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Working on a mobile application to help people make informed decisions considering their food requirements.

The Idea

Problem:

The people who have dietary requirements find it most difficult to navigate and find relevant information about food when they dine out. One major instance is when they travel to a new city and find it hard to find relevant options.

Solution:

Our team is proposing a solution to build an app that will allow them to quickly navigate through the available options and find food items around them that are relevant to them and find ratings. They would also be able to connect with their friends who might have relevant tastes/requirements and see what food items they have reviewed.

The Market

- Jobs

1. User Case: Food Requirements Filter

Customer Segment: People with Dietary Requirements

Find listing of food items that satisfy their food requirements near their location. 

- Pains: Consumers face difficulty currently to find food that is suitable for them. There are a lot of apps that tell you ratings about the restaurants around you, but currently we didn't find any application with significant data on their platform that has filters for food requirements.

- Gains: They will be able to select filters, allergies and see relevant options to make their dining out decisions


2. User Case: Social Connectivity 

Customer Segment: Foodies, People with Dietary Requirements

Pains: Its common to have people in your network that have common food requirements/tastes. They fail to find information about food that people are eating/reviewing in their social network. Currently, they would go on forums to solicit that information and would have to wait for the responses.

Gains: Our solution will allow them to access that information about their network, what their friends had, what they liked the most and etc on the run and would be available to them to make better decisions


3. User Case: Targeted Marketing

Customer Segment: Restaurants:

Pains: Restaurant owners fail to market to their niche segments especially with their new additions to their menus

Gains: The restaurants will gain from the marketing platform by targeting relevant customers with their new additions. People who own restaurants and have changed their suppliers to Halal suppliers can target customers of that segment directly.

The Competition

The customers use different applications/website to make their decisions

- Vegans use Happy Cow app to find relevant information and offerings. There is still a small number of restaurants that are on the platform and the features are still limited, so there is still an opportunity to grow and capture the market. They also use Vegan Forums and groups on Facebook to make decisions.


- Halal - People mostly use google to find relevant options, or tripadvisor. There are a few applications out there like Zabihah but their user experience can still be improved and competed against.


- Foodies - Apart from Google, Trip advisor and Yelp, there is a significant number of applications out there, Zomato being the biggest one with the highest number of users and the most friendly application to use. However, they are not useful for filtering food based on allergies and food requirements. 



The Vision

Being a food application, our idea is born global. The strategy of execution might take a sequential process but since it caters to requirements that are common to find in people all around the world, this application would have the potential to expand globally. 


In the first MVP, we are trying to register and add data of Canberra (about 300 restaurants) and Sydney (about 3000) restaurants, while trying to get some clients on board as well. Once the system is built correctly, we could then go on to develop it and expand it nationwide. For the first six months of the launch, we would ideally be targeting to surpass 500,000 thousand downloads. 


Moreover, although the initial MVP will try to figure out a solution for the problems that people with dietary requirements face and help them in decision making, the next phase would be to gamify the user experience by involving engaged members to compete and become top critics/contributors in their communities. They would be able to score points, while restaurant partners will be engaged to provide these contributors with rewards.

Mentor Pitch

People with dietary requirements struggle a lot when deciding where to dine out. The lack of dietary and other relevant information about the menu of restaurants make it harder for these customers to choose venue and dishes. This often results in customers making the safest choice (e.g. Chips) rather than the best choice (e.g. Rocket Salad with Grilled Aubergine). 


By making the menu items more informative and accessible, and by providing relevant information that people with specific dietary requirements need, we will be able to better serve customers and at the same time increase the restaurant's Sale per ticket. 


At this stage, we have a few hypothesis we want to test out before we finalise the crucial, desired, optional and luxury features of the application that we could work with for an initial MVP. After doing some customer validation and interviews, we have narrowed down the categories we want to focus (Vegans, Gluten intolerant, Muslims (Halal Food), Egg/Tomato intolerant) and have realised that the best use case of the application will be during their travel to new places.


The key stakeholders of this project will be restaurants that have diverse menu options or a niche menu targeting people with dietary requirements and the people who have those dietary requirements. There are more than 100,000 people who are active members of various blogs and groups on social media that are highly engaged in Vegan community. Also, according to the recent census, Australia has a population of around 600,000 Muslims so our target audience is a fairly large segment. 


We are a culturally diverse team of four, having a diverse set of skills and experiences ranging from marketing, commerce, IT and hospitality. We also have a working relationship with a Software Development company offshore which specialises in building apps and MVPs for startups and we hope to secure their services for the development of the application.


We are ideally looking for a mentor who has worked on building apps, can guide us to develop a crowd-sourcing platform and help us secure some early adopters to help us launch a MVP.




The Customer Experience

We will be reaching out to different customers segments via various channels.

- Travelers (having specific dietary Requirements): 

   Greyhound - targeting travelers by promoting with greyhound directly or indirectly

- Local foodies (having specific dietary requirements):

   Food Markets/Festivals or Multi-cultural festival - Engaging with customers through introduction of the app, getting sign ups and helping them choose what to eat at the event

- Restaurant Businesses - 

   Sales - Emails or through visits - LinkedIn - Telling and introducing offerings, getting them trackable results for targeted marketing

The Team

- Software Development Knowledge & Connections to develop the application

- Information Systems and Analytics - Knowledge from Course and Tableau Skills

- Client Servicing Skills - Experience servicing clients and building relationships providing value

- Graphic Design Skills - Have skills to make prototypes, app designs good enough for MVP and conceptualise concepts

- Commerce/Business and Management Skills - Degree and various experiences, Jeremy runs a trivia business, Atif had a restaurant venture (sold) 

- Public Speaking - Jeremy has had experience running trivias and has stage confidence

- Hospitality Experience - Most of the team has worked in hospitality in one way or another

Currently, we are at a preliminary testing phase and building mockups/prototypes to test user experiences.

Our Partners

Need guidance on how to develop and strategise customer adoption

Graphic Design - Might need creative input and expertise in graphics 

Need investors and early adopter customers who would be willing to participate in the effort of building it right

Need money to fund the early development of MVP once the idea is viable enough

Would need workspace (co-working) to work efficiently/effectively