Triangle startup on a mission to become the ultimate match making tool foodies searching for healthy, locally-sourced, novelty dishes in the Triangle
On December 21, 2017, CEO and founder, Sharifa Felix, debuted App DuJour at the RTP TechBreakfast. What is App DuJour? App DuJour is an app that essentially creates a menu feed for spooners (aka patrons) based on their diet lifestyle, food preferences and location. At the same time, it gives local and independent food truck and restaurant owners the unprecedented ability to effectively reach their ideal clientele in a manner that is both easy and time-saving, by allowing spooners to eat with their eyes before they even leave their office chair for lunch.
Felix took the audience through a live demo, first showing them how a food truck owner could create and tag dish posts curated for infinite reuses. Once the dishes are uploaded, when the truck is ready for service, the owner can make the dishes they choose “live” in a painless series of clicks that takes less than a minute, updating the selected dishes with the truck’s current location and making them visible and searchable to spooners. (While time did not permit, she did note during the Q&A there was a storefront interface that achieved the same means.) In the spooner experience, Felix showed the audience App DuJour’s beautiful, Instagram-inspired menu feed, customizable by search and a robust 27 attribute filter, which includes healthy (less than 500 calories), vegetarian, and dairy free.
Beyond the raw technical solution and clean design of the app, in a follow-up with Felix afterwards she said there are three things she is most excited for with bringing App DuJour to fruition. One, App DuJour will help people make more informed and satisfying dining decisions, especially in the spirit of eating healthier, accommodating food allergies and expanding individual’s palettes. Secondly, App DuJour will help chefs (regardless of formal training or celebrity) highlight their creativity, culinary experience and regional influences through the use of seasonal and locally-sourced ingredients. And third, Felix hopes App DuJour will create a positive feedback loop for both the spooner and the business through dish descriptions (more generous than what you may find on a menu) and reviews from the spooners, specific to the dish, not just a general experience.
“We want to facilitate people’s health consciousness AND their indulgent cravings. I think so often that we are left with the absence of one or the other, which can leave us feeling guilty or resentful, respectively. When in reality, they can co-exist and/or be in more cases than we realize, be one in the same,” Felix stated.
While App DuJour is perfectly timed to complement industry trends such as celebrity chef-inspired dishes, locally-sourced ingredients, health-conscious and allergy inclusive meals (ie gluten free, dairy free, etc.), App DuJour still has a tough row to hoe.
It enters a marketplace dominated by giants like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and further crowded by the onslaught of loyalty-programs and niche focused apps, that locate food trucks or identify vegetarian restaurants for instance. Further App DuJour must hurdle the chicken and the egg challenge presented by building a two-sided marketplace, not to mention the fact the its not in the app store yet. It is only currently available as a web app, as the company has bootstrapped its way to beta.
All daunting challenges, Felix admits, but not impossible to overcome. “All great things come in due time. I acknowledge the skepticism that may come from critics, would be investors, business owners and spooners. However, I believe that there are enough forward-looking people, spooners and businesses alike, that see the mutually beneficial value App DuJour has to offer and will be on the forefront of helping us realize our vision.”
That said, Felix goes on to state that the company’s user acquisition strategy will be by invitation only in these early stages. To promote quality content, it involves actively soliciting business recommendations from spooners, as well as identifying and onboarding a combination of some “cool kids” (known and popular local establishments) and “new kids” (new or recently opened businesses) as they tap new markets.
Company website: www.theappdujour.com