Helping people connect through food has been a strong dinning trend for a couple of years now. However, with new apps and new features to social networking sites dining with other people doesn’t require just a restaurant reservation anymore. Apps like Foursquare, Living Social and Yelp have shown how eating in a group is better than eating alone. Food Trucks tweet their location, restaurants or food shops tweet when they have tastings and naturally people with the same food interests show up and end up enjoying a food truck cupcake or maybe a piece of artisan cheese with one another.
Technology has done quite an amazing job when it comes to connecting with people who share your common interest. While you can’t eat tweets, social dining has become a top foodie trend. Communal tables, small plates, food halls, farmers markets, bar food dinning all have a common link: sharing. conversations spark up, business cards are exchanged and perhaps relationships are created. Social Dinning however, is focused more on connecting with people through food. The goal is to create an atmosphere which encourages a group of people to come together and share their meals. How? Grubwithus, is a site that connects people through communal feasts. It is a way to build friendships over food at your favorite restaurants and seek out others with similar tastes in food and outlooks on cooking. How it works: members can browse a list of reservations at restaurants and pre-purchase a family-style meal. Tax and tip are included, and there’s never any waiting. You’re able to screen attendees before committing and can even organize private reservations just for friends.
GetLunched.com is another website that brings people together over food. The website, which is currently UK only, is a social network to help people connect with each other by introducing a lunchtime barter system to the mix. Whether its standing in line at the office cafeteria or walking to a restaurant lunch time is an hour to socialize. You are out of the office, in a comfortable atmosphere and amongst people you like. Business pitches are more likely to be heard over a big plate of pasta rather than in a cramped elevator. So how does it work? Individuals extending the offer can propose “I’m Buying,” “You’re Buying” or “50/50.” Users can choose to integrate LinkedIn connections to the system, so rekindling old connections is as easy as making new ones.
“People like to help other people out,” Matt Bandy, co-founder of GetLunched.com told Mashable. “But, it’s not often easy to. There has to be a reason. To buy someone lunch is a nice value exchange — it could be as long or short as you like.” You create a user profile to specify an industry of interest, headline, location and what you are looking for. Then wait for lunch proposals to roll in. Or, if you are avidly looking for advice, use the website’s search option to seek out relevant industry leaders. Invitations can be made through LinkedIn, email or on the phone, says Bandy.
So there you have it. If you are at a new job, just moved to a new city…Websites like these can allow you to use your love of food to meet others. A brilliant idea.