Empowering stress-free, safe dining experiences

Product Experience

Problem Space

Problem Discovery

While thinking through the experiences of many people we all know and also having children who have food intolerances, we are constantly faced with issues of eating out in public. We’re restricted to certain restaurants for the kids, and I’m someone who wants variety.

Knowing this, I knew that this was a struggle area for many individuals who have food allergies, medical food restrictions, dietary restrictions, and religious/cultural food restrictions, that they often face when eating out.

When researching other products and applications on the market that cater to food allergies and food restrictions, I wasn’t able to find anything to assist.
I was faced with long Google Searches and research of restaurants that cater to what I was needing for my children.
Others were also faced w/ time extensive, time consuming, and stressful research in order for them to navigate eating out in public.

Problem Space 

According to recent studies, over 12 million Americans have food allergies or restrictions, which can make dining out in public a challenging experience. Restaurants are the second most common place for food reactions to occur, and individuals with food allergies/restrictions face significant challenges in finding safe and suitable dining options.

Further, there are Americans who have food restrictions based on diet and cultural/religious reasons. According to research, “A small minority – 9% – of U.S. adults identifies as either strict vegetarians or vegans (3%) or as mostly vegetarian or vegan (6%). The vast majority of Americans (91%) say they are neither vegetarian nor vegan.” Dietary Research

Adding more factors into the complication of Food restrictions in the United States, approximately 1.1% of Americans identify as Muslim. This equates to 3.45 million Americans and growing. Data for Muslim Americans These Americans who identify as Muslim have food restrictions related to religion and this can pose issues for this population when they eat out in public. If they stray from their religious/cultural diet, not only does this pose harm for their beliefs but also for their bodies as they have adjusted their bodies from a biochemical degree. Nutritional Factors for Culture/Religious diet

Considering our focus on chain restaurants, we find it easier to address the religious food restrictions of the Muslim community. Many chain restaurants already offer Halal options, making it more feasible to accommodate the needs of this growing population. With the Muslim community increasing in the United States, it is important to address their specific requirements and ensure our product meets their needs.

Problem Background  

The current process of researching restaurants and menus is time-consuming, stressful, and can pose risks for individuals with food allergies or dietary restrictions. Even with extensive research, there is a chance of encountering foods that do not align with their dietary preferences or cultural/religious eating practices. This can lead to stress, anxiety, and a diminished dining experience.

The lack of reliable information on restaurant menus and the potential for allergic reactions or cross-contamination makes it difficult for individuals to make informed decisions when eating out.
To address these challenges, SafeEATS is a mobile application that aims to simplify the research process and enhance the overall dining experience for individuals with food allergies or restrictions.

SafeEATS intends to provide users with a reliable source of information on restaurants that cater to their specific dietary needs and avoid cross-contamination risks. By putting the safety of users in their own hands, the application empowers individuals to make informed and confident dining decisions. SafeEATS takes on the responsibility of conducting research and analysis, allowing users to focus on enjoying their meals without worrying about potential allergic reactions or dietary conflicts.

Research Insights

Social media was utilized to recruit potential users who have either food allergies, intolerances, and restrictions (Related to dietary and religious/cultural and medical).

We had over 13 users participate in the combined user surveys and interviews to understand their pain points they were faced with going out to eat in public with their various food safety concerns.

User Pain Points

Users had indicated the following pain points:

  1. Time-consuming research: Users find it tedious and time-consuming to search for restaurants and menu options that meet their specific dietary needs. They struggle to find reliable information on the internet, which often leaves them uncertain about whether a restaurant can accommodate their food allergies, restrictions, or intolerances.
  2. Lack of in-the-moment experiences: Users feel unable to enjoy spontaneous dining experiences with friends, family, or co-workers because they need to research menus in advance. They cannot make informed decisions on the spot and often have to decline invitations or spend time researching instead of engaging in the moment.
  3. Uncertainty and limited options: Even with advance knowledge of where they will be dining, users still face uncertainty about whether the restaurant will offer suitable options for them. They may end up with limited or no choices, leading to frustration and the inability to enjoy a meal.

Overall, these pain points highlight the need for a solution that simplifies the research process, provides reliable information, and allows users to confidently and comfortably dine out without the stress of uncertainty or limited options.
SafeEATS aims to address these pain points by empowering users with comprehensive and accurate information on restaurant menus and accommodations for specific dietary needs.


