Tell Us How to Make It Better

Special Diets Dining Out App Is On The Way

March 28, 2022 George Siegal Season 1 Episode 31
Tell Us How to Make It Better
Special Diets Dining Out App Is On The Way
Show Notes Transcript

March 28, 2022
31.  
Special Diets Dining Out App Is On The Way

If you’ve ever faced the challenge of finding a healthy place to eat, this week’s guest has created an app for that. Multipotentialite Charles Burns’ app is called Allergi, and it could be a game-changer when choosing where to dine.

Here are some important moments with Charles in the podcast: 

At 2:02 What was it like being on the European version of The Apprentice?

At 15:25 How will you gather all the information you need for the Allergi App to be worthwhile to people?

At 20:09 What are the obstacles you are running in to as you try to get restaurants on-board?

The best way to reach Charles is through LinkedIn: Https://www.linkedin.com/in/charlesoliverburns 

You’ll also find Charles on Instagram and Twitter: @charlesoliverburns

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George Siegal:

Tell Us How to Make It Better is partnering with The Readiness Lab, the home for podcast webinars and training in the field of emergency and disaster services.

Charles Burns:

One of the biggest things I tell people, and the biggest mistakes people make is you have an idea for something let's take allergy for example, you go and you Google it and you see, oh, there's a company called a find my food. I don't know whatever it's called. Right. And then you go, ah, it's done, been done a year. They tell you, you your partner and your family. I had this idea, but. Well, so. That's the biggest thing, you know, just because someone else is doing it doesn't mean you can't find an angle that is different or better, or you can improve upon it and all the rest of it. And often the fact that someone is already doing it tells you that there's a market there. Often if nobody's doing it, it's actually the reverse. It's actually not necessarily a good thing because people might have tried to do it and it might failed.

George Siegal:

I'm George Segal. And this is the Tell Us How to Make It Better podcast. Every week, we introduce you to people who are working on real-world problems and providing actual solutions. Hi, everybody. Thank you so much for joining me on this week's Tell Us How to Make It Better podcast. Every week. I try to introduce you to somebody who has recognized a problem that exists out there, somewhere in the world, and rather than complain about it, they're trying to come up with a solution or a way to make it better. My guest today is multipotentialite Charles Burns. He's a serial entrepreneur, podcaster, author, and motivational speaker. He's also known for his appearance in front of 7 million people on the UK version of the apprentice. Charles. Welcome.

Charles Burns:

Thank you for having me. I really appreciate it.

George Siegal:

Yeah. Thank you so much for coming on. 7 million people on the apprentice. I mean, that just jumped right out of me. What was that like for you?

Charles Burns:

It's it's actually quite crazy because I try and explain to people. So, so in the UK population fluctuate the estimates, but let's say it's 70 million just for ease of numbers. So it's one in 10 people in the UK are watching that show. It's on every week is prime time.

It's eight or 9:

00 PM on a Wednesday on BBC, which is one of the major channels over here. And what no one could prepare you for and they give you a little bit of a kind of heads-up when you're filming and to media train, they call it is being recognized all the time, everywhere by everyone. No matter this show in the UK funds and all age demographics, rather race, religion, everything. It's just a very popular show. And when you take out, say toddlers on that number and say, you know, the older population, you, you, you go to like a restaurant. You know, your average age between 20 and 50 or whatever, 60, maybe. It's more like one in five or know who you are. And so, you know, with us, I suppose for people, like imagine then like you're in a restaurant and people can watch you all the time. You can't eat because, you know, people will ask phone for photos or ask a question and, you know, there's one thing that I learned from being in that spot and let's call it being recognized rather than famous, even though it's kind of the same thing, is that whenever you meet someone that you, you you are fond of that you've seen you're on a podcast or you don't know them, but you know of them through them and off the role or when you're as the filmmaker, whatever. Like make sure when you're speaking to them, you're asking interesting questions because what you don't want to do is lead with the what I call the, the FAQ's, the fruit and ask questions. Most people will come and ask you the same question and they don't realize that me as a, an individual, like I won't engage the conversation. And if all you're asking is the most basic of basic questions in the UK, the question is asked and that show is, does it really only take 20 minutes to get changed in the morning? Is that the most interesting question that you have for me? And that basically, you know, what happens.

George Siegal:

Yeah, but there's a problem with that too. I used to work in television news and so people around town would know who, who I was. If you're having a bad day, you're in a bad mood and you snap at somebody or you don't treat them very well for whatever reason, and you're certainly entitled to your bad days, that's their impression of you. So they're going to go around saying that that guy, Charles was an asshole and you might be the nicest guy in the world, but that's all they're going to ever talk about. And they'll tell everybody.

