El Salem was struggling to find places to eat that catered to her specific diet; gluten and dairy-free, and low FODMAP. Her only choice when eating out was to spend hour searching menus for meals she could eat and asking waitstaff the same questions.
“I’d just hope for the best at whatever restaurant my friends were going to. I always felt like a pain, and I hated being the person who couldn’t eat the stuff all the time,” El says.
“The problem is that people with dietary requirements cannot easily find restaurants which cater to them or know what the quality of those options are for which they are often paying extra, such as for vegan cheese or gluten-free bread .”
Seizing the opportunity to fill the gap in the market, El created the Eatwell app; it’s similar to a Trip advisor and Google maps for people with dietary requirements. Users input any dietary requirement, allergy or diets they have, and the app shows them restaurants that are recommended by others with the same dietary requirements. Then, they’re shown specific menus for what they can eat.
“My biggest success so far has been our user feedback following our launch. It was so positive with users saying it solved their problems of finding great places to eat, and they only wanted extra features like interacting with others like them on the app. Prior to developing our app, I did seven rounds of design getting feedback and iterating with 80 user testing participants in our target market, which clearly paid off!” El says.
The Eatwell app helps you find the best places to eat, rated and reviewed by others with similar food problems. You can rate and review places to eat for all your dietary needs. If you have any other allergies or are on a particular diet, the app has got you covered.
It takes away any dietary-related stress by showing you a menu just for you, instead of showing the food you can’t eat.
El says the startup journey hasn’t been easy but it’s been an enormous help being a part of the Fishburners startup community
“My main challenge in the beginning was to understand how to build an app once designing it and how to go about finding good and cost-effective engineers. I simply asked every Software Engineer friend I knew, as well as posting on the Fishburners slack channel if they knew anyone who could help, which led to the two engineers we have today,” El says.
“It’s great being supported by people who’ve been in exactly the same boat, and are so helpful whenever we have questions. It’s impossible to have all the skillsets needed to successfully launch a business, and a community who are so responsive and helpful is invaluable.”
El is now focusing on growing communities around the Eatwell app, which focuses on bringing people together.
“People with food intolerances usually feel like the odd one out without any decent restaurant options. We are expanding to Melbourne restaurants in the coming months, and hopefully to Queensland and New Zealand,” El says.
“I’d advise other startups to always focus on the user and you can’t go wrong. Instagram polls are the quickest and best way of seeking advice from users on specific questions, and constantly try to seek longer 1:1 feedback and solve for their pain points.”