The preliminary research indicated that the problem lies within the space of time consuming research and the inability to know the menu in advance or options within the area that cater to the needs of the users based on their individual allergies, restrictions, and intolerances.

Solution Explanation
After conducting thorough research and analysis, we have developed a solution that addresses the pain points of our users.

Our solution aims to streamline the research process for users, allowing them to spend more time finding a restaurant that suits their specific needs, rather than getting lost in time-consuming internet searches.

We have identified two key features that cater to the requirements of our three User Personas, which were discovered during our user interviews conducted as part of our research:

Location-based Search: We have implemented a search feature that takes into account the user's individual location. This feature helps users narrow down their options and find nearby restaurants that offer food options suitable for their dietary preferences.

Advanced Filtering: We have incorporated a comprehensive filtering system utilizing Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, that allows users to specify their allergens, restrictions (dietary, religious/cultural), and intolerances. This feature enables users to refine their search results and find restaurants that align with their specific needs.

By focusing on these key features, our solution empowers users to efficiently discover restaurants that meet their requirements and saves them valuable time that can be better spent enjoying their dining experience.

To ensure success, we are considering adding an additional workflow feature that allows users to rate how our application helped them find a restaurant, and measures their feelings of being informed and confident from the usage of the application, along with having a more positive dining experience, similar to Uber's driver rating system.

One of our target metrics is to have 75% of app users report feeling more informed and confident when eating out, while 90% of app users report having a positive dining experience with the help of our application, SafeEATS. We plan to measure these metrics internally within the application by collecting data on workflow usage from users.

Although the workflow feature was not prioritized in the current sprint due to time constraints, it remains an area of focus for future iterations of our product portfolio.

Lofi & Hifi Mockup

Early designs in the lo-fi wireframes did not have a cohesive branding look so I made all buttons fully rounded rectangles and added more negative space. I also removed redundant items like “Find a Restaurant” to highlight the important phrases to draw the user’s attention to them. Perhaps most importantly, I changed the design of the multi select sections from dropdowns to keep the users from having to scroll down while scrolling down and make it much easier to add, switch, and remove their choices. 

Early designs did not have a “back” navigation button in an intuitive position for the user so in later hi-fi mockups, I shifted it to a more intuitive position: top left. Furthermore, the “next” button was not indicative of the user flow in the digital wireframe so after careful consideration I changed the content to present the user with a CTA to signify that the input user flow has concluded and it is time to see the output. In the same vein, I changed the content from “Saved” to “Favorite” and amended the corresponding icons accordingly -Omone (UX Designer)

Iterative Design Learnings

During the design phase of our solution, we encountered challenges in creating a user-friendly interface that seamlessly integrated various filters while maintaining an appealing visual design. Our goal was to develop an interface that allowed users to effortlessly select their preferences while also providing an aesthetically pleasing experience.

Additionally, we faced difficulties in implementing the User Segment for users with cultural/religious food restrictions, as well as those with additional dietary restrictions such as vegan, vegetarian, and pescatarian diets. To overcome these challenges, we conducted extensive secondary research and engaged in user interviews specifically tailored to these user groups. This allowed us to gather valuable feedback and insights directly from the target audience.

The insights gained from the user research and interviews played a crucial role in shaping the development of our solution. We carefully considered the needs, preferences, and technological feasibility of our diverse user base to ensure that our mobile application catered to their specific requirements. By incorporating these findings, we aimed to create a solution that effectively addressed the challenges faced by individuals with varying dietary needs and provided them with a seamless and tailored experience.

Future Design Implementation Considerations:

Based on the feedback received from users during the prototype showcase and user feasibility testing, we have identified important considerations for future design iterations of SafeEATS. These considerations encompass branding, design, and technology aspects:

  1. Clarify the "Browse" Function: During testing, two out of four users found the "Browse" function confusing. It is crucial to differentiate between the initial "browse" screen that appears after selecting filtered items and the "browse" navigation feature that displays all nearby restaurants, which may not always cater to their needs. By refining the labeling and user flow, we can enhance the clarity and usability of the browsing experience.

  2. Improve Homepage/Login Messaging: Users expressed confusion about the application's purpose solely based on the homepage/login screen. They felt that the name "SafeEATS" alone was not descriptive enough to convey the app's functionality. In response, we are actively working on improving the branding and messaging to ensure that users have a clear understanding of what the application offers from the moment they access it.

  3. Metrics within the User Flow Design: We aim to implement a seamless process for collecting user data to measure the success of enhancing user confidence and information while using our application. This collection of data will be seamlessly integrated into the work and user flow, benefiting both the users and the overall strategy and operations of the application.

