New app serves up Covid assistance for local business

NOOK App has been co-created by 23-year-old entrepreneur, Bella Chambers.

By Abbey Cannan

A new app has been designed to help Sunshine Coast’s hospitality venues keep on top of their COVID-19 tracing and community hygiene responsibilities whilst reducing single-use items.

NOOK App has been co-created by 23-year-old entrepreneur, Bella Chambers, who saw many restaurants struggling to effectively facilitate the government’s information recording requirements and sanitisation standards.

Bella said she has been working on NOOK with her friend Jeremy, who is an app developer and web designer.”It has been amazing because anything to do with coding or creating software, that is not my area of expertise, so it’s been really great to work together with Jeremy,” she said.

“I ran the idea past Jeremy and within three weeks we had created it, which is insane.

“Covid has obviously reinvented the way that you dine out and this has just helped people feel more comfortable.”

NOOK uses a QR-code technology which directs hospitality patrons to an online landing page where they can input their necessary contact information. This information, along with the time and date of the sign-in is instantly collated in a digital spreadsheet which venue owners can access at the click of a button. Having this data in a centralised place, ultimately provides venues with the means to help health authorities track community transmission if an outbreak was to occur in the area. Unlike many other QR code sign in apps, NOOK has also created a digital menu function.

Bella said she believed when the pandemic was over, the hospitality industry would still be quite different.

“I think that the digital menu is something that will likely stick around for quite a while,” she said.

“It’s hygienic and it’s saving wastage.”

With some reports indicating that management at several hotspot venues in NSW weren’t compliant in their customer information recordings, Bella said she was determined to ensure similar circumstances were avoided in popular tourist destination areas like Noosa and the Sunshine Coast.

Several local venues have already jumped on board including Land & Sea Brewery whose co-founder, Daniel Gilbert, sees NOOK as an easy way to work on their COVID risk management strategies.

Daniel said they chose to use NOOK as it was a semi-local product.

“I was originally scanning licenses and manually entering everyones information myself, so that became a bit of a labour intensive role,” he said.

“When Bella came along and mentioned her app, I thought with that application it was easy enough to go to each table and get everyone to scan in and be proactive about it as opposed to just at the door.

“It’s just quite a simple process for people to be able to come in and still enjoy our venue.”

Daniel said business in Noosa had definitely been down due to the Covid pandemic.

“There’s no doubt about that around town, obviously we had the recent influx of Brisbane visitors for the Ekka weekend,” he said.

“We’re happy to be trading, we’re happy to have the doors open and we’re happy to have staff getting shifts.

“Obviously with restricted numbers, what we’re trying to do is manage efficiently the turn around of tables and table times.

“The majority of times people have been really respectful of that.”

Daniel said the Noosa community had been doing the right thing from what he had seen at his venue.

“Certainly here, it’s quite a vibrant and friendly place to be.”