Charles Burns:

Yes. So I was very mindful of that. And aware of that. So I, and it's very tiring actually through like trying to even to be not in the best space and someone comes up to you and, you know, I don't recall and not no more to book. I don't remember once having turned one down in that conversation. Even if it wasn't the right space, so I'd always try and do our best. And also. I would get a lot of tweets or social media from, from generally younger people asking for, or even parents, . Can you send a happy birthday wish to this one and that one and the other one. And I always obliged because my view is like, if the shoe was on the other foot, I would love the person that I want to do that to do the same thing. So I always made, made it my point to, to, to do the best I could, I suppose, in that, in that way.

George Siegal:

Yeah. I remember to this day, all the celebrities that were that were rude to me, I have my hit list of celebrities that, that people, that weren't nice. How far did you make it on the show?

Charles Burns:

So the show runs for 12 weeks. Well, 12 weeks in TV time and I made it through to eight weeks. So that's like three quarters or something or yeah . George Siegal: Did you ever that show when it was on here? Do you ever see any of that? Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I mean, if you've watched the two shows there are it's quite similar. So our version of Donald Trump has a guy called Lord Alan Sugar. He's also a billionaire. He's also very opinionated. He and Donald Trump if you look back in Twitter still comes in on Twitter. They have spats all the time because Donald Trump like kind of owns the show kind of not. So he's like, I own you, I own Sugar. And like, you know what, Donald Trump likes.

George Siegal:

We can move on from that. Okay. So getting back to the re the reason I had you on here, I just gotta get off on this other thing, because I find it so fascinating to to, to know I'm in the presence of a true celebrity, which which makes it so much more fun. What is the problem or issue that you identified that you're working on right now?

Charles Burns:

Sure. So. I think it was pretty much three years ago next week or in the next few weeks I had been struggling with my dietary. I didn't know this was a problem with stomach issues, go with that. And I went to see a gastroenterologist and a few different ones. And eventually, because my ethnicity I'm Jewish it's quite common because of the small gene pool that lactose intolerance is pretty common thing and not to boil the detail. It's pretty, it's pretty straightforward. Lactose intolerance is basically where a person does not have the required level of lactase, which the . Enzyme to digest lactose in their system. And being of a, like an ethnic minority, I suppose, in some respects what tends to happen is the gene pools obviously with the way they work, but with lactase, Jewish will tend to have less of it anyway. So say as a threshold bar, we'll have like a little bit above the threshold and if you'd say got common cold or anything, you can just lose the amount of lactase you need and you can't get it back. There are pills you can take, but naturally you can't ever get that by. So that's, that was one thing. And then it also figured out a bit later kind of by tinkering that gluten as well was all something that I'm not a celiac going to see. Like it's somewhere it's actually a genuine illness because the body attacks itself. I mean, it's just an incomplete. You know, point placed to basically the glutens as well. And so I'm lining up, Nothing special whatsoever online on lazy Chinese restaurant, a food court. And I guess to the front end this is, this is great. And I've never seen one before because why would. I so look at this grid and across, you know, is the dishes there and then there's the different allergies. And there are 14 major allergens that in the European union of which the UK still involved from a legal perspective and will be going forward in this. Every restaurant has to report upon every single dish within this 14 allergens. So I'm looking, I'm scanning it and I kind of had a sense of it and I speak to the server. They've got no idea and I ended up eating something and whatnot, and I go with my table. Maybe in may, I'm like, this is really bad. Like, surely this is the first time I've ever experienced this, but surely gluten tolerance is not a new thing. Lactose tolerance is not a new thing or any diet should count as not a new thing. Everyone has their own, even if it's just, I don't want to eat meat today or won't eat meat whatever it is. So I was like, okay, they must be out there something in the technology. The reason that we're looking at technology space is because it has a broader course, brought a base, has more people, has a global reach. So I looked around the app store, sure enough there's nothing out there. I spent a day and I really went deep and I look to what the business plan could be. And I was in a really creative space things like actually I struggled something that I thought was fantastic. So had the logo down and I had all these things down within a very, very short space of time and I sent it or post about it. I'm not quite sure which to a friend of mine who lives in the states. And he happens to have loads of allergies and has had them for years, nuts and fish and all the rest of it before it would popular you know. He is one of the originals and then he's like, did you come up with this? Cause this is sensational. I'm like, well, I mean, I did. Yeah. I mean, I think it's a great idea too, but like, you know, he was raving about it and honestly I have a sense and I'm not saying this in an arrogant way or anything like that, but everyone meets someone who explains to them what we're working on. It's so, so self-explanatory influenced on the need. If you're not in that environment yourself, or you need the the app. Then when I talk to in a second everyone gets it and understands why it has a global impact for good.