These future design implementations aim to address user confusion, improve clarity, and enhance the overall user experience of SafeEATS. By considering these findings, we can refine the design, branding, and technology of the application to better meet the needs and expectations of our users.

Go To Market Strategy

During the initial 8-week sprint, we focused on executing our product and ensuring alignment within our team. Technical feasibility and timeline considerations played a crucial role in determining the features we could implement within the given timeframe, leveraging the combined strengths of our team.

The data we collected was a small data set with a limited number of participants for our research, 13 in total. Our primary goal for the MVP is to also further develop and capture more data for what works and does not work for us to continue to iterate.

As we continued to develop our product in the Solution space, we recognized the importance of defining a robust Go-To-Market (GTM) strategy. We explored various aspects of marketship and partnerships to drive adoption and revenue generation.

A significant aspect of our strategy is the potential partnership with small-town restaurant owners, which offers mutual benefits. By collaborating with us, these restaurants can enhance their customer base, while SafeEATS can generate revenue.
To evaluate this opportunity, we intend to gather data from users who interact with the restaurants and place orders to these restaurants, through our platform, where they are sent to the individual restaurant website. This data will be instrumental in demonstrating the leads and clientele we generate for these establishments. Additionally, we can analyze the data to provide insights into the menu items that resonate with the clientele, helping the restaurants better understand their market.

As part of our go-to-market strategy, we initially targeted chain restaurants for the launch of our application instead of small-town restaurants. This strategic decision allows for seamless expansion across multiple states, focusing on larger chains before venturing into niche small-town restaurants. Chain restaurants typically have easily accessible menus available online, which require minimal updates when integrating them into our application.

To include small and local restaurants in our application, we need to consider the frequency of menu and restaurant reviews to ensure they are still operational and available to customers in the area. Currently, this consideration is scheduled for a future timeframe. By prioritizing chain restaurants initially, we ensure a smooth integration process and pave the way for future inclusion of smaller establishments.

Additionally, we explored potential revenue and partnership opportunities with established platforms like UberEats and DoorDash for larger-scale business collaborations.

To secure larger partnerships, we aim to leverage the data collected to demonstrate the number of leads generated for their platforms and restaurants. We also are further seeking to understand how revenue is generated for restaurants by platforms like DoorDash and UberEats.

Another consideration was accommodating changing menus, particularly for small-town restaurants where menu changes occur more frequently. Finding a scalable solution for menu updates would be crucial for us to consider as we continue to scale.

In our quest to streamline the user flow, we are planning to incorporate mechanisms to collect user data and feedback. For example, we plan to include a pop-up after a successful restaurant search, prompting users to provide feedback similar to how users rate their Uber drivers. This feedback loop would not only provide valuable insights for enhancing user experience but also offer business-oriented feedback for further improvements.

By focusing on these GTM strategies and considerations, we aim to drive user adoption, forge valuable partnerships, and continuously improve the SafeEATS application based on user feedback and data-driven insights.

Implementation Details 

Technical implementation

Where is it hosted?: Currently our mobile application is pending on the Apple Store.

Our Prototype can be accessed at:

What is your tech stack?

Front-end: React Native

Backend: Firebase

Tools: VSCode, Git & Github

High level journey of a request


  1. We decided instead of going with a Web Application that it would meet the needs of our users better to develop a Mobile Application as most users in the U.S. want a streamlined approach and easy approach that is a one-stop shop and click.
  2. It was decided that the Authentication part of the app should be given a low priority and the focus should be on the restaurant search and recommendations.

Technical challenges

What was the hardest part of development?
Frontend: Setting up the app and printing a simple”Hello World” on the phone screen simulator to get started with the development, was by far the hardest part, since I had no previous experience with mobile app development and therefore it took me 3 days to figure it out.
Backend: Linking up the prototype front end with the backend is quite challenging because of the fact that we are working independently on each part.

Does your app have any scaling issues?
Frontend: Yes. Navigation functionality needs to be optimized because at the moment there are some issues when we switch from one page to another. If I don’t have time to fix it before the program finishes, I’ll need to focus on it after our final demo presentation.
Backend: Firebase is a backend as a service and scaling the backend to accommodate for increased traffic will not be a challenge. However over-reliance on API services (e.g Spoonacular) can cause challenges in the long run.

