1. What is AllergyBites?
Created by local food allergy mama Kathleen O’Hagan, AllergyBites started off as a space to share allergy-friendly eating spots with families with food allergies living in Toronto. But it soon evolved into something much bigger and much more inclusive. Now, the AllergyBites mission is to become THE go-to spot for all things allergy-friendly: restaurants and cafes, products and services, brands and businesses.
2. Are all restaurants reviewed on AllergyBites safe for my food-allergic child?
“All restaurants aren’t even safe for my food-allergic child,” says Kathleen. “So definitely not!” Some of the eating spots are free of certain allergens while others are simply allergy-friendly (i.e., staff is knowledgeable and accommodating). Always call in advance to ensure the restaurant in question can accommodate your specific allergies. And make sure your server is in the know before you order your food!
3. Why a discount card?
The goal is to help the food allergy community find great deals on the allergy-safe brands they trust and the allergy-friendly businesses they love. When food allergy mama, support group leader & business adviser Allison Venditti first heard about AllergyBites, she recommended a card just like this. Kathleen thought it was a great idea. And so, the AllergyBites discount card was born. (Thanks, Allison!)
4. What does the discount card get me?
The discount card will get cardholders exclusive discounts on their favourite allergy brands and businesses. Learn more here.
5. Why am I paying for deals?
Because it wouldn’t be exclusive otherwise. Not to mention, there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work to manage a website and get a program like this up and running. And it’s currently a one-woman show! Kathleen is lucky to have some wonderful volunteers who have agreed to help out, but she’d love to be able to pay them one day.
6. Why a physical discount card? That’s so old-school.
Kathleen and her “IT guy” husband are 100% aware that an app is the way to go. And they’re working on it! But for now, the physical discount card has given them the freedom to get things started a little earlier. Which gives cardholders a full year (plus some!) of exclusive discounts. Once the app is ready (fingers crossed for 2018!), cardholders will not have to pay any additional fees for the digital version of the card.
7. Which businesses are on the card?
It’s quite an eclectic mix of allergy-friendly products, services, businesses and brands. Find the growing list of businesses here.
8. Why are some business local to Toronto, while others are from the other side of Canada… or the US?
Originally, the plan was to remain local, but after a member of the Board of Directors at FAACT reached out, Kathleen realized there was a potential for a much larger reach. While AllergyBites will continue to partner with local businesses, the focus is on digital brands—so that families with food allergies all over the world can benefit from the card.
9. If I order from an AllergyBites ‘partner’ business via their website, do I have to pay for shipping?
Many businesses will offer free shipping after a customer has made a purchase over a certain, pre-determined amount. However, shipping costs are 100% dependent on the business, and cardholders will need to check their website to learn more.
10. What does AllergyBites do to give back to the allergy community?
Like most allergy parents out there, the mama behind AllergyBites is passionate about finding a cure and advocating for her food-allergic child. For that reason, Kathleen has pledged to make a personal donation of $1 to Walk for Andrea (for each discount card sold in Canada) and $1 to FAACT (for each discount card sold in the US). Not only that, but AllergyBites is a bronze sponsor for this year’s Walk for Andrea.
11. Are you hiring?
Not at this time, but if you believe in the AllergyBites vision and are passionate about helping it reach its full potential, we’d love to have you on board as a volunteer. Please get in touch! If and when we make it big, AllergyBites volunteers will be considered first for any relevant positions.
12. Anything else in the works?
Yes! In addition to the app, we’re soon to join forces with another popular food allergy business to provide even more value to the food allergy community. We’re also working on customized food allergy cards for kids and adults who like to eat out.