Man, as a social animal, has dined together since the pre-historic times. But have they ever easily dined with a complete stranger? I think not. But now the things have changed thanks to a brand new tourism niche called meal sharing or peer-to-peer dining.
In this, a host invites a guest to enjoy their home-cooked meal for a small fee at their home. Many apps and websites have emerged all over the world to cater to this niche.
These apps follow the footpaths of ride-sharing and home-sharing concepts like Uber and Airbnb. As Uber became massively successful with its peer-to-peer concept and Airbnb with theirs, this recent food trend is also growing rapidly with many companies getting into the business.
Why Peer to Peer Dining Differs from Typical Dining?
In a typical restaurant, we eat with people we already know. But in peer-to-peer dining, we eat together with a complete set of unfamiliar people. It creates new friendships, build new communities and much more. If we are a tourist, we can get a local experience and learn about distinct cultures in a destination we don’t know. If we are a local, we can get to know the neighborhood and connect with people we might not meet otherwise.
Finally, we can call a home as a home restaurant here. And the price will also be a fraction to that of a typical restaurant. Therefore meal sharing might be the next big sharing thing.
How Does Meal Sharing Work?
We can find a ton of meal sharing apps and/or websites on the internet right now. They are catering to the meal sharing market with their own unique variations. Some offer peer-to-peer dining in a particular town, some cater to a country, some have expanded their business to a continent, or the entire world.
If you are willing to share your meals with strangers, you can register as a host (or a cook). Then you can share your menu, the price, and the venue through such services.
If you like to eat with strangers, then you can go to any of the meal sharing apps/websites and search through what you like, where you like to eat the food, and the price you are ready to pay.
Challenges To Peer to Peer Dining?
Still, this meal-sharing thing is fresh. Therefore, it is not everyone’s favorite, especially because of safety and hygiene.
In regulated restaurants, authorities constantly check the condition of the restaurants. Restaurants follow standard procedures and guidelines within their entire business process. But in-home restaurants, they do not follow safety measures or standard procedures much in making and/or serving food. Therefore, some may be reluctant to book a dinner at a home restaurant. But, if the safety and legal side improves with government intervention, it would disrupt the current dine-in restaurant industry for sure.
But travelers don’t need to be dreadful about it. Current meal-sharing platforms have mechanisms to filter and evaluate hosts before accepting them to the platform. They do online interviews, meet in person, and/or verify via phone numbers or addresses thoroughly to ensure a safe and satisfying dining experience for a guest.
Current Meal Sharing Platforms
Eatwith is the world’s largest peer-to-peer dining platform available in over 130 countries with around 25,000 hosts and 265,000 guests offering over 5000 culinary experiences.
Traveling Spoon is a California-based company that shares authentic food experiences like market tours, home-cooked meals and cooking classes.
BonAppetour connects travelers with local home chefs for a unique home-dining experience, anywhere around the world.
Withlocals also has many local experiences in a destination including home dining.
Not limited to these, there are many other platforms that offer meal sharing experiences all over the world.
If we go to a restaurant, we only get the dining experience. But with peer-to-peer dining or meal sharing, we can socialize while eating. It is not a thing that typical restaurants can offer. Therefore, With people’s lives getting busier and busier and not having enough time to dine out and socialize separately, peer-to-peer dining has the potential to become the next big thing in culinary tourism.