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Diary of a tech startup founder: Sunil Mistry - Menu Guru

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Megan McLatchie

Marketing Executive

Updated 13 September 19

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There isn’t another founder more up close and personal to the problem than Sunil. Being an allergy sufferer himself, he has first-hand experience of the struggles and anxiety people with allergies go through when finding safe places to eat at. Sunil has been working with Nova to develop Menu Guru, a customisable allergen menu helping restaurants deliver a safe and enjoyable dining experience to allergy sufferers.

 

“With over 3 million people in the UK suffering from food allergies, why aren’t restaurants accommodating to a very unsatisfied, but extremely motivated and vocal segment of the market?”

 

After being diagnosed with 16 debilitating allergies, Sunil's first realisation of the problem occurred on a family holiday to Disney World Florida. “During a day spent at the park, we went to one of the restaurants for lunch.” He explains “I told the server my allergies and they had no idea what on the menu was safe from my allergens.”

 

Returning to England Sunil noticed the breadth of the problem, frequently struggling to find safe and accommodating places to eat, and missing out on special occasions because of the uncertainty of where it was safe to eat. “I have always been interested in problems and coming up with business ideas, I keep a notebook full of them” he explains “So it made me think, with over 3 million people in the UK suffering from food allergies, why aren’t restaurants accommodating to a very unsatisfied, but extremely motivated and vocal segment of the market?” 

 

Sunil first crossed paths with the Nova team at a tech-show in Manchester, “Nova were giving a talk on the lean canvas, and how you don’t need a 20 page business plan to build a business. You just need a problem worth solving”. He explains “I applied on Nova’s Website with my some details about the problem I’d found and my ideas about how to solve it, I was contacted by a startup consultant who challenged some of my thinking about the best route to starting a tech business and enrolled me onto Nova’s startup programme.” 

 

“It’s only been 8 months from my initial contact and MenuGuru is already live and working with restaurants including Maray, Heritage and Pret A Manger.”

 

Working within Nova’s programme and with access to our team, Sunil was mentored to develop his initial idea into a sustainable tech business. Our tech team worked with Sunil whilst he gathered early customer feedback and developed this into a functioning MVP tool for restaurants and their customers across Liverpool. He explains “It’s only been 8 months from my initial contact and the platform is already live and working with restaurants including Maray, Heritage and Pret A Manger. I’ve really enjoyed working closely with both the restaurant owners and fellow allergy sufferers through the product development, to now see it live and being used in restaurants is a dream come true”

 

Sunil, however, envisages a much larger future for Menu Guru. “We hope in the next 2 years for Menu Guru to go national, but our real goal is to one day deliver a safe and enjoyable dining experience for allergy sufferers worldwide.”

 

Have you got an idea for a tech business? Get in touch.

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