EatWith is a new community market that connects travelers who want to get to know up close food and the local traditions of their destination, with people who want to share their dishes and their passion for cooking in a more intimate and direct way.
What Airbnb has been to the hospitality industry is what EatWith may end up becoming for the restaurant industry. And it is that this startup founded by two Israeli partners and with a presence in Barcelona wants revolutionize the way we enjoy food when traveling.
The idea to start EatWith came from Guy Michlin when he was on a family trip on the island of Crete. Tired of eating in tourist restaurants during the trip, he decided to get in touch with an old acquaintance and got them invited to dinner at the home of a family on the island, with their traditional dishes and customs.
“Dinner became the highlight of the trip,” says Guy Michlin. “The food we tried had nothing to do with what we had eaten in the restaurants, the welcome we had, the suggestions they gave us for the rest of the trip and the overall experience was something my wife and I will never forget”
So it was that, back in Israel, Michlin got together with Shemer Schwarz (who was working for IBM at the time, after selling his own startup XIV to the giant) and they made the decision to put EatWith on going.
Anyone who has ever used the services that Airbnb provides will easily get an idea of what EatWith is proposing. Which is basically put in touch to travelers with local people in their places of destination and who want to cook for them, for an amount of money that is fixed between the host and guest once the first has accepted a reservation.
EatWith acts as an intermediary between the two parties and takes 15% on the total price of the dinner or lunch. That is, the host will always charge the price that he or she sets for the menu. If a dinner has a value of 100, for the guest the total value will be 115 euros, with the remaining 15 euros going to EatWith’s pocket.
The company is currently made up of 9 people, of which 8 work at the headquarters in Israel and another in the city of Barcelona. Although for now EatWith only covers the Israeli and Spanish market, they are actively looking country managers for the rest of the main European markets.
‘Community markets’ attack traditional ones
EatWith’s proposal fits perfectly into the trend we are seeing in recent years of community markets. Companies like Airbnb have had great success attacking the hotel industry and there are similar examples in the car rental markets.
EatWith is not the first startup that tries to create a global company in this market, and it is that several companies (mainly American) have tried it in the past but none was able to find the correct formula. A problem faced by companies such as EatWith is related to the legislation of this type of business that serving cooked meals. Asked about this matter, Guy Michlin told me that as they are acting at the moment they have their backs covered, but that they study each country individually due to the different laws that exist in each country.
EatWith is also in charge of verifying the hosts of its platform in person, attending one of the dinners or lunches that they offer on the platform and providing insurance to the guests. It is very likely that, as in the case of Airbnb, the feedback from the users themselves will become the main weapon to recommend one host or another.
With these weapons it is presented EatWith to improve the traveler experience. With Israeli and Spanish roots, Guy Michlin aims to turn his company into a “global community that connects people who are passionate about cooking with travelers looking for a different lunch or dinner.” A more authentic food we could say, away from the tourist restaurants that surely we have all suffered in our trips abroad. Ambition is not lacking. They have a very important challenge and opportunity before them.
Official site | “EatWith”: http: //www.eatwith.com/