Grubwithus: Creating Community Over Meals at Top Restaurants

January 29, 2012

1:00 pm

An amazing thing happens when you are socially connected.  When your Facebook friends expand from the cities you have lived in to your past jobs, or you find yourself in a complete life change that pushes you to meet new people, you want to get past the online to meet people in person…a novel concept in this digital world.  But we are wired to connect, to spend time with friends, and to share a laugh – in person.

Grubwithus started after its two founders Eddy Lu and Daishin Sugano moving to Chicago to follow entrepreneurial pursuits.  They quickly realized that without school or established friendships to fall back on, meeting and socializing with new people was very difficult.  So, they founded Grubwithus as a way to build community and make new friends over a shared meal.

The team posts meals at restaurants in cities throughout the US, and reservations and payment are taken care of prior to the schedule dinner so that awkward moment when the check comes and everyone starts fishing for their wallets and determining who owes what never arrives.  Their etiquette rules request that phones not be used during meal time to emphasize the reason everyone was drawn to the meal…to talk and socialize in person.

Grubwithus has seen their user base grow to more than 30,000 subscribers (or Grubbers as they call themselves).  They launched their Grubber-generated meals concept in Chicago last month, allowing subscribers to develop meals around their own interest groups such as “Just moved to Chicago” or “East Coast Transplants.”

Their business model is smart and intuitive, balancing technology to facilitate the in-person meetings that are so important to their subscribers.  The iPhone App facilitates exploring and booking meals while on the go, which is how much of us go about planning our lives anyways.

With Grubwithus’ focus on socialization and friendships, not professional networking or dating, we think they have hit on a great niche.  What do you think?

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Barbara Maldonado is the Social Media Strategist at Legacy Marketing Partners, one of the top Experiential Marketing agencies in the country. For Tech Cocktail she looks at emerging technologies that can help businesses. Follow her on Twitter @bmaldonado

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