Just like AirBnB has transformed the travel-and-stay experience for countless travelers visiting new places around the world, EatWith is overhauling what it means to have a culinary experience far from home. Or just down the street. ‘Bringing people together… one meal at a time’ is the philosophy at EatWith. And as strange as it may initially seem, people are actually lining up to dine with strangers. EatWith is the brainchild of Guy Michlin and Shemer Schwarz who launched the idea in 2014.
Their revolutionary approach to the idea of sharing a meal has struck a chord with many. The company already has a presence in 200 cities spread across 50 countries on 6 continents (Antarctic igloos can get a bit cramped). 650 hosts have created over 1,500 menus for 11,000 dinners and more than 80,000 individuals have had an unforgettably unique gastronomic experience.The term ‘social media platform’ perhaps applies more accurately to EatWith than some other more established names like Facebook and Twitter. This is a concept built solely around the traditional meaning of social – meeting face-to-face, in person and connecting not just through words and emojis but through the full human interaction experience.
Originally designed literally as the culinary equivalent to AirBnB, it now seems that the concept is actually far more popular with a local crowd. Attendees note that the majority of the other guests are often people who live in the area or region, even if they might actually be from anywhere in the world. Fellow hosts also feature often.
EatWith could have left it to hosts and guests to sort things out for themselves and just take a cut of proceeds – it gets 15% of the cost of each meal. However, it has taken a much more hands-on approach to ensure that the experience is a pleasant one. EatWith approves every hosted dinner on its website. A host can earn a ’Verified’ badge by having an inspector in the city visit the venue and speak with them to check the suitability of both the person and the place. In certain cities, the company even offers informal courses to educate potential hosts on what and what not to do. What really works for EatWith is that each dinner and host has a USP which can be much more appealing than simply wandering into a restaurant with a good reputation. The company you get may vary, but that is part of the charm and will make for great travel tales however wonderful or less so they may be.