What are some key takeaways?
Front-End: Making the app simple and straightforward to navigate through; leaving the website available also for users that don’t have an account in our app.
Back-End:  Developing a mobile app is a complex and time-consuming process. It is important to have a clear vision for the app by prioritizing features and to be prepared to invest the time and resources necessary to bring it to market.

Future Steps

Moving forward, our focus is on further developing our mobile application and expanding our brand presence. We are actively researching monetization options and exploring potential workflow integrations with industry leaders such as DoorDash and UberEats to enhance our service offerings.
This first launch will open many doors for all of us and will be a learning opportunity from a business operations and strategy perspective. We plan to continue to remain flexible and adopt, as needed, on what our users are indicating should be implemented further.
Until we are launched, we are planning on the above referenced future steps.

End Result Considerations for Operations & Strategy:

As we continue to build and scale our application, we are considering the following aspects from a business perspective. While these were initially out of scope for our initial sprint and product build, they hold significant value and are actively being evaluated for future enhancements:

  1. User Engagement: We are exploring ways to provide continued reasons for users to utilize our application. This includes considering features that cater to users interested in trying new foods and discovering new restaurants. We are also actively exploring adding in a social media aspect for reviews and ratings from the users to be able to continue to add and rate further on the application.

  2. User Retention: We are analyzing the motivations for users to return to our application more frequently. We aim to create a strong return on investment for our users, ensuring they find value in utilizing the application beyond their initial experiences. We are also exploring how to integrate different user segments, such as busy parents who may not dine out as frequently.

  3. Leveraging Notifications: We are considering how to effectively utilize notifications to remind users about the offerings available on our application. By leveraging strategic and personalized notifications, we can enhance user engagement and encourage them to explore the platform regularly.

These considerations are essential to our long-term strategy and will help us continually add value to our application, improve user satisfaction, and drive sustainable growth.


Product Manager Learnings:

Brittany Bruney

Co.Lab has been an exciting opportunity of growth for me in my career. I was able to take my prior knowledge of Product and Product Design and bridge the knowledge gap on the technical side with my Developers. It’s helped me become more Agile in my every day projects and further has become an amazing opportunity to build on my leadership skills. I am leaving Co.Lab with a thorough understanding of the product life cycle and also how to continuously to actively communicate with my team for a successful product build out. It is immensely important to continue to communicate with your team and build a team environment where everyone feels heard. -Brittany

Designer Learnings:

Eniola Omone Oshiafi

While designing the  app, I learned that the first ideas are only the beginning of the process. Usability studies and peer feedback influenced each iteration of the app’s designs: from the logo to the hi-fi mockups. I also learned how to work in a cross-functional codependent team working toward a hard deadline. It helped put my role in perspective: narrowing and expanding the scope to support the developers’ skills and chosen software. From an accessibility standpoint, I learned even more about  accessible color palettes, fonts, content, and being mindful of hierarchical headings: most important compared to least important. -Omone

Developer Learnings:

Michele Bessa

Through Co.Lab I have deeply learned how to work with a tech team and now understand my limitations when it comes to developing an application, since each person in the team is limited to their own task (which is what makes the outcome great). I have also learned a new language, React Native, and learned how to develop a mobile app, which are definitely going to be a big plus in my Software Engineer career. -Michelle

Developers Learnings:

Nuruddeen Umar Sambo


Co.Lab has been instrumental in enhancing my knowledge and expertise in the end-to-end software delivery process, encompassing design, development, deployment, and marketing. Through this invaluable experience, I have gained a comprehensive understanding of collaborating with individuals from diverse time zones, cultures, and countries, enabling us to successfully achieve our objectives. The guidance provided by mentors has played a pivotal role in unleashing the team's full potential, facilitating optimal decision-making and ensuring seamless team dynamics. In conclusion, my journey with Co.Lab has fostered personal growth, driving me to constantly challenge myself and provided me with the remarkable opportunity to collaborate with a world-class team of exceptional individuals. -Nuruddeen

Full Team Learning

As a team we have all learned the importance of juggling multiple aspects within the product life cycle along with understanding the roles each person individually has within the product;.We have been challenged in various ways to work together for us to succeed in an async work environment due to time constraints.Despite the many challenges and various setbacks that we encountered as a team we were able to push through and find solutions that came our way, together. -Brittany

Through Co.Lab I’ve also improved my multitasking skills, as I’ve been working on different aspects at the same time, such as developing the app, executing product manager demands, participating in meetings with my team several times a week, etc. -Michelle