Since the beginning of time, people have come together at the end of each day to eat, unwind and converse around a communal table. But as part of the era of urbanization, Ikea apartments, and shrinking spaces, the majority of city dwellers no longer have the space in their living quarters for a table that can bring families, friends, and communities together.
With the advent of the sharing economy and the coliving movement, however, we are seeing a drive to bring people back together in places and spaces around the city. The communal table represents a place to gather, to share, to hear each others’ stories. It’s wired into our psyching to hunt and to gather, as a result we see the seeds of a movement to bring back the space to gather and build this way of living into our daily rituals.
One such company tapping into this is EatWith.
EatWith was started in the US in 2012 by Guy Michlin and Shemer Schwarz and was originally branded as ‘the Airbnb for home-cooked meals.’ The platform functions as a marketplace that connects guests looking for a communal meal with hosts who can provide the space and food. The company pre-vets all the hosts to make sure they are both good cooks and social hosts, as EatWith is as much about the social experience as it is the food. The company raised $8 million in 2014 from Greylock partners and recently raised an undisclosed round from Trip Advisor in November 2016. EatWith offers a social dining experience with more than 650 hosts in 200 cities in 50 countries.
Multiple studies show the positive effects in children from eating together, but for the population as a whole, the health benefits arise from simply being together:
In coliving, a movement that is exploding globally in the young generation, members come together and dine daily in some cases. The theory behind coliving is that we can tap into a more energizing and fulfilling life experience when we live with others who are like-minded and have similar ambitions, regardless of their actual profession or upbringing. Eating together plays a huge factor in building community and getting to know others in shared spaces: