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35 Comments

Vegans, vegetarians, and anyone with an allergy, food intolerance, or just a preference, I need you!

Hello, I'm Michael and I'm building Fussy Fork, a place for restaurants, cafés, pubs, and bars to create, manage, and share their menus in a clean and concise format that clearly shows dietary and allergen information.

Check out https://fussyfork.com/204ef415-bd78-403b-900b-f01ba8486019 for the menu of a restaurant near to where I grew up.

As a person with a specific dietary requirement, would you find viewing a menu in this format useful rather than a badly designed website, a PDF, a poorly scribbled chalkboard, or worse, a low-res photo posted on social media?

If you struggle to find what you can eat when eating out I want to hear from you.

Would you prefer menus are presented in this format?
  1. Yes
  2. No
  3. Other? Please leave a comment.
Vote
  1. 5

    I think a filter would be preferred, so I could just filter for veggie food, perhaps also filter out ingredients I don’t like/want to narrow down the list.

    1. 1

      Yes! Filters are great idea! That’s what most food ordering apps are missing

    2. 1

      Thank you for your feedback, this is very much the intention with this project but I need to start somewhere. First thing is to get restaurants on board. Allowing users to sign up and input their preferences is in the works. If you'd like to be the first to see it in action, drop me an email and I'll be sure to keep you updated.

  2. 4

    I think this type of menu is a particularly good idea cause it makes it easy to read. As a vegetarian, I know instantaneously what I can skip or not (and I actually look at these small logos before daring to look at the dish itself and create hope). If that is the way you think about going with Fussy Fork, I would encourage you to pursue this direction. However, I think at the very top of the page, you could write an explanation of each acronyms, not anyone can know the difference between VGN and VGO for instance (I know I don't haha)

    1. 1

      Hello! Thanks for your feedback, and yes, that is the plan for the future. Feel free to follow the journey on Twitter and Facebook.

  3. 2

    I voted other, because I want more.

    The vegan/vegetarian/gluten-free chiclets are great, (what's SES? you need a legend somewhere), but I'd also like to have access to an ingredient list. If this is going to be somewhat interactive it could be hidden away a bit to reduce clutter.

    The reason: I have an intolerance to a specific group of fruits & veg. I don't die or anything, but they make me uncomfortable & I try to avoid them. It's the group of fruit that includes apples, peaches, & strawberries, among others, which are delicious and end up in a surprising amount of food. Sometimes I feel it's worth the deliciousness, (a bit of apple cider vinegar in BBQ sauce? no problem. Peach-based BBQ sauce - I'll probably pass). So I want to be able to know what I might eat. I'm sure there are plenty of people out there with other similar intolerances, so ingredients would help us all!

    This is cool, but are you going to be able to get restaurants to participate?

    1. 1

      Thanks for your feedback John, yes, right now I've had a lot of interest from restaurants but there's still plenty more to do. You'll see that I've added the option to expand the dietary and allergen badges to show the full label, you can do this just by tapping on one of them.

  4. 2

    Awesome idea! Deciphering vegan items on a menu is a nightmare!

  5. 1

    I'm a vegetarian by choice, so please consider that with my opinion. I actually distrust menu labels like these generally speaking, especially those generated by a third-party that isn't the restaurant. I generally try to look closely at the ingredients in the recipe to decide if it's something I would like to eat.

    For my friends with very serious dietary restrictions (gluten/celiac), they really don't risk shopping outside of restaurants that have a "proven" (whether by reputation or some other manner) track record. It's just too big of a risk and I think it would need more than just a menu listing to instill confidence. A strategy to show that a restaurant knows a lot about this would go miles to get them to shop there.

    1. 1

      Thanks very much for your feedback. These labels aren't generated as such but provided by the restaurants themselves. The intention is that this would be better than what the current process is.

      Right now, a chef at a restaurant may come up with the menu, working with suppliers, and noting down the ingredients (they have to do this for a number of reasons). In order to create the fancy-but-mostly-convoluted -and-lacking-detail menus that you hold in your hand or you see screen-grabbed and shared on social media, the information has probably been passed through a number of people before it's finished and printed (think chef -> admin/office/manager -> person who handles media/marketing/website -> printers) and this inevitably leads to things being lost in translation.

      Fussy Fork provides a way for the menu to be created and updated directly by the people best placed to do so.

      If a correction needs to be made, with a printed menu, a restaurant is less likely (like zero chance) to update their menu if they've just had 100s made. With Fussy Fork that isn't an issue.

      Please do follow along here and on Twitter/Facebook and again I thank you for the feedback. If you think of anything else please share :)

      -M

  6. 1

    This looks like a great idea! My partner and I are vegan and my partner has nut allergy, so at times we struggle and tend to just avoid places that don't have a well labelled menu.

  7. 1

    Is the idea that the entire menu of the restaurant would be managed by you? Or just the subset of the menu that is for special diets? If the whole menu, it seems like you'd be competing with other menu systems, and also with the desire of the restaurant to have the menu themed to their style. If just special diets, it seems maybe strange that a person would be on the main menu, and would then click to see the special menu, and it would be in a different format/style (and presumably the restaurant would have to re-enter all the text for items from their normal menu that happened to be vegan or whatever).

