Food trucks might not occupy every corner, but Paul Landry and Jon Worek have made them easier to find with their Mobile Nom app.
“It’s kind of like Pokémon Go, except instead of Pokémon, you find real burritos that you can eat,” says Landry.
An educator who lives in Imperial, Landry became inspired to create Mobile Nom after having difficulty chasing down a taco truck. He approached Worek, a long-time friend and former Pitt classmate who works as a software engineer, to help build the app which can be downloaded to a smartphone or computer.
Mobile Nom works by connecting customers with food trucks that have registered with the app. Participating trucks are then located via GPS by clicking on a map. Users can also access menus, directions and truck schedules, as well as opt to receive alerts when trucks are nearby.
Mobile Nom launched last year, and has since taken off in Pittsburgh and throughout the country, including in San Francisco, Atlanta, and Washington, D.C. Landry estimates that around 45 to 50 trucks in Pittsburgh alone use the app.
Now Landry and Worek are testing premium features that food truck owners can purchase. While the app itself will remain free for both users and trucks, Landry explains that the paid features will offer owners increased visibility, including more direct communication with customers and a booking option for catering.
He and Worek will also look to user feedback to further improve the app.
“Neither one of us has ever been in the food truck industry, so we’re learning this as we go,” says Landry. “We rely on them a lot to tell us exactly what they need.”
While they plan on continuing to expand the app to other cities, their main focus remains on supporting the growing food truck scene in Pittsburgh.
“When you do it to better the area that you’re in, you can’t go wrong,” says Landry. “We’re doing it not for the money or anything like that, but we’re doing it to help customers find trucks and help the trucks’ bottom line.”