One of the biggest cultural shifts of the last few years has involved the rise of what’s come to be known as the “sharing economy“. Services like Airbnb and Uber have put the balance of supply and demand back into the hands of… well, everyone. The latest industry to get a sharing economy makeover is fine dining. So how exactly does that work?
It all started with a few websites like VizEat and EatWith that have been around for a few years but are just now beginning to go global. The idea is, you can book a meal prepared by somebody else and eat it in their home. Social dining, it’s called. Hosts often charge around $40 per head, and for most it’s just a way to get to meet new people or fund an obsessive cooking habit. But a few have found real success, to the extent that they decided to find new living spaces to accomodate more guests.
And for the diners? It may be a little on the pricey side, but it’s a unique way to change up your nights out from the predictability of a restaurant to a highly personal home atmosphere where you’re open to being surprised. And if you’re worrying about surprises of the less pleasant sort, it’s worth noting that most of these services have very high vetting standards when it comes to their cooks – after all, their success depends on your good experience.
While this is just starting to kick off worldwide and as yet hasn’t made any big inroads into New Zealand, I’m picking that it won’t be long before social dining is a common choice for a night out with a difference.