Her belief is that when the right technology is introduced and embraced, it can provide operators with simpler and better controls and consumers with the information they need to make safer and healthier food choices.
Tarryn founded Kafoodle in 2014 to help foodservice businesses better manage and communicate allergen information following the EU food information regulations. This is done by providing innovative software solutions to the foodservice sector – connecting people to the food they need.
Read more about Tarryn’s founder journey in the interview below.
Screenshot of the Kafoodle homepage.
Q: Could you tell us about your company and what you’re striving to achieve?
A: Kafoodle is an award-winning food technology company on a mission to digitise commercial kitchens within hospitals, care homes, schools, corporate catering, restaurants, high street and retail.
Helping the foodservice industry manage and communicate their food allergens, calculate nutrition and control costs. This leads to a safer and more transparent food environment that benefits both the business and their end customer. Ultimately we want to create healthier and safer eating through simplifying complex food data.
Q: What made you decide to take on the challenge of founding your business?
A: I have worked in hospitality my entire career and loved seeing technology be introduced such as the first websites, online restaurant bookings, housekeeping efficiencies in hotels etc. When we started to read about the EU allergen law coming into force in 2014 I was curious to see how it would affect the creativity of the industry, especially when thinking about Michelin starred chefs I had worked with not to mention smaller cafes that operated in a less structured way. I ended up chatting to my friend and co-founder about it as she was very much part of the consumer side with her husband having a severe allergy and was keen for this legislation to help him dine out safely. After a few heated conversations between us, she challenged me to help with the solution to what was clearly going to be a bit of a problem for the food industry and thus we founded Kafoodle together later that year. We decided we would build a simple to use solution that could help all kitchens from Michelin stars to independent cafes correctly communicate not only allergens but also nutrition to all customers.
Q: What’s most exciting about your traction to date?
A: Our software is transferable across any commercial kitchen so we operate in quite a few sectors such as healthcare, education and casual dining. Even though it is the same software platform every sector has slightly different nuances we adapt to and the fact that we have great clients such as the NHS in Healthcare, Universities and schools in education and Greene King in Casual dining is very exciting as it shows how well our software works in our key sectors. We also work with large contract caterers that service all of these sectors and 50% of our sales come from customer referrals which always makes me smile.
Image Credit: Kafoodle | Example of spec sheet displayed on an iPad
Q: How are you measuring your success?
A: We have key OKR’s we track against and track both product, financial and impact metrics. The financial metrics are the easiest to track and we have a revenue target and are focusing on increasing our MRR which is pretty standard in SaaS businesses. We are also looking at refining the way we track our impact on society and specifically those who benefit both from using our software at work and those that benefit from the results of correct nutrition such as in care homes. We have had great anecdotal evidence from how the software helped hospital staff during COVID and the assurance it gives carers in care homes and now we want to formalise and scale that impact.
Q: How do you manage the duality between driving new business and overseeing daily operations?
A: This is one of the toughest things I found to manage as you have to keep an eye on the whole business from HR to sales to product all the time. However, as we have grown, I manage this by having a great team who support me in the daily operations. I think it’s always important to know what your strengths and weaknesses are and I believe self-awareness is one of the most valuable traits in a person. Once you know what you do well and what you need support on you can put the right people in place that allow you to drive the business. In the beginning, I think it’s very easy to fall into the mindset that you need to do everything and be good at everything as a founder.
Q: Do you have a plan B if your venture isn’t successful?
A: I have read a lot of articles that say you should have a plan B and I’m not sure I do, I have been doing Kafoodle for almost 6 years and think when and if it all ends I’d love to have a food truck somewhere warm selling ice coffees and cakes. I am not sure I will ever be able to say goodbye to the hospitality industry and would like to think I would stay quite close to it. Although I have always thought it might be fun to do a product next time instead of SaaS…
Q: Do you see this as UK centric or will you conquer the world by going global?
A: As our product has grown, becoming a full commercial kitchen management tool and being able to easily manage nutrition as well as food allergens we definitely see it as a global opportunity. Food legislation in the UK is becoming stricter and there are various allergen and labelling laws in quite a few countries that combined with consumer demand to know more about what is in their food leaves us well placed to expand into more markets over the coming years.
Q: What’s one piece of advice you’d give to budding innovators taking the same journey?
A: It’s not the right advice for everyone and it happened by accident for me but your business should be your passion. I was lucky that I found a problem in the food industry, an industry I was already involved in and passionate about. It’s hard being an entrepreneur and you will need all the stamina and grit you can muster and I think this is made easier if you are loving the journey and truly passionate about the problem you are solving.
“The happiest and most successful people I know don’t just love what they do, they’re obsessed with solving an important problem, something that matters to them,” Dropbox co-founder Drew Houston said during the 2013 MIT commencement address.
Learn more about Tarryn Gorre and Kafoodle here: www.kafoodle.com