PROVO – A group of locals thrown together during Provo’s Startup Weekend have come up with a better way for someone to find food carts and trucks than pounding the pavement.
Nom Nom Finder is an app that maps users’ favorite food trucks and carts, showing which ones are nearby.
Nom Nom Finder, voted fan-favorite at the conference, was designed, organized and coded in 48 hours as part of Provo’s first Startup Weekend.
“It came from being hungry,” said Nom Nom Finder co-founder and creator Hala Saleh.
She said that more than once, she would finish eating lunch somewhere only to drive by a favorite food truck that she would have preferred. When she found out there would be food trucks nearby during the conference, it struck an idea.
“I would love to have an app that would let me know where (food trucks) are at,” Saleh said.
She pitched the idea to the conference. A product manager by profession, she needed a team to help her reach out to vendors, conduct research, design the branding, code the app and handle social media. Her idea drew a team Saleh said she couldn’t have hand picked better herself.
“I think we were crazy lucky to have the team come together like it did,” Mark Leck, who joined the team as a project manager.
Leck attended the conference as a sponsor, but upon hearing Saleh’s idea, joined the team.
“I just thought it was a fun idea, it was practical, it was something I could see myself using personally. I travel a lot,” Leck said. “When you jump into places like that and you’re looking for those little awesome places to eat, you can never find them unless you’re a local. This seemed like an inside track.”
The team was able work efficiently and quickly because they could narrow their scope, iOS developer Mark Shultz said. The team also pulled heavily on its resources for research and feedback, said Eli Kerr, who ran marketing and business development on the project. Members of the team were able to “inspire people to follow” them he added.
“I think that’s one thing that makes our team really powerful," Kerr said. "We’re willing to do the uncommon or extraordinary."
Using its research showing that people wanted to eat at food trucks but didn’t know where to find them, the team approached vendors, asking them to list their location with the app.
Food trucks and carts that have joined in Salt Lake include Food Cartel crepes, Off the Grid SLC, The Curryer, Charming Beard coffee and Amour Spreads.
While they were all excited about the concept, the team is also fascinated by the execution and startup model.
“I have proof in my hands that this is something we can do, you can do as a company, as a team,” Saleh said. “It’s been really powerful that way for me.”
Nom Nom Finder will be released by the end of spring 2014. To check in on its progress, follow the team on Facebook.