Here at Travel Gluttons we are firm believers, in case you hadn’t guessed, that food and travel go well together. So when we came across the organization Eat to Meet, which connects people via dinner, we knew we wanted to know more. Therefore, we met up with Matthijs Otto of Eat to Meet, in Amsterdam, where he and his concept are based.
How did you come up with the idea of Eat to Meet?
The idea developed from a bonus assignment I was doing for my pre-MBA. I did an internship in Hong Kong and I was meeting new people and going out to dinner together. I thought this idea could be replicated but initially I based the first model around home-dining. But I found out that people were a bit uncomfortable with the idea of hosting/attending dinners with people they didn’t know. So I thought back to the experiences I had in Hong Kong and realised that I could still meet my overall aim of bringing people together with food/dining and make people more comfortable, by moving the concept into restaurants.
How does Eat to Meet work?
At a number of restaurants in a selection of cities, tables are organised with six seats. Each table has a theme (set by the organiser of the table) and then people sign-up to eat dinner at that table – in essence sharing their table with strangers who are all interested in at least one shared topic, photography for example.
There is a minimum of four people required for the dinner to go ahead so that it doesn’t become uncomfortable. Equally, there is a maximum of six seats so that the table does not break off into two groups of four, defeating the purpose of the communal table.
[Editor’s Note: The price range for each restaurant is also indicated on the table page, so you know exactly what you can expect before you pick your table.]
What was the first city you launched in and why?
We launched Eat to Meet in Amsterdam [the Netherlands] because that is where I live.
What is the most awesome table that has been organised so far?
I would have to say that the first two tables we ever organised were the most interesting, so far. We had put everything together and here we were seeing the tables in action. A group of people that didn’t know each other and yet we had such a good time that we also went out together after the dinner itself. The “start-up” [theme] dinners are also very popular and interesting.
Usually we ask what your favourite city is and why, but maybe you need some time to think about?
I can tell you what my favourite city is. Spain is my favourite country because of the food, the weather, and the culture. As to my favourite city, it would be Barcelona, or maybe Valencia. Yes, either Barcelona or Valencia.
And your favourite food?
Tapas, no question.
So the next time you are thinking of eating out or just want to meet some new people, take a look at Eat to Meet and see if there is a table just waiting for you to sit down at.