Eatwith was one of the TechCrunch Disrupt Battlefield participants on Tuesday afternoon. This exciting new startup is like the AirBnB for dinner parties. Guy Michlin, the CEO of EatWith discovered that eating at a complete strangers home, while traveling, was one of the best ways to experience what the locals have to offer.
“The inspiration for EatWith came while I was travelling in Greece and had the opportunity to share a meal with the Papadakis family. It was a wonderful opportunity to experience authentic local food with a local family that made me feel at home. The food was tastier, the location more interesting, and the experience was by far the highlight of my trip, ” Michlin said in a statement Tuesday morning.
“When I came back home, I did some research and saw that this dining experience exists today all over the world but it’s hard to find and there’s no consistency or feedback for you to know which hosts to trust. I realized that there was a real opportunity to build an online platform that enables people all over the world to connect around the dining table and have a similarly unique experience.”
Michlin said that on that trip to Greece he and his wife wanted to find the unique places that locals ate at but towards the end of the trip they had eaten at every “tourist trap” in Greece. So he asked a complete stranger on the street “where do the locals eat”. The bewildered stranger looked back at Michlin and said “at home”. Thus the idea was born.
Eatwith allows amateur chefs and cooks to share their homes for a meal with complete strangers and make a little money on the side. The startup is insured and vets the diners so that there is minimal risk. It’s a lot safer than say advertising a dinner party on Craigslist.
Michlin saw the service take off in it’s beta testing stage, but what he didn’t expect was that locals were actually signing up as well and they were dining out multiple times each month, using the Eatwith platform.
The platform provides guests with a beautifully designed site that allows them to easily find a local host. The site features a wealth of information about each host including information about the food, the location, and the price of the meal allowing guests a perfect experience catered to their needs. Mirroring this is a set of tools that hosts can leverage to share information about their offering and attract guests.
Some of the most important elements of the service are the processes and tools created by EatWith to ensure the trust and safety of both its guests and hosts. This includes a vetting process for hosts by the EatWith community, the EatWith Guarantee — third party insurance coverage, and a ratings and reviews system.
When it came time for judging David Tisch asked Michlin how many times people were expected to open up their homes to strangers. He seemed shocked when Michlin reported some hosts were hosting 4-6 times a month. Tisch felt that with 72 dinners a year, isn’t that in itself becoming a “tourist trap”.
Michlin shook that question off and powered forward through the rest of the questioning. Overall it’s a new innovative way of getting to know people, trying new things and for the hosts, perfecting their culinary skills on new diners they couldn’t otherwise cook for.
Check out their pitch video below and for more information visit eatwith.com