There are so many places to eat out in Newcastle these days that deciding where to go can be difficult.
Would you trust an App to make that decision for you?
If you ask Jessica Koncz, the answer is yes. The 24-year-old Novocastrian has launched an App called Crave that links people to food. She describes it as “personalised dish-based discovery”.
In a nutshell, you tell the App what you feel like eating, how far you are prepared to travel to get it, how much you want to spend and if you have any dietary requirements. The App uses filters to narrow your search and applies it to participating restaurants, bars and cafes. You are then presented with anonymous photos of compatible dishes.
It is a little like Tinder, really. You swipe right when you see a dish you like the look of and the App will connect you to the venue who made it.
This is not a meal-delivery service like Uber Eats (rumour has it that service will be rolled out in Newcastle sooner rather than later, too). Crave is about connecting you to a dish.
The App itself is free but this is a business venture and venues pay Crave for the exposure. They have to select 10 dishes to promote from their respective menus and each dish is photographed and added to the App where it waits to be “discovered”.
Crave launched just three weeks ago and there are already 24 businesses on board. Koncz’s brother, Jordan, built the App and her other brother, Ben, runs a digital agency and “has been a mentor from the very beginning”.
Koncz grew up in Cooranbong, attended Avondale College and has lived in Newcastle for the past five years. She has been working in cafes and restaurants since she was 14 and, despite receiving an ATAR of 94, chose not to go to university. Her dream was to open a cafe and restaurant so she completed an advanced diploma in hospitality management at Hamilton TAFE.
Her love of food and technology soon overlapped. Koncz started managing social media for the restaurants she was working at while taking photos of food and posting them on Instagram.
A new and exciting idea began to take shape. Now she is in charge of a team of seven and is hoping to launch Crave in Sydney “and go from there”.
“It all happened really organically. It’s super exciting but a bit surreal, to be honest,” she said.