Transformative innovations in technology combined with the advent of multi-party platforms enable completely new models to disrupt the fine casual dining industry. Digital technology is the key driver for the transition to a participatory culture where the traditional barriers between sectors of the hospitality business such as chefs and guests drop. Instead the customer is offered much more personalized experiences. What is otherwise known as the sharing economy is in fact not so much about sharing products or services but about breaking down the wall between buyer and seller.
In an era where customers are more cautious than ever and increasingly seeking personalized and unique experiences, a top-notch experience is required to involve and engage them. Hospitality companies have grasped the opportunities offered by digital transformation. Accordingly a hybrid restaurant- personal chef model has emerged in which customers are offered unique dining experiences without ever entering a restaurant; the entire experience is closer to going to a friend’s dinner party, only one that is paid for and facilitated by a third party digital platform. Indeed, a whole new sharing economy space based on the idea of entering a stranger’s home to sample local cuisine has emerged. Travelers have set aside their travel guides and immerse into foreign cultures through dining.
This already emerging trend increased even more during the COVID-19 pandemic when we found ourselves stuck at home with one of our few entertainments was eating and shopping for food. Moreover, both cooking and eating habits changed and so did grocery shopping
. More and more people turned to cooking at home, foods that were previously enjoyed at a restaurant. Accordingly, supermarkets and grocery stores saw an increase in their clientele and products that were previously less popular i.e. yeast and flour suddenly became bestsellers.
Foodies have become all the more demanding and difficult
to please. They are seeking unique food experiences that will take them to places previously unexplored. Moreover, they check labels and are more interested than ever in ingredients. A huge industry is developing catering for this consumer group and offering unique foodie experiences. From traditional Cretan dinners in Chania, to South Indian ones on a rooftop in Singapore, varied added dining experiences are offered with an extra touch of hospitality and insights to local life. The platforms take it further and also offer guided tours such as cycling for wine, cooking classes with a chef or a housewife, visits to the local market; anything a foodie might dream of is a click away.
Some well-known meal-sharing platforms are BonAppetour
with more than 500 hosts in 80 cities around the world Chef’s Feed
in the US which is considered as the AirBnB of food; EatWith
with 500 hosts in 160 cities in 30 countries also took over VizEat with more than 10000 hosts in 60 countries that has served about 20000 VizEaters and was the most popular in Europe.
Publisto’s very own Restaurant Management Platform Rambience
offers foodies the possibility of linking to restaurants of their choice and making bookings in order to enjoy unique food experiences.
Despite what some may think, these platforms that have emerged offering alternative dining experiences do not disrupt the existing sectors, but as Rob Enderle, president and principal technology analyst at Enderle Group
, points out, the meal-sharing economy is complementary to the tourism and F&B industry.
What is interesting about this new trend is that just as the world’s hospitality and transportation companies such as Uber or AirBnB own no cars or hotels here too the companies running such platforms offer culinary experiences without owning a single restaurant or even a frying pan!