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 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 set aside their travel guides and immerse into foreign cultures through dining.
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 Feastly in the US which is considered as the AirBnB of food; EatWith with 500 hosts in 160 cities in 30 countries; VizEat with more than 10000 hosts in 60 countries that has served about 20000 VizEaters and is the most popular in Europe.
And our very own freshly launched Cuisineblue offering dinner or lunch by locals, as well as guided tours or cooking lessons in different parts of Greece. A user-friendly, accessible and beautifully designed platform created by Publisto enabling visitors to sample not only Greek Cuisine but also Greek hospitality.
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 principle 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!