Startups · Ecommerce (food)

Is there a true market for "airbnb for food"?

Ryan Weldon Founder/CEO at Breakable

February 3rd, 2016

Is there really a market for going to other people's homes to eat or allowing them to earn extra money - sites like Eatwith are doing this. Feels to me like there is a ton of social stigma to get over but people said that about getting in other people's cars too...
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Eric Sullano

February 3rd, 2016

Ryan, interesting question.

If you're suggesting, a way to bridge the gap between people who are hungry and those that, presumably in their homes, are able to provide food, I think there's definitely a market for that.

HOWEVER...

unlike grabbing a ride or looking for accommodations for a weekend, the idea of going to someone's home for a meal seems to encompass much more than the utility of filling a hungry stomach.

Who will be dining with me?
What are the host's/cook's expectations regarding conversation? guests? attire? manners? price?
What if I don't like the food?

With a ride or accommodations, the experience tends to be "safer" in that it can be (but doesn't have to be) much more transactional, and require less emotional investment or risk.

But dining in someone's home with food that they prepared is a little more tricky.

That said, it's dinner time and my stomach is growling like a bear right now, if you were able to quickly find me that combination of cuisine, company, proximity, attire, price, pace, and timing. I'd be happy to pay a nice commission for that service.

Karandeep Vohra Co Founder at RentSher

February 3rd, 2016

I feel that there is a market but people have an inherent inertia moving to that. The companies who start on the idea will find it difficult to reach the tipping point but once this point would reach the idea will be adopted like wildfire. Regards Karandeep Singh Vohra

Michael Brill Technology startup exec focused on AI-driven products

February 8th, 2016

Frank, Munchery is more like a hotel in this airbnb analogy. 

However, it does bring up the point of where the food is eaten and how it gets there. Seems like the market for eating at home would be 10X that of eating at someone else's home with other guests. You get it by swinging by and picking it up on the way home.  (Yes, I'm part of the 0.1% deniers - paying $5+tip for delivery creates enormous friction for something like this.)

William Agush Founder and CEO at Shuttersong Incorporated

February 3rd, 2016

Actually I think the bigger thing to get over is how much you trust that person's food preparation hygiene. Restaurants have pretty rigorous and repeatable routines but most people's homes would not pass - even simple things like storage of food. Then there is the whole liquor issue - both selling and proper accounting. On the surface it is an interesting concept and in parts of the country where people are more socialized around opening their doors to strangers at their table it might work. As a way to feed seniors, families that have no time to cook and so eat crap, real B&B type travelers that love the local color - lots of possibilities.

Chris Gorges Partner, Strategy at Rocketure

February 4th, 2016

I'm not sure if you're asking if it's a viable business model, or if people are already doing it, but I think the answer to both is "yes" -- check out League of Kitchens.

https://www.leagueofkitchens.com/

http://www.grubstreet.com/2016/01/late-show-colbert-league-of-kitchens.html

Also, a number of the companies in this presentation -- https://docsend.com/view/86kyti3 -- touch on bits and pieces of the concept.

Brian Bateman 20+ Years IT. Web since 1995. Expert.

February 14th, 2017

A lot of regulations involved with providing food for sale. Typhoid Mary sold food without a license.

Vijay MD Founder Chefalytics, Co-owner Bite Catering Couture, Independent consultant (ex-McKinsey)

February 3rd, 2016

Happens all the time, it's a dinner party. Sometimes its potluck and sometimes its hosted and sometimes its an event.  Question is whether monetizing it transactionally changes the experience (there are lots of restaurants, many unsuccessful) and violates any legal, regulatory, or social boundaries. 

Bed and breakfasts and taverns also grew out of this tradition (hosting), restaurants a bit different.

Biggest issues are inviting strangers into homes, time required to host/ serve, food tastes/ taste mismatches, social exclusivity, safety/ interpersonal boundaries, and food safety/ health dept.

Zohar Hirshfeld Sr. Director Business Operations, Product Globalization and Chief of Staff for Central Engineering

February 7th, 2016

in general I think that the idea is great. In some part of the world this is something that is done in the community (e.g. it is the culture to share food). My take is that this will not work in the US since the culture here is not a good fit. People are too picky about hygiene and base products used to prepare the meal (organic, gm, etc). The question of liability in case of allergic reaction is also something to be considered. Restaurants spend a lot of money and have processes to overcome those issues, I am not sure that it can be replicated to someone making food at home.

Frank Watson Co Founder at Kangamurra Media

February 8th, 2016

Munchery.com seems to be something close but is a sell a bunch of meals that are then delivered - you have to order by 1pm and then the meals get delivered later - food is done by quality chefs

Michael Brill Technology startup exec focused on AI-driven products

February 3rd, 2016

Noah Karesh is the founder of Feastly (eatfeastly.com) and is on FD... ask him.