Out last night with friends with food allergies, and the conversation with our waitress plus lots of menu annotation reminded me of an old idea that I’m sure someone has done by now. Before I search to find it, here’s my take on the increasingly classic issue.
Scenarios: You’re a dinner party host having guests over for dinner, or you’re a restauranteur with six guests to serve. In both cases you ask about dietary needs. Everyone knows the drill and retells their lists of preferences and issues. You’ve got a pescatarian, a vegetarian, a vegan, a celiac and someone that’s allergic to sesame, leaving you with a list of ingredients (outgredients?) that you have to work around.
Solution: A service where people create reusable little profiles for listing their food preference and dietary needs.
For the dinner party guest this means: You never have to rewrite or recite your dietary needs again. Just share a private link to your profile and your host can see the lot. Maybe it includes recipes ideas, either of your own, or automagically generated by the service.
For the dinner party host this means: You receive a profile link from one gust, and prompt others that don’t have one to create one for themselves. The service helps you to merge all the links and generate a definitive list of ingredients to avoid. Again, maybe the service suggests recipe ideas based on collective needs.
For the well organised restauranteur this means: Your website allows guests to check your menu against their private profiles before arrival, or on arrival you can generate a menu that fits and that makes it easy for your kitchen team to translate.
Exit strategies: Pinterest, Facebook or Under Armour (they bought MyFitnessPal) buy the service, or you hold out and build a trusting user base that likes the core product, which can be slowly added to with features like recipes, restaurant, hotel, airline or HealthKit tie-ins and nutritional and health advice, all the while extracting some interesting (anonymised) findings from the collective user data!