George Siegal:

Sure. As soon as I heard about it from you, I was like, I was all over it because I, I have much the same dietary challenges that you do. In fact, I went to a Chinese restaurant down the street from here. The first day I went in, I told them what I was allergic to and they said, oh, we have a dish for you. And I ate there for two years and one day I called to order and they go, we don't make anything. Gluten-free here. Because the guy was so stupid at the counter. He didn't even know what I was talking about. So I was eating that and I was always wondering why I didn't feel great after eating food over there. So most restaurants don't even know they are not, and they could kill somebody. Fortunately, I didn't have a deathly allergy, but their lack of putting the right person at the front desk, it could kill you.

Charles Burns:

It's a, it's really frightening. And I say, for me, I'm fortunate that the, my personal dietary requirements are and it just, shall we say I can eat tiny amounts here now, but I, I tend to not. But of course there are people out there where you have an actual milk allergy, or as you mentioned, a celiac with a gluten allergy where actually the body starts to attack itself, blood vessels constrict you stop to stop to breathe. That's where anaphylactic shocks come in and people have heard about those things and where EpiPens come in and adrenaline to kind of loosen up the hours. But yes, it's very, very serious. I mean, in your country, in the U S. From what I understand, there are 32 or so million people registered with food allergies. So that's maybe one in 10, something of this nature. But what I say to people is like, it's not just the 32 million in the U S that it affects. It's all the family, it's all the friends, it's the colleagues, the partners, and all who around them, because you're not going to go to a restaurant there's no gluten free offering where I hope not, with someone that is in your party, you know? 2 4, 5, 6, whatever the case may be. So it really is a bigger and wider issue than just the, the, which is the large number of people that are the direct suffering from it. So it's about to what the actual solution was. I'm a very I like to, I have this thought process that believe it or not my driving instructor gave me this key ring when I passed my test and it said simplicity is genius. And I try and live by that as much as possible, because I think it's the really great way to live. And so whenever I come up with a problem in business, my life I'm like, right, what's the simplest solution. Or if I'm trying to do a business deal. I'll try, I'll call the low hanging fruit. It's the same thing in essence. So I was lots of the problem and I thought, well, really it requires an app. You want an app on your phone, whether it's a Google, Android phone or an apple iPhone you want to be able to input your dietary preferences out the forefront, which you can always alter at any time. You want to see restaurants nearby where you are. And then if you go into a different country, be able to search for those Russians as well. And then crucially, you want to be able to go into the restaurant via the app and see a customized menu of only the dishes that are applicable and you can eat everything else is just noise. And it's just, you know, more information than you need. And once you're on with that information, say it's five or 10 dishes over 50 dish or a hundred dish. Yeah. Menu. All of a sudden, if you do have a serious allergy of course, then you can call up and say, Hey, I believe the, you do a phad thai that is gluten-free. Is that actually suitable for a celiac? Because it's very different. Of course, the, the, the, how the kitchen prepare food, et cetera, is it gluten free. It doesn't mean necessarily, right for celiac, for example, but you're armed with information and you have a direct conversation that lasts a few minutes versus a back and forth over the whole menu could take a long time who is speaking with all the rest of it. And similarly, if you've got the actual restaurant itself, you just asking about a couple of dishes and it's a very specific yes or no question, rather than all this gray area where people become uncomfortable, you're in a business meeting, or a date. You spend a half an hour. I mean, I was in a restaurant the other night and it was in Munster. Went out with about eight people. I didn't know many of them including my date and I asked for I said I'm gluten-free and I'm lactose free. Now that this is also the problem is. The nicer restaurants is generally the lighting's poor. So you can't really see what you're looking at. Right? So I the British menu, a really huge money, this, the, the actual menu, then they bring me another menu, the same size, which is gluten free. Then they bring another menu the same size, which is lactose free. And then the guy goes, oh, and you also go in as a cross-reference this against this this guide we've got, because you know, if it's loose, like I was sat there and I genuinely thought to myself, I've lost my appetite. I've no interest in spending 30 minutes trying to figure out what, what kind and quantity is, is absolutely absurd.

George Siegal:

You'd have been better off bringing a sandwhich.

Charles Burns:

Right. Or just not eating. Yeah, exactly. So, so in my world the alternative would be, I've already got an idea for, with the restaurant or if I don't, I get in the restaurant, I've got my ap. I know where I'm, where I'm eating of course. I put in the restaurant name and all of a sudden I see three or five dishes find perfect Mr. waiter can I have the chicken tikka masala. Make sure it's this not new that can out of the kitchen, no problems. They'll come back and done. It's a two minute conversation and it just. It takes the onus off them a little bit. The the back of house, more comfortable, the individual's more comfortable and everyone around winning. And for me, again, every solution I come up with it and any walk of life everyone has to win. You know, I don't believe in this, this, this capitalist society where like, you know, for once a week someone's going to leave. It was like, I don't believe that's necessarily true. And so, yeah, I'm always looking for kind of, maybe for altruistic of me, I don't know, but you know, why should, why should he create a solution that only works for one side of of an equation? If you can create a solution that works multiple sides, you'll do better.

