Few inventions can claim the title of “Best Thing Since Matzah Ball Soup.” This honorific usually goes to discoveries that revolutionized the Jewish table. Like a new kosher restaurant app.
Have you ever scrolled through Uber Eats or Seamless and felt frustrated by the lack of hashgachic guidance? Hit on the perfect restaurant, only to discover that it was only kosher style? Wish there was an all-kosher online ordering app? Search no more.
My Jewish Listings, a company devoted to all things Jewish and food-related, will be partnering with Kosher GPS to create just that. The company began two years ago as a Pesach program database and has since expanded to include other industries. Their mission, says co-founder Doni Schwartz, is to foster the growth of Jewish-owned businesses. The website benefits restaurants by providing them with feedback and ratings.
“It’s a one-stop shop for everything Jewish,” Schwartz says.
Perhaps that’s why he hit it off with Yitzie Katz, founder of Kosher GPS. This groundbreaking app – 12 years old and still current – includes information on minyanim, mikvahs, and restaurants anywhere in the world. With stringent standards and daily updates, Kosher GPS possesses a loyal customer base of approximately 250,000.
So it’s only natural that it was a fan who put the two in touch. Both entrepreneurs agree that the merger was perfect. Kosher GPS had the app, the user base, and the restaurants. My Jewish Listings had the strategy, the marketing, and the ratings. Together, they set out to create, in Schwartz’s terms, a “kosher Grubhub of the world.”
Besides the strictly kosher restaurant list, the app will take zero percent commission from restaurants. This will enable owners to offer their food at cost price despite third party involvement. Schwartz is careful to emphasize that this venture is a service to the community. There is no catch. They won’t have you break your bank – just your diet.
Beyond the kashrus and commission-free service, the app will have one great bonus over like-minded programs. Namely, the promotions. Participating businesses will be able to post specials on the app, allowing users to find out immediately about offers in their area.
The philosophy is to “give power back to restaurants,” Katz summarizes. Restaurants lose out because of the 20-30 percent service fee that most ordering apps take. With Kosher GPS, participation won’t come at the expense of business. The nominal fee for restaurants will cover a package that includes marketing and publicity in addition to the ordering option.
The app, which retains the name Kosher GPS, will not provide delivery. However, restaurants can offer their own delivery, curbside, or pickup options through the app. Other cool features include the users’ ability to rate or review a shop and choose which app to receive directions on, such as Waze or Google Maps.
The leap from informative to interactive has given the app a complete facelift, Katz says. The new app has been in the works for a year and a half and will likely launch sometime in late August or early September. Another plus? Download will only require a simple upgrade. The entire ordering feature will then automatically be added to Kosher GPS.
So what’s next for these ambitious pioneers?
Schwartz plans to continue to improve My Jewish Listings. Investment opportunities and going international are in the foreseeable future. But right now, the goal is to spread the word. Every participating restaurant will feature a sticker label proclaiming their involvement with Kosher GPS. So what are you waiting for? Download the app and keep an eye out for those labels!