, classifies and then cross-references your quiz answers and opinions / ratings in order to continually develop your Personal Taste Profile™️ regardless of what you eat, where you eat it and how you order it.

As your unique Personal Taste Profile™️ develops, the A.I. Taste Recognition™ software determines which restaurants most closely match your personal preferences and individual taste.



How can I message other members? (Coming Soon)

In order to contact another member, you and the member you wish to contact through the app (whether an Individual or Enterprise member) must purchase ClubLevel access.  ClubLevel access will not only enable you to connect with and message other ClubLevel members, it will give you the opportunity to see how compatible your taste is with other Club Members, set proximity notifications for: all Club Level members, or specific ClubLevel Members, set proximity alerts for restaurants & bars on your LISTS, create a group to see which restaurants are most compatible with your group's Personal Taste Profile™, and more.




How can I share one of my lists? (Coming Soon)

Whether you're an industry influencer or just the one all of your friends rely upon for advice - anyone can share a Course list if you decide to make it shareable.   

To share one of your Lists, simply click on the list you want to share and tap the three dots in the upper right hand corner. 


You’ll be presented with options to:

Rename List
Share List
Delete list

Selecting “Share List” will open pre-selected options including sms, text, email as well as a selection social media channels.




When I turn on “Social” what can other members see about me?  (Coming Soon)

When you turn on “Social”, other members who have turned on “Social Discovery” will be able to see your:
Name, Profile Photo, City/State, Bio and any Lists that you have decided to “shareable” or make "discoverable". You can turn 'Social" on or off at will.



What makes this app artificial intelligence?

Instead of serving as another soapbox / mode or medium to broadcast user submitted data (i.e., another restaurant rating and review site like Yelp); Course seeks to increase the satisfaction of every guest and incentivize them to try more restaurants by providing them with customized recommendations based on their own personal taste and unique preferences.

Course creates a knowledge store by collecting and organizing customer/user submitted data as variable data sets, combines them with other network collected data sets (e.g., answers to Taste Personality Quizzes, commonality among users in the system, etc..) to query then aggregate into more structured data to find patterns and understand associations that translate into a recommended action or “recommendation”.

Course recommendations are not from any one opinionated individual or system whose bias might corrupt the recommendation. In other words, each recommendation is the result of ever-growing mathematical equations which makes the calculated compatibility, between you and any restaurant, not only predictive but also artificial in nature.

The irony is that in order to remove bias from recommendations, we had to build an artificial intelligence algorithm that, in effect, is a celebration of bias by crowdsourcing and leveraging seemingly insignificant common biases that exist (and will exist) among our membership.

Although predictive intelligence of this sort might seem more like apophenia than the science of deep learning; some of our data results can be determined with unprecedented precision. One of the reasons for this is that every new piece of crowdsourced data is not only first hand and anonymous, it’s also linked to every other data point to facilitate the discovery of commonalities on a granular level.

Another reason is that the data itself is “agnostic”  - in that it is not sourced from a platform that might skew the data due to potential conflicts such as those that arise when consumers are presented with recommendations from companies who are simultaneously soliciting  additional services (e.g., advertising, exposure, reservation platforms, search engine optimization, point of sale systems or financial services) to the same vendors that they are recommending,

Course’s aggregation of data results in an evolving algorithm that produces reliable results unique to each member thus making Course a medium for personalized results we call “The worlds most personalized recommendations”.



How secure is my payment method / financial information on Course?

We don’t hold any of your payment information. All of that is handled by Stripe: the same trusted payment processor used by Warby Parker, Shopify, Doordash, The Guardian, Amazon, Reddit, Peloton, OpenTable, Target, Lyft, TED, Squarespace, Nat Geo, Twitch and millions of others...

Stripe has been audited by a PCI-certified auditor and is certified to PCI Service Provider Level 1. This is the most stringent level of certification available in the payments industry. To accomplish this, we use the best-in-class security tools and practices to maintain a high level of security at Stripe.

All card numbers are encrypted at rest with AES-256. Decryption keys are stored on separate machines. None of Stripe’s internal servers and daemons can obtain plaintext card numbers but can request that cards are sent to a service provider on a static allowlist. Stripe’s infrastructure for storing, decrypting, and transmitting card numbers runs in a separate hosting environment, and doesn’t share any credentials with Stripe’s primary services (API, website, etc.).

This and more information available at: https://stripe.com/docs/security



How can I feature or promote my restaurant on Course?

You can’t...at least not any more than any other restaurant is “promoted”.

We avoid conflicts of interest by selling memberships to our service instead of selling: advertising, featured listings, higher rankings, SEO, reservation software, financial services or sponsored content.

That being said… you can elect to subscribe to Course as a PRO ($500/year) or Enterprise Member ($500/month) where you'll have the opportunity to manually enter your menu(s), specials, keyword tags and profile information into our Course® Restaurant Profile Form and share your third party menu API (or have us do it for $99).

Course® is not a pay-to-play system but having your menu(s) and profile data uploaded and up-to-date in Course® will facilitate faster matches and more accurate guest data entries which, in-turn, means more guests who are most likely to enjoy your restaurant coming in through the door.



What does Course do with the data it collects on its members?

When you anonymously review restaurants, bars, food trucks or pop-ups on Course®, we collect all of the system-wide anonymous visits, purchases, ratings and reviews and then aggregate that non-identifying data so that restaurants can compare their outlet’s performance against others inside (and outside) of their particular concept, category or market. The data we collect and share is not tied to you personally - nor does sharing it compromise your privacy. For example if you indicate on one of the Food Personality Taste Quizzes that you have a soy allergy...and 2,000 other members living near you also indicate that they are also allergic to soy; we let our restaurant partners know that there are approximately 2,000 people living near their restaurant have a soy allergy. We do this to not only better serve you - but to help restaurants better serve the members of their community as well.



Who is responsible for Course's artwork, website and video production?

With the exception of icons by Icons8, sensa and Canva; all of the creative content including the website, video production, icons and images are created by our in-house creative team led by our Chief Creative Officer Nathan Maas.



What's up with the .org web address for Hawser LLC.?

Hawser LLC is a Public Benefit Company. "A Public Benefit Company or Public benefit Corporation is an business organization that includes a positive impact on society, workers, the community and the environment in addition to profit as its legally defined goals, in that the definition of "best interest of the corporation" is specified to include those impacts. Hawser LLC. has stated as much or more in their personal verbal agreements as well as their mission and values statements that are available online (www.Hawser.org) and recited during the commencement of meetings. Furthermore it is understood that Traditional C corporation law does not specify the definition of  "best interest of the corporation" which has led to profit motivations being used as the main driver for best interests. 

Any business may choose to file as a benefit corporation instead of a traditional C corporation for many reasons... benefit corporations' directors and officers operate the business with the same authority and behavior as in a traditional corporation, but are required to consider the impact of their decisions not only on shareholders but also on employees, customers, the community, and local or global environment...and therefore can not be penalized for putting public good above profitability. 
Course icons by Icons8.com, sensa.co, Canva.com & Hawser.org
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