Great business ideas often stem from a need to provide a new service or improve on existing services. What of the businesses whose ethoses are so revolutionary we are left wondering why this idea was not thought about before? Kafoodle, is such a business, its ethos of providing essential (and lifesaving) information to allergen sufferers seeking suitable places to eat out is nothing short of revolutionary.
Founded by Kim Antoniou and Tarryn Gorre, Kafoodle has been unsurprisingly well received by both the public and the hospitality industry. I was intrigued to find out about this start –up, Tarryn was more than happy to answer my questions.
1. Please can you give a brief overview of how Kafoodle works?
Kafoodle has been designed, essentially, to make eating out safer for allergen sufferers.
It starts of by giving chefs a simple, easy to use cloud based system to manage ingredients as well as create, store and share recipes across multiple menus and outlets – with key benefits being that it automatically highlights allergens, calculates the nutrition and cost of each dish. What, then makes Kafoodle different to other similar systems is that it is connected directly to the front of house staff and diners who can access each dish via a tablet or computer instantly to advise the customer on any allergens present in the meal.
Its second format and function is as a free app which is available to download through the App Store or Google Play and allows users to search for a nearby restaurant to suit their particular dining needs. You can search according to the following 14 key allergens; gluten, crustaceans, eggs, fish, peanuts, soya, milk, nuts, sesame seeds, sulphur dioxide, molluscs, celery, mustard and lupin and from mid-December you will also be able to search by nutritional values as well. From there the user is directed to set their location and can scroll through local restaurant venues, their menus and what they can and can’t eat prior to arriving at the location. This saves time, hassle and above all is a much safer way for any allergen or health conscious diner to enjoy their meal out.
2. What did you both do prior to setting up Kafoodle?
I grew up in a very social and hospitality minded family back in my home country of South Africa, so have been active in hospitality since I was about six! Life before Kafoodle was spent working in numerous hospitality businesses where I was a successful industry consultant working for names like D & D and Caesars Entertainment, to name a couple.
Kim’s background is in the development and delivery of proprietary large scale online and mobile software systems. Her husband nearly died back in 2013 from an allergic reaction in a restaurant as a direct result of some wrong information from the waiting staff around the ingredients in a dish. She saw the changes in the law as a great opportunity to create a system to inform discerning diners about the allergic ingredients in everything that they eat when out of their homes… So early in 2014 she decided to completely change track and devote all of her resources and energy into developing Kafoodle. Knowing that any system had to be developed from the industry out, she approached me and the rest is history!
3. Where did the name Kafoodle come from?
It’s a name Kim made up, but the original thought was we wanted to be all about food “the whole kit and caboodle” and then as it was about food it was called Kafoodle. Also, it’s the ‘Google’ of food! If you want to know anything about food…Kafoodle it! I wanted a name that meant nothing in particular but could end up meaning everything – like Google does.
4. If you could go back to the beginning would you have done anything differently when setting up Kafoodle?
I think hindsight is a great thing and you can always change something, I think for us we would have maybe spent more time on planning, we were both very passionate about wanting to help both diners and restaurants to cope and interact with the allergen legislation so believed we had to do everything to a very tight deadline.
5. So far the Kafoodle Kitchen software program is utilized by Home House and Brakspear pub, The Bowler, to name but a few, are there any other businesses that are scheduled to sign up?
We hope to work with hundreds of businesses by the end of the year and are currently in talks with a variety of bigger and smaller restaurant and pub brands. It does however take an establishment a while to get set up and running due to the initial time investment.
6. In addition to those suffering from allergies/food intolerance, who else do you identify as the Kafoodle App customer?
Whilst Kafoodle was originally founded to help allergen sufferers we quickly saw a demand for a variety of diners who were looking at cutting out certain foods or watching what they eat and we therefore consider ourselves very much a lifestyle app which appeals to anyone who wants to know more about their food. That could be which allergens a dish contains, the amount of sugar or fibre.
7. How large is your current team?
We currently have nine full time employees working for us and are currently on the lookout to expand our development and sales teams as we continue to grow and look at other territories.
8. How does social media impact your business?
Social media is great for us, not only is the experience of dining out very social in itself but it also seems that healthy lifestyles and food related posts are everywhere which makes it easier for us to get involved in the conversation around food on a daily basis, as there is so much going on all the time.
9. How is Kafoodle monetised?
This links back to your question about planning, originally we were very keen to give the system away to all restaurants, however they were sceptical about a ‘free’ compliance system so we now charge from £20 per month for our restaurant software and have added in extra features such as costings, yields and wastages to make it a complete menu management system.
10. If you did not have your current business, what would be your alternative plan?
I cannot speak for my business partner, Kim, but I have always been in hospitality and if we had not started Kafoodle the other idea was an online event system. I wanted to work with Kim on databases that helped event organisers source resources more easily, we might still do that!
11. Where do you see your business in three to five years time?
This is a hard question to answer as so much changes with start ups however within the next three years we hope to have Kafoodle in multiple markets worldwide and in the next five years I believe our technology would have developed quite a bit to include various aspects in both the kitchen software and consumer app.
12. If you could work with any entrepreneur who would it be and why?
I know I should say someone like Branson, but I am actually a very big fan of a friend of mine Nick Telson, he co-founded a London night-life company Design My Night a few years back and has made a great success of it. I have seen him go from a start up with one business signed up to what it is today and watched closely at how tremendously well he has not only coped with running a business but excelled at it whilst still being a nice guy, I definitely admire him and hope we get to work together one day.
13. How do you both relax?
Kim and I both love our food so normally we either have a meal together or if we need a break from each other, Kim will go home to family, she has a big family and will normally have all of them round for a barbeque or meal with her husband.
If I’ve had a particularly stressful day I’ll either turn my phone off and go cycling for a bit or join friends for a meal in Soho at Bone Daddies or try out a new restaurant. Although lately when I do get time off I seem to be craving box sets and my couch!
For further information please visit: www.kafoodle.com