George Siegal:

So, so tell me how the us dietary challenged, win, how do you gather all that information? Because when I go on Yelp, if I go on a restaurant's menu online, if I just Google for places like that, they either, they don't have everything that they say they have online. They've gone out of business. They, you know, restaurants tend to come and go pretty quickly. How do you keep something like that fresh and accurate?

Charles Burns:

Yeah, absolutely. So, so that's a challenge. It's similar to the challenge that the likes of open table, have that in the UK would have to deliver, but you'll have the same with Postmates or Uber eats those sorts of companies. And so th th th the truth of the matter is to create something of real value like this, which has a global appeal takes time and it's small building blocks and there's no in terms of getting it into the hands of the right restaurants, there's no solution. Other than going into speaker's restaurants and getting relations with the restaurants, you know, this notion that you can, that the tech team would be scraped the data. In other words, you just put a robot onto the website and you take down the Argent data, et cetera. You can probably do that for the chains McDonald's and KFC where it's, it's pretty standardized, but most of the place people are willing to eat the independent. And they have teams that do allergens. They don't have the professional websites. Most of the team in the S in the restaurant don't even know. So that is the big trends that we're grappling with. However, once you unlock that, you start to become a very viable business if financially and I guess the way you go about that is you start in small pockets. So you start in one area. You got to put trust in the area, your market then to people who would go to those restaurants in those areas. And then it snowballs snowballs, and you build teams around that and you start to kind of expand internationally. So it'll take time, but look, you know, it's very cliche, but it, you know, I'm all about like planting little seeds and eventually you get an orchard that's, you know, with ripe fruit, if it was a, if it was slumped, dashed by it on quickly it would be done already. And it wouldn't be so appealing to me.

George Siegal:

So where are you at in the process? I mean, you know, I wish you had this thing tomorrow because we've gone out to dinner the last couple of nights, and I've been frustrated by having to ask so many questions and having to see they bring out that nasty little gluten-free menu and then you have to figure out, well, do they mean gluten free or do they mean dairy free? Do they mean vegan? Do they. All the different things. So, so where are you at?

Charles Burns:

So, so we had some great momentum when I first started the business which was 2019, 2020, of course, then the pandemic hit, which is the world's worst time to sign up like this possible. I think in the history of mankind, there enough. So that was unfortunate. And then restaurants reopened in, I think June, July of last year properly. But even then they're all in kind of like fight or flight mode trying to survive et cetera. So we kind of did a few bits. We've got some restaurants in the UK. What about a hundred restaurants? Nothing major, a few thousand users right now. But this year is where we're going to kind of push the business. So we're asked to be looking for investments. So if I didn't want to watch and listening is interested or on those people that are, then that would be really great to kind of have those conversations. And we're all looking to, to grow internationally. It may will be that we started in the states because the environment's better that potentially may we, that we start to hear, but the way we're going to start the business is we'll start with these kinds of small pockets to say in different areas and kind of neighborhoods almost, and then, you know, grow exponentially from there. But what's great with the business, once users start to go or diners rather starts to understand that while it's just so useful to me there'll be a push and pull. So there'll be, they'll go into the restaurant and say, Hey, why aren't you on this app that helps bring us obviously business and vice or versa. So whenever, when a diner goes to a restaurant for the first time and they ask, oh, do you have a gluten free menu? Or do you have any food that's availabe for an nut allergy, they'll go, Hey, download this allergy app, all the information on there. So, you know, it will start to snowball and there'll be a point in time, like a tipping point for the business in the next kind of six to 12 months where it starts to take off.

George Siegal:

Is the app going to be free to the consumer or is it gonna be one of those we have to pay for in the app store?

Charles Burns:

No, I, I firmly believe that it's, it should be free to consumer. So it's, it's currently available in the apple app store and Android app store. So please feel free to download it. And you'll find me on social media, et cetera, and emails, founder FAU, and Dr. Allergy, which is AWL. ERG. I'd go to your cabinetry. We'll pop it in the show notes. So if you've got any questions or. I think it should be in your city or your restaurant. It beads, they think could be a potentially good for all is for anything like that. Even if it's just, you don't like it because of this, this, this I'm always interested. But in terms of yeah, it's free to the consumer. And the restaurant side is where we'll be raising our revenues from plus some advertising models plus the data as well that we, that we get, et cetera. So yeah, the consumer will always be, be free to use.