    Also, I don't know about other groups, but I think vegans would resent being called "fussy," if that's the URL they would see. It's a good alliteration, FussyFork, but might not have the intended result.

    1. 1

      I think vegans would resent being called "fussy," if that's the URL they would see.

      Vegan here, former vegetarian.

      I came here to say exactly this. Given that veganism is centered around a belief system that extends well beyond food, being referred to as "fussy" (or "picky" or anything else like that) feels demeaning. I have to imagine that people with food allergies—which are out of their control—wouldn't like it either, but I can't speak for anyone else.

  8. 1

    I mean yeah, filters on the menu would be nice.

  9. 1

    Yes! I am working on solving the same issue, glad to know more people have it. I like the format, my solution actually hides or brings low opacity to the items that don't match the user.

    1. 1

      Yes that's in the works but not in the MVP. It'll come very soon as it's almost done.

      1. 2

        Fantastic, my struggle is that Restaurant Menus APIs are terrible and pricy. Most of the time you end up using web scrappers. Would be great that Restaurant Menu pages were standardized but.. :shrug: Good luck! Keep us posted.

  10. 1

    I am interested in the Image you have attached, where do you get such?

  11. 1

    I dig this idea. I am having a hard time finding what I can eat when I am eating at restaurants. I would suggest that you should start marketing this as soon as possible. Having this idea turn into reality will surely interest a lot of people.

    1. 1

      Thanks! That's what I'm doing now, I've built out a really decent MVP/first version and it works really well as it is (but there's so much more that I want to add) and restaurants are showing a lot of interest.

  12. 1

    Lots of restaurants in my city (San Francisco) already do this though....

    1. 1

      That's great, I love San Francisco and I'm not surprised. They probably won't be my first customers then but may very well get the idea and jump on board as momentum picks up.

  13. 1

    Like other's say, definitely have a legend.

    But, if you're going for the allergens, you might want the bubbles to be more explicit. Maybe a red color bubble, and there are more allergens than Milk. For example, if someone is allergic to the Dairy protein Casein, it's likely this person is also allergic to Legumin which commonly found in legumes (soy, beans, peas, peanuts, etc). On top of that there are synthetic caseinates most people don't know about, but are deadly for people with allergies.

    You may also want to have a yellow "warning bubble" since a lot of foods have vague ingredients like "Vegetable Oil". As an ingredient, vegetable oil can be labeled as such, but it is usually Canola or Soybean Oil, and sometimes it's both. Again, problematic for people with allergies.

    Allergies are hard, so it might be an 'end game' kind of thing. 🤷‍♀️

    1. 1

      Thank you very much for your feedback. You can now tap on the badges to expand the full label. I appreciate there is so much more we can do in this area including other allergens to note, and this is a start. I have captured your feedback and should you wish to follow along with the progress, do follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

  14. 1

    Its probably not necessary to shorten the tags to three letters, it would be much more readable if it said "vegan", "vegetarian" etc instead of "VGN", "VTN". I have no idea what GFO, SES, GFR, MIL even is

    1. 2

      Thank you, I bumped up the ability to toggle the full label on the roadmap as it was bugging me too. It's sorted now, just click on a badge and they expand.

  15. 1

    I like the format but the ideal for me would be to filter by dietary requirement(s) and only see the food I can eat. As a (somewhat failing) vegan it pains me to see all of the delicious things that I want to eat but can't because of the guilt! I much prefer when restaurants provide veggie or vegan menus. Double thumbs up when the veggie/vegan menu includes slight variations of non-vegan mains (e.g. tofu instead of egg) to create more options.

    1. 1

      Thanks for your feedback, that is very much the aim. A user signs up, inputs their preferences and when they view a menu it's automatically filtered showing only what they choose to eat. Feel free to drop me an email or follow Fussy Fork on Twitter/Facebook to be notified when that feature is available.

  16. 1

    Yes please! And one more thing, often restaurants don’t know exactly if it contains certain stuff or not, maybe have some sort of help for that?

    1. 1

      The chefs should know but it isn't always them that update the menus as things get lost in translation due to the number of people involved when putting them menu together. Fussy Fork makes it super simple for anyone to update menus, especially the chefs as they can do it as they go.

      1. 2

        Awesome! Hopefully this can be a new standard for the future! If you need any help, I am here, I’ve got a lot of time on my hands. I really support this project!

        1. 1

          Right now I'd really appreciate help getting restaurants on board. Anything you can do to reach out to them and direct them to the website would be fantastic!

          1. 1

            Okay great, I will try my best!

  17. 1

    Seems like a great idea. It's hard to even work out what some of the food is on a menu these days ("bongo drizzled cucumber fries") let alone the nutrition and dietary requirements. Let's put the important info front and centre.

    1. 1

      Yes I completely agree!

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