VizEat : Taste your way through Traveling!

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What a freaking treasure I’ve stumbled upon!

Anyone who hasn’t heard of VizEat: you’re doing yourself a big favor scrolling down for this one, because it looks like communal dining is making a comeback.

Introducing: VizEat (now EatWith)

VizEat or EatWith as htey recently rebranded it, is a platform that connects a global network of hosts who want to cook for people in their homes with travelers mostly, who want to eat with the locals when abroad and enjoy a personal, local and immersive food experience.

In their words, VizEat is a place to discover & enjoy Social Dining, be it: Meals, Cooking Classes or Food Tours.

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VizEat brings travelers, expats and locals together, by offering unique culinary experiences with their 22,000 local hosts in 110 countries.

A year ago, Telegraph was asking: would you pay to have dinner at a stranger’s house?

And I would answer: this is really a personal choice and preference. While many would still raise eyebrows or approach this with skepticism, the fact is: an ever-growing number of people relate to the concept and want to try this out when traveling.

Founded in France in 2014, VizEat is a fast-growing crowd-sourced supper club, which has raised an impressive number of users and hosts in a relatively short period:

There are 90,000 members & 17,000 hosts on VizEat, from 110 countries.

The number of meals available on the platform has grown by 50% every month and VizEat is available in English, French, Italian, Spanish and German.

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How does VizEat / EatWith work?

The catchy name gives it away: you visit someone’s house – or various non-traditional eating locations – and you eat to your heart’s desire. You’ll actually enjoy your lunch or dinner! Sans:

  • the stiffness of being in a restaurant
  • the awkwardness of having to tip (we’ve all been there)
  • or the fake politeness of an impersonal waiter.

But more importantly, you’ll be turning the act of eating back into the social experience it used to be! Not this lonely dinner in a new city you’re visiting.. with your phone as companion.. or the same old routine with your travel partner.

Go on.. Meet some people.. Enjoy some food…

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Tapas tasting picnic anyone? How about dinner on a yacht?

Hosts and users set up a profile on the VizEat platform. The host adds info about themselves and their meal,  which languages they speak, etc..

You can search by meal preferences, location, style, allergies, etc.

Find something you like? Book it, and the host will reach back to you in under 24h to confirm and discuss details.

Is EatWith Safe?

Well, this is the kind of question people don’t ask anymore, but I’ll still answer it. Of course, it’s safe! We’ve all used Uber or AirBnb at some point.. So we know safety and privacy are a non-issue.

Wait, stop! don’t get all Adam ruins everything on me just yet. What I mean is: they won’t be more of an issue than if you go for a traditional dinner in a restaurant.

The point is: you can always dislike people, have unpleasant experiences, be disappointed by the food, or even have safety concerns. Don’t take the exception and turn it into the rule.

VizEat lets you see people’s profiles and previous guest reviews, to make sure you’re comfortable.

And of course, you’re insured (both guest and host) for up to 300,000 euros covering “all cases where guest or host liability is called into question.”

And who knows: You may even walk away with some new friends..

Restaurants’ Reaction

Pretty much the same as the taxi companies reacted to Uber, and the Hospitality industry to Airbnb. VizEat is the disruptor in the Dining industry.

In Paris, restaurants were lobbying against VizEat considered a promoter of “underground restaurants”. Of course Paris would do that!

 

Reacting to this, VizEat is making a completely reasonable point:  a VizEat experience is a supplementary alternative to restaurants, not a replacement.

Why Care?

Like I said, it looks like communal dining is here to stay, and for all those of us who enjoy good company with our food – this is exactly what we needed!
Plus, both the app and the website are very user-friendly. I especially appreciate the straightforward and very useful filters, where you can narrow down your search based on:
– Language
– Event Type
– Cuisine Type
– Special Diet
Another cool feature is the fact you can Book Private Events.

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Oh, and the industry loves them too!
They’ve made headlines with TechCrunch, BBC, The Telegraph, LeFigaro and many others.  They’ve also been named one of the Top 3 Best Apps of 2016 in the App Store.

So if you’re not using VizEat yet, you may just be missing out big time…

Constructive Criticism

I’ve been turned down by 3 hosts in 3 days. Whyyyy, oh why! Is it me?! Y u no like me? 😨Aaanyway, the point is: no one wants to be turned down. it makes people turn away from using VizEat services.

Right now, VizEat is relying on hosts to proactively update their calendars (it is, after all, a part-time gig for most of them). A calendar availability feature is definitely much needed!
I spoke to Valeria from VizEat, because she noticed I kept trying to book but got nowhere (yes, they are just that proactive! )  And she told me that in their next release, VizEat is planning to add this new feature, to make sure you can at least message the host before booking.
On my way to book a Boat Dinner for Meat Lovers in my lovely #homeawayfromhome Barcelona. Let’s see if I’m lucky.
Is there anything , in particular,you’d like to know about VizEat / EatWith hosts?
I will report back with thoughts and tips.
In the meantime, happy wandering!

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