George Siegal:

Now a lot of restaurants, especially the smaller ones that I've been in, because I used to, when I was doing more video production, you know, I would try to get them to do marketing videos and everything. They tend to not to want to spend money. And they were very particular about what they spent their money on. So what kind of obstacles do you run into when you try to get money out of these guys?

Charles Burns:

So, sir, I alluded to before I think one of the biggest challenges is that they think that they've got it covered. Which nine times out of 10 is, you know, and I know that they don't because the status quo is so poor. I mean, so you have an idea how bad the status quo is. I mean, in the UK, I think he's actually best in the U S because of this legal requirement to have a the information. Of these allergens, but on hand, how they actually, you know, give that across conveyor to the diner. Is it open interpretation? Most people do use these grid systems like a matrix almost. So that's, that's pretty good compared to a lot of other countries, but I mean, just for example, we had a review from a diner who downloaded the app and paraphrasing here. But she basically said that the fact that someone had taken the time and thought to solve this problem had made her cry because she can now go to the kids to eat. I like to have that effect as a, as an entrepreneur at the very early stage of your business, like tells you you're onto the right track here, and of course, if you can, you can tie that in financially. Then of course it becomes more and more lucrative. So yes, we are a profit for a business. But there was a huge social impact that we will have with this with this app.

George Siegal:

Yeah, you probably already thought about getting some big corporate sponsors for it too. That probably have had an interest in that kind of thing. What's the name of the app? What's it called? If we go to the app store?

Charles Burns:

It's called allergi. So it's spelled a or alpha Lima, Lima, echo, Romeo golf, indigo. So allergi with a, with an i rather than a Y And you should go to find the ups store. And so please let me know what you think. And you know, we're just so people understand that we are in eye level communications with some of the biggest multinational food chains globally. We're all pretty interested. So with dealing with technology businesses, like, like allergy is it just takes a bit of time to kind of, you know, one restaurant follow with another and before you know it, as it sits before, there's like snowball effect. All of a sudden, people are coming to you from the restaurant side of stuff. But yeah, our biggest challenge remaining I alluded to before is explains the restaurant. And it's not just the one or two celiacs that the C come in the restaurant, which is more and more common now, by the way, we should put you, I'm sure you're aware of, but I said to you before, it's all the other benefits. So one benefit fringe benefit being, if they provide this service. What does that say about the restaurant? What it says they care about their consumers. That's how the customer, even if that customer doesn't actually have any dietary requirements, the fact that they've gone to the lab, to the extent of making something useful, if you've, you're not that way inclined one, you're going to think, wow, this restaurant really care about what the putting in the food. This is a great thing. And two, you're probably going to recommend it's your friend, who's the vegan who's got a nut allergy. So from a marketing point of view, it's phenomenal. It's free marketing for them because you're going to go recommendations from it for a peer to peer is obviously the most lucrative one possible. So it's, and that's, that's very useful as well. And of course, as I mentioned before, the fact that if you are having a dietary requirment chances are, you're probably not eating by yourself. You're going to be the influencer that brings in lots more people into the, the table that you sought out. So it's basically just trying to educate the restaurant. As I say, just timing has been quite poor because restaurants have been in this fight or flight mode. That's in the UK starting to turn around now. I mean, I've tried to book a table last weekend, for example, and it was almost impossible. I mean, we, it wasn't possible actually. And I've got a reasonable cloud with mantra lights. and. I couldn't do anything about it. So Yeah, I think people are now dinning out more. And I think there's a, there's a part of the point. There's an appetite now for we're doing more so and what's great is that I speak to like yourself or speak to different people and the enthusiasm for what we're doing has not dwindled whatsoever over the period of time. So yeah, really exciting times.

George Siegal:

Oh, yeah, no, I, I would be all over it. Now. I, you totally lost me. When you spelled allergy that the examples you gave of the letters, how you use them? No, I've never heard that

Charles Burns:

before. I thought it was the internet last, the international phonetics. But you, do you do different with you? I would've

George Siegal:

said L as in Larry, what did you say? L as in Lima? Oh, okay. Okay. Kinda, kind of kinda

Charles Burns:

confuse me. So its a L L E R G I, there you go. Yeah,

George Siegal:

no, I definitely got that. The name's not that tough. So interestingly, when I go to a lot of places, like there's a vegan place right down the street from my house, but vegan does not mean gluten. And there's so many variables that have to be sorted through. I would think that would be a huge thing for a restaurant to be able to, to sort that out. So they don't have to explain it to everybody. If, if you could just look on that app, even if you go to this, a place that I used to go to in Texas BJ's restaurant, and they would have that grid, like you were talking about where they would list all the things in different sides, you know, you have to be a scientist to be able to figure out what's in that food. It takes the fun out of eating.

