Being an allergy sufferer myself, I have first-hand experience of the struggles and anxiety people with allergies go through when finding safe places to eat at. You could probably say no other allergy-related app founder was more up close and personal to the real problem!
That being said I want to take the time to share my story with you: why I’m developing Menu Guru with Nova and how its helping ordinary people like you and me.
After being diagnosed with 16 debilitating allergies, I first realised the problem on a family holiday to Disneyworld Florida. During a day spent at the park, we went to one of the restaurants for lunch. I told the server my allergies and they had no idea what on the menu was safe from my allergens.
When the holiday finished and I left ‘the most magical place on earth’ and got back to the rainiest place on earth, I noticed the shear severity of the problem. I was frequently struggling to find safe and accommodating places to eat, and missing out on special occasions because of the uncertainty of where it was safe to eat.
I have always been interested in problems and coming up with business ideas, I keep a notebook full of them. So it made me think… with over 3 million people in the UK suffering from food allergies, why aren’t restaurants accommodating to a very unsatisfied, but extremely motivated and vocal segment of the market?
I met the Nova team at a tech-show in Manchester, they were giving a talk on the lean canvas, and I’ve been working with them since. Working with Nova has given me the team that’s as passionate about the problem as I am, investment and advice to successfully launch Menu Guru. I’ve been overwhelmed by the support so far, It’s been just over 8 months and Menu Guru has gone from little more than a good idea to a launched product working with restaurants including Maray, Heritage and Pret. Working closely with both the restaurant owners and fellow allergy sufferers through the product development has been incredible, and now see it live and being used in restaurants is a dream come true.
Our goal is to continue successfully working with restaurants to improve the quality and safety of the dining experience nationally in the next 2 years, but our real goal is to one day deliver a safe and enjoyable dining experience for allergy sufferers worldwide.