Hawkker had the pleasure of speaking with Gadder co-founder Ivana Salamone about creating a multi-purpose social platform that allows users to select and plan activities with their friends within a single, convenient, easy-to-use app.
The idea arose from a fairly relatable situation, Ivana explains. “It’s kind of funny, actually. I was having an argument with my ex-boyfriend – every time he came to London, he wanted something very specific, like a new fusion cuisine he’d never tried. He would look at OpenTable, TripAdvisor, etc. and there wasn’t a quick way to find all the relevant information. You had to bounce between platforms, especially when organising something with a larger group. That’s when I thought there was space for a new platform, something like Tinder for restaurants… I later met my co-founder, who’d had a similar idea. And we just came together.”
From its early beginnings to what Gadder is now, though, the concept has evolved. “In the beginning, it was very, very simple: it was just a matter of swiping left or right on restaurants. Then we integrated lots of other details relating to planning your night… and once we implemented the AI recommendations tool, that took it a step further,” she explains. “The app could now learn about you, learn about your preferences, and give you recommendations based on what places you’re most likely to enjoy. So from a very random, swiping way of selecting places, it became a very catered, individualised way to discover restaurants.” That way, users could discover new restaurants without having to scour Instagram or Google for relevant recommendations.
In that sense, Ivana tells us, this app is for “people who want to discover new places in a more curated way, and people who like to organise activities and make quality time with their friends. I’d say it’s very targeted towards young professionals that live in the big city.” For young professionals, students, or frequent commuters, Gadder aims to provide a way to discover new things in a less time-consuming, easier way.
Readers may also recognise Gadder from their popular TikTok channel. “Our TikTok took off by chance,” Ivana confesses. “We didn’t have the marketing budget to promote the app, so we thought: ‘What can we do to promote it quickly and get more users?’ So we decided to do street interviews, because it was a) a way to get new recommendations from people who live in London, b) a way to get constant feedback from our users, and c) it’s the type of content that people share, and that can blow up really quickly.”
Now that their app is off the ground, what’s next for the Gadder team? “We’re going to be introducing the ability to book directly through us, which is going to be super convenient for our users. And the other thing we’re looking to launch is a Gadder Awards. We’ll be putting up all the businesses that are mentioned in our TikToks or that we’ve been featuring, and letting people vote for them on various Awards. And the winners will have benefits on our platforms.”
Check out the Hawkker x Gadder collaboration video on our Instagram, and don’t forget that you can get cuisine, budget, or area-based recommendations for independent restaurants on Hawkker. Just search for what you’d like on hawkker.com.