Charles Burns:

It's ridiculous. And of course, with the business that we're, we're looking into going into rather it's not just food allergies and dietary requirements. You're talking about anyone else that has got any you know, particular food that needs to other avoid other needs to be aware of. So whether it's a diabetic, whether it's someone that's calorie counting ad Infinium, you know, this there's so many why saves people. And if you don't think of dice requirements, you'll have preferences, right. You'll have a preference with type of food or have a preference for what type of dish. And, and also I was thinking of right now, if I said to you, you're in, what about, what about you base George right now? Tampa, Florida, Tampa. So if I said to you, like, where is the best Lasagna in Tampa, Florida you'll have an opinion as to everyone else, but there's no real way to quantify that right now. There's no real way to go. Oh, like that's actually the best Lasagna and whatever, whatever. So I think there's there's so much in the food space. This has not been done. I think it's very stale. That's another pod in the pond, but I think a lot of very stale you know, open table has been obviously an innovation. But for booking restaurants. And of course the proliferation of the food delivery apps has been a big thing. And now the new thing, the UK is grocery delivery option like 10 minutes or eight minutes or seven minutes. Like everyone, they throw billions at this thing, which isn't really a problem. But where do what we're solving is, is a genuine problem. I wouldn't be involved with it for the present time. I have been on, I mean, on our board, we have the co-founder of Starbucks. We have the UK's leading professor in pediatric allergy. We have some amazing data experts. We have marketing experts. We have the original sales director of open table. So, you know, these people do not get involved with businesses if there's not potential in it. So yeah, I guess watch this space pardon the pun, but I mean, it's going to be a really amazing year for us, for sure.

George Siegal:

You know, is that our temple for an event one night and they had called and said, does anybody have any dietary issues? So they had a gluten-free pizza for me and I, I went up to the woman and I said, thank you for having some food for my people. And she goes to the Jewish people? And I said, no, the gluten free people, because nobody ever worried about my people. Yeah, it is. And you feel like such a leper when you, you know, you're sitting there with six or seven people and you're asking, does it have this? Does it have that? And everybody's kind of looking at you like, wow, you're fun to dine with.

Charles Burns:

Yeah, it's horrible for it. This one to try and say, be like, it's horrible for the person eating. It's horrible for the server. It's horrible for everyone else on the table. It's horrible for the chef. It's at all round. No, one's having the time during this experience. So it's, it's really right for some innovation, some something like that, like, like the we're doing one layer I didn't mention. When you download the app and you see restaurants nearby and you go into the restaurant individuals paid and is seeing that The curator menu, the personalized menu for, for yourself, you can then click one level deep into the dish and see which allergens are in the dish. You can see which diets pertains to, and that will get more and more rich as time goes on. So I think things like photos will come in there. I think reviews of the dishes will come in there. And I really want an allergy to be a central space. For every time you go out, you go straight to there and then, then you'd go from there within the app you can book. Open table, you can buy your, you can order your food, Uber eats or whatever the case may be, but you're using allergies to that as the focal point to to decide what to eat and where to eat.

George Siegal:

Yeah, no, that sounds great. And also a note to all dessert places. When, when you think you're taking care of the gluten-free people, stop shoving macaroons down our throat. That seems to be the only thing that a lot of these places have. And I said, where did you do a survey to find out we all like macaroons? How about throwing in a chocolate chip cookie every now and then or something? Yeah, they don't care. They don't care.

Charles Burns:

And, and, and the truth is you know, I say I'm gluten Lactose free. So particularly with dessert, it is a challenge. But the girl I'm dating right now is a good example. Like she made some brownies for the night and they would sweep it. I couldn't tell that. I don't know, but it was like sweet potato, coconut flour or something. If that's even a thing or all these things taste delicious. So it's definitely possible to do it takes a bit more thought without a doubt. It tends to be healthier. Let's be honest, like gluten-free, and lactose-free as if it was a rule, you were moving a lot of fried food. You're moving a lot of milk, which we know is not really great for us if we look into it properly. But again, people are confused where, because you do some lactose free doesn't mean you're vegan and vice versa. I'm doing this all convoluted thing where it's like, as I say, like I said, a lot about complication, it's really quite simple to say, you know, I just want to know for my particular diet, what can I eat that's it that's it. I don't want anything else. I don't, I don't have to, as you say, you know, study some guides, spend 10 minutes, like really awkwardly and then order like some French fries, because it's not.

