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Tuesday, Dec 6, 2022
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Kosher Meals At Fingertips With App

Kosher Near Me is an app whose name pretty much explains its appeal. Jonathan Myron, a Woodland Hills software engineer, developed the iPhone and Android app five years ago to help those seeking certified Jewish food find restaurants, bakeries or shops near their location. Despite the clearly defined market and the app’s early adoption of smartphone technology, its initial launch in 2011 was “a little bit rocky,” Myron said. The big problem was that the app’s database had less than 300 restaurants. Users complained that some were no longer in business, while many available kosher outlets weren’t listed. “I was happy with the technology but went back to the drawing board on the data,” Myron recalled. He pulled the app from the market and hired interns who called the rabbinical organizations that certify kosher establishments to access their lists of restaurants. When it relaunched a few months later, the app had more than 1,000 kosher businesses. Today, it features more than 3,000 restaurants in 40 countries. Myron considered following the standard business model by charging $4.99 to download the app, but instead decided to make it free. The app generates revenue from advertising, both through ad networks and by directly selling to kosher companies. “It’s a highly targeted audience – observant Jews in a specific geography. It’s interesting to people who want to sell to that demographic,” Myron said. Kosher Near Me caught the market on an upswing. A 2014 report by London market research firm Mintel found that “kosher” was the top label claim of food launches from 2009 to 2014, beating out “gluten free” and “non-GMO.” More than 40 percent of new products put “kosher” on the label – even though Jews constitute less than 2 percent of the U.S. population – because kosher connotes healthy and clean, Mintel found. Myron financed the venture out of pocket. He and his partners still hold day jobs, but the app is cash-flow positive, he said. His future plan for Kosher Near Me is to make it “the definitive portal for all things kosher.” To that end, he recently signed a deal with Koshwhere, an Israeli service for pre-ordered kosher meals shipped to any destination. – Joel Russell

Joel Russel
Joel Russel
Joel Russell joined the Los Angeles Business Journal in 2006 as a reporter. He transferred to sister publication San Fernando Valley Business Journal in 2012 as managing editor. Since he assumed the position of editor in 2015, the Business Journal has been recognized four times as the best small-circulation tabloid business publication in the country by the Alliance of Area Business Publishers. Previously, he worked as senior editor at Hispanic Business magazine and editor of Business Mexico.
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