A bite sized update from the world of allergies & food.
Happy Wednesday! And welcome to issue #1 of what will be a bi-weekly newsletter.
In this short newsletter I’ll be keeping you updated on our journey to make eating out with allergies easy as well as other tasty chunks from the food and allergy world. I’ll also keep you informed on what our community is saying along with expert opinions from within the industry, recipes and much, much more!
This is a newsletter for you, made by you – our allergy community.
This issue will be slightly longer than future ones as I’ve included an intro to my journey so far.
Who Are You And What Is Menu Guru?
Hi! My name is Sunil Mistry and I’m the founder of a startup called Menu Guru.
We’re an early stage company that works with innovative restaurants to make allergies safe and simple.
What this means is that by working with us, restaurants not only massively reduce mistakes but also create an amazing guest experience for people like you and me; allergy sufferers.
To give some colour to how this came about, we’ll have to rewind back just over 8 years…
In 2012 I was diagnosed with 16 allergies and intolerances. This sounds like a lot but luckily most of the foods were easy to manage and remove from my diet. Things like coconut, peas and mushrooms.
But there were also foods in there that weren’t easy. Foods that were a staple of my diet like dairy, rice and nuts. And like you may have experienced, this is extremely hard at first but over time, you get things under control.
So after figuring out my diet, the next step was to join friends and family at a restaurant. And this is where allergy sufferers have their biggest challenge. You have no control and you’re putting all your trust into someone else.
In the few experiences I had, restaurants did not take me seriously. Servers labelled me fussy, many refused to serve me and I was left feeling anxious every time I ate out which led to me stopping going out altogether. And not eating out meant missing out; so no birthdays, no social gatherings and no evenings out.
After a few years, missing out started really getting to me. Eating out is such a huge part of our culture and not being able to do that is really isolating. So I decided to start exploring what could be done to help restaurants do the right thing. I believed that restaurants weren’t acting negligent on purpose. Everyone wants to do the right thing. Just sometimes they don’t know how.
And this became the start of Menu Guru.
Our aim is to create a world where eating out with allergies is safe and simple.
You shouldn’t be made to feel like a nuisance.
You shouldn’t be given inaccurate information.
You shouldn’t have to wait 8x longer for your order to be taken.
You SHOULD have confidence and peace of mind when you’re eating out. Because allergy sufferers are people too! 🤣
And that’s what we’re building towards. So thank you for joining us and sharing in this journey.
The World of Eating Out
A few updates on what we’re working on…
As many of you will have seen, we’re creating a place for you to help find, rate and share allergy friendly restaurants in the UK. Think of this like your Allergy Friendly Restaurant Guide or TripAdvisor for allergy sufferers. We’ve had a few delays but hoping to open it up to you for feedback in the next couple of weeks!
Here are some snippets of what we’ve built this week:
Detailed listings and community reviews for each restaurant.
Allergy specific review criteria.
What we’re working on for the next 2 weeks:
- More detailed review criteria when leaving a review – be able to select the allergens your review is based on
- Adding a map, directions, telephone number, website and more to each restaurant page
- Adding more restaurants
How you can get involved:
Shortly we’ll be opening the website up to you for feedback. Before that, if you have any suggestions, feedback or ideas please hit reply to this email.
We’re building a place specifically for you so I encourage you to have your say – I read every single email and message!
Overheard In The Community
I voted ‘Yes’ but that feeling doesn’t seem to be shared across the community.
The reason I feel safer is because of the spotlight being shone on the health & safety aspect of the industry due to Covid-19. Any mistakes will be magnified with expectations so high so there’s a lot to lose for restaurants who are negligent. I also think social distancing rules will have an impact. There’s less seats available so less guests to serve. Kitchens shouldn’t be as rushed meaning less chances of mistakes.
Food For Thought
The government has been busy stirring up incentives to kick start the economy post pandemic. One scheme to keep an eye for throughout August is the “eat out to help out” scheme.
The deal gives you 50% off your bill Monday to Wednesday at participating restaurants, pubs and cafes and can be used an unlimited number of times!
This is my first post and I expect as the business evolves so will this newsletter. One thing I want to keep consistent throughout the journey though, is that it’s driven by you. If you have any feedback or want to share anything please get it touch. I read and reply to every email so make sure to reach out!
And should you come across anything interesting this week, send it my way! I love finding new things to read through.
Have a great couple of weeks,
P.S. To follow our journey and get these updates, sign up to our newsletter here.