George Siegal:

You know, the one other side of that though, is a lot of times some of the ingredients they have to put in to make something gluten-free or, or vegan. They put some scary stuff in there, like Palm oil and a lot of potato starch, a lot of things that you go I don't really want to eat that either. So the other side is, will people want to eat it if they really knew what was in it, even though it didn't have gluten. Yeah.

Charles Burns:

It's very true. I, and it's interesting on that point, because in the UK come April of this year, 2022. There's a new law coming in where any restaurant with above 250 staff. So that basically means the chains that basically means the restaurant groups are quite a lot of independent restaurants in the UK that, that, that control of the higher class restaurant. Maybe you want to call them that we'll have to have current information on the menu. And I experienced this more. So when I was in the, in the states, just now with my family on vacation, And it does sway you a bit. And if you're not necessarily like looking to, you know, get a healthier option when you're seeing a dish is two and a half thousand calories over size, 12-hundred calories, you do still have to ask the question. You're like, whoa, why? And I think in the UK, particularly what's going to happen with this law. It will still trickle down at some point to the independent restaurant. But I think what's going to happen is people will start to go why is that Curry got 1500 calories? And then the restaurant will start to sell less of it. And I think then the incentive then with the restaurant was how can we make this healthier? And now calories is only want one factor. Granted, there's lots of other things going on, but I think it will be a pain in the backside for the restaurant trade to begin with. But I think it wouldn't be a good thing. The more information we have of what's been offered and why the better, I mean, I was one showing a friend. I was I was plant-based for awhile and I bought a plant-based wrap from a supermarket and it's like, yeah, but what's actually in, and I hadn't really thought about it. Cause I, at that point wasn't so familiar with the food space, I am much more now? And I thought, well, plant based must be healthy. Sounds healthy. So I turned the pack around when he's talking to me and I was horrified the way, the basic rule of thumb is if you can't pronounce and don't know what that ingredient is, it's probably not good for you. Like that's the general rule I would say. And if it's not something that you've come across in primary school or something, and you need a degree in chemical engineering from, from Harvard, then probably not the best thing. And I was, I was shocked. I couldn't believe how many ingredients there were. So with everything you've got to be super careful. I mean, you look at the, The. The big trend at the moment or has been the past year or two has been the beyond meat burgers on all of the brands that exist out there. But actually it works in those yeah, I'll be careful.

George Siegal:

Yeah. They shove a lot of soy in there and things that I wouldn't necessarily eat. You know, there's a chain here. I don't know if you have it over there at PF Chang's.

Charles Burns:

I know of it but it's not over here.

George Siegal:

Yeah. Once they started putting ingredients and calories on their menu, I stopped eating there because just broccoli with brown sauce was like 1500 calories. It was a ton of sodium and. And I was like, okay, I can't eat this. Imagine, imagine everything else I'm getting at this table. I'm probably getting 5,000 calories. And yeah,

Charles Burns:

it's really interesting. So I've been, you know, my, myself like a personal weight loss journey in the past seven months, I've shifted about 45 pounds, which is 20 kilograms for if you were watching that, that language or over three stone for watching that language. So it's quite a lot of weight. And the thing that I've th the three things that I tell, because I get asked all the time, have you done any, or if you don't, whatever of course go to the gym four or five times a week does help. No question. Of course. What people don't realize is how sedimentary our lives are. Right? So just getting two 30 minute walks one in the morning and the evening one is wellness, your mental health and get you out there. It's the music or a podcast, or you can just go in nature if we want to do. I breaks day. Lovely. And that's your 10,000 steps, which I think is a good barometer to start with. And then the third thing is this conversation is just eating more consciously. Like I've been dating this girl and I have been out the past two or three weeks. Not quite an awful lot, went to a restaurant last night. It was Chinese, for example, but it's, it's just being smart about the portion size, that you are eating, smart about like what you're eating. And I think, you know, you just feel so much better. When you eat good quality food that. Cooked properly. It's not full of all the all the nasties. And as I say, some I'm hoping my app, one thing, just to kind of really to open the lid on show people like, look like this is what's in your food. That's what he's doing. So there's some further potential with the app. I think going forward right now, the low-hanging fruit is to help people with dietary requirements, but I think longer term to be able to help people that says, Hey, like, you know, in this dish, there was this, this, this. Really you might want to avoid or, or whatever the case could be. So there's some really interesting models with it, for sure.

George Siegal:

Well, on behalf of myself, I wish you'd hurry up and get this thing done. It would make it easier for me to get out. And he eat more often. So what advice would you have for any entrepreneurs out there that, I mean, obviously this idea is taking you some time. They don't just all of a sudden go to market. What would you tell somebody who is a, is a serial entrepreneur, somebody who just wants to get started and do something, what would you encourage them to do?

