Appetite, an app for discovering and booking restaurants, is aiming to streamline the process of planning nights out with friends and family. After beta testing the app with 14,000 users, the startup is now releasing Appetite to everyone in the United Kingdom, with expansions planned for Europe and the United States.
Founded in May 2023 by Toby Green, Appetite lets users create dining group chats, sync calendars, vote on dining options, and secure reservations. The app leverages AI and word-of-mouth recommendations to offer users personalized suggestions for restaurants and bars.
“Appetite stemmed from the tedious process of arranging an evening out with my friends. The process felt fragmented, frustrating, and often outdated,” Green told TechCrunch. “Navigating from WhatsApp to coordinate schedules with friends, to Google for often unreliable restaurant reviews, and then to a booking site—only to discover the chosen restaurant is fully booked—creates a disjointed and frustrating user experience. We wanted to create an all-in-one platform where our users could get real-time, personalized suggestions of available spots, effortlessly coordinate plans with friends, and ultimately enjoy exceptional, hassle-free dining experiences.”
The app features a feed that lets users share and discover restaurant lists and recommendations from their friends, followers and favorite creators. There’s also a “For You” page where users receive personalized recommendations. Appetite analyzes each user’s interactions, and looks at their restaurant lists and reservations, while extracting insights from the preferences of their followers and favorite creators to offer personalized recommendations that one might expect from a friend.
Appetite includes a “Groups” feature that allows users to create group chats where they can sync calendars, vote on dining options, and receive AI-generated recommendations based on the preferences of the entire group. In addition, Appetite includes an AI chatbot, nicknamed “Pierre Pomme,” that learns from the tastes of you and your friends to provide recommendations for restaurants and bars.
Green says Appetite’s target demographic is 25 to 34 year olds because he believes this age group represents food lovers who regularly dine out and are open to culinary exploration. The startup’s decision to target this group is backed by a combination of its own marketing insights and third-party data, Green says.
“Going forward, we have our sights set on capturing the attention of the 18-24 age demographic,” Green said. “We see that this age group’s dining habits are heavily influenced by content creators, especially those on TikTok. As we begin to weave creator-generated video content into Appetite’s platform, we expect to align our marketing strategies to resonate with this influential and growing audience.”
Appetite recently closed a $2 million seed round in September from a few angel investors, including Sarah Maxwell, Jonathan Grad, Alok Oberoi and Lisa Tchenguiz. The startup is using the funding to accelerate growth and bring on talent in marketing, product development and strategic partnerships to expand its 17-person team.
In terms of the future, Appetite plans to add additional features in coming months. The startup is currently developing a discord-style community feature that will allow users to request and share recommendations, post reviews, and organize food-related events. The company also plans to integrate video reviews into the platform by working with its own pool of content creators and influential foodies.
In addition, Appetite aims to support its growing pool of content creators by facilitating exclusive in-app creator content. The company is in the process of working with various celebrities, chefs, and influencers to offer monetized content on its app, such as a cocktail-making masterclass, exclusive recipes from chefs, and personalized city guides.
“Whilst our current focus is on growing the user base, we are also mindful of the need to create an app that users want to return on a daily basis,” Green said. “As such, we plan to implement gamification in various ways throughout the app. We are working with our strategic partners to offer a wide range of different rewards and discounts based on user interactions with gamified features.”