Charles Burns:

Yeah. So the simplest thing is, is in, in everything you're doing in any day, say life, there's going to be things that are frustrations. Things that are annoying to you. I suppose that's the best way of putting it. And that might be something as simple as you wake up and you brush your teeth and, you don't have toothpaste or the deodorant doesn't work. So our, you have yellow on your arms or whatever the case would be a couple of simple of simple things. And it's just going, okay. Like, why is that annoying to me? Is there a solution out there? That's good enough. And then all the people have this problem that they're the kind of the three things to start with. One of the biggest things I tell people, and the biggest mistakes people make is you have an idea for something let's take allergy for example, you go and you Google it and you see, oh, there's a company called a find my food. I don't know whatever it's called. Right. And then you go, ah, it's done, been done a year. They tell you, you your partner and your family. I had this idea, but. Well, so. That's the biggest thing, you know, just because someone else is doing it doesn't mean you can't find an angle that is different or better, or you can improve upon it and all the rest of it. And often the fact that someone is already doing it tells you that there's a market there. Often if nobody's doing it, it's actually the reverse. It's actually not necessarily a good thing because people might have tried to do it and it might failed. But that also could be a positive. It's just all about interpretation and looking at things positively and trying to see how you can have a benefit to, to people. And I think they're the underlying factor here is something I'm always telling people about. Weekly like blog the idea of burning issues, which on my YouTube channel, where I, for four to 10 minutes, I'll just talk about something that I think is relevant and hopefully inspiring and, and helps people. And one of the big names talk about is like sense of purpose and without purpose is a sense of serving others. So your idea of your business, that there is, if we're going down that road has to serve other people. It cannot simply be, I will not be a millionaire by 30 in any means necessary. You might get that good for you. Well, last I'm not really interested in that. Whatever you doing has to serve people. I use that to be so altruistic. So for example, I'm also active in the luxury watch business, right? Well, you know, someone doesn't need a luxury watch. But I'm still serving them. It's still helping that process and making sure that they don't get ripped off. I'm making sure that they get served properly with trust and and aftercare sales and all the rest of it. There's still a service element. So I think, yeah, whatever you do, there has to be a service to a greater purpose than just your own monetary gain and nothing wrong monetary gain. But I don't believe it should be the the barometer by which we measure an idea is succesful or not.

George Siegal:

Great advice. So what would you once again, give people the way to get in touch with you and how they can find you?

Charles Burns:

Certainly. So I'm active on, on pretty much all social media. The best social media for me is linkedin I think it's just Charles. Oh, it was in the lotto Oliver burns. But if you type in my name, you should be able to find me pretty easily. There's one, one burning design. That's the name of my podcast. I show complete as I can by heart. And this life is very egotistical, but it is what it is when you Google my name right now, it's typically in this state. I didn't come up first. The guy that comes up first, the cartoonist, is very famous and it really irritates me. So that's a that's, that's something not to do, but if you'd probably be tried, my name Charles Burns and the apprentice maybe, or Manchester or something like that. So LinkedIn is one of course like Instagram could be or Twitter, but say LinkedIn is if the preference and then my email is always open. Which is founder as a founder of a company art and an allergy, which I've spelled a L L E R G i.co UK. Welcome to email me or whatever. And then finally it's is on YouTube where I have the burning desire show. George has been interviewed for that's, how it come across each other. So that would be a fun watch, hopefully for you guys to see where I bring on people who are passionate about all different you know, endeavors in life. And then on top of that, I do this, as I mentioned before, this kind of weekly blog called burning issues where I'll talk about anything. About how to, you know, serve people or life like mission, or it could be the last one I did. I think we're still with a momentum, the fact that, you know, how you generate momentum and you keep it going and, and all those sorts of things. And then the last thing I'm doing right now, which is public, is on LinkedIn. I have a book review that I do kind of biweekly on just whatever I'm reading. I try and help people with the key learnings and takeaways that I found in the book. And it's, it's going pretty well, actually. So yeah, quite a few things going on.

George Siegal:

Awesome. Well, I'll put all these contacts for you in the show notes, so people know how to get ahold of you and good luck with the app. Like I say, I'm gonna, I'm gonna check it out, but I, I w I wish it was here now, and I, and I'm looking forward to, to getting it soon. I'm rooting for you..

Charles Burns:

I'm working on it, George, thanks so much for your time. I really appreciate the opportunity to share my story.

George Siegal:

Thank you so much for listening to today's. Tell Us How to Make It Better podcast. If you enjoyed what you were listening to, please feel free to leave a review and share the link for the program with your friends so they can become listeners too. And if you have any suggestions for future shows or comments about anything that you've seen, there's a contact form on our website. And I would always welcome hearing from you. Thanks again for listening. See you next time.