Financial crises and rapid technological development are reorienting consumer values from ownership to access. Collaborative consumption, an alternative economic model based on principles of sharing, is thriving as a result. A key factor in its success is the hyper-connected world created by social networking.
Last May, at an ESADE Business School event on collaborative consumption, Lauren Anderson argued that “the Social Network has evolved into the Services Network.” One of the companies present at the event was Barcelona startup Social Eaters, who have applied this principle to the world of gastronomy.
Social Eaters was founded in March 2013 by three Catalan entrepreneurs with a love of food and a shared faith in collaborative consumption. Their premise was a simple one: an online P2P social platform for gourmet dining events. Chefs open the doors of their kitchen to strangers and share the costs of the meal in the process. The process is encapsulated in the Social Eaters slogan ‘meet online, eat offline’.
The company provides the platform to publicise these culinary events and ensure that they are creative and unique, whether they take place in private homes or in venues hand-picked by members of the team. Past events have included a clandestine dinner at an art gallery, vegetarian cuisine in a sculptor’s studio, and brunch with a view over the world’s most famous castellers contest in Vilafranca del Penedès. In addition to such inimitable dining experiences, other events include wine tasting workshops and sushi workshops.
Users of Social Eaters have the choice to register as a host, as a guest, or as both. The hosts organize the events in the premises of their choice and choose the price, typically between €30 and €40. Guests browse the events on offer, where they can find a description including the menu, the cost, the remaining places available and the location details. In the case of clandestine events, the client receives a message with the address of the venue and a password a few hours before the event commences.
Success in Barcelona led Social Eaters to begin operating in Madrid, and they plan to expand to further European locations in the future. The startup is currently in a private beta phase, building a community while seeking investment.Social Eaters commenced their operations in Barcelona, says CEO Josep Laborda, “because it is the ideal place, for what it offers, its gastronomic culture and the constant influx of tourists that are available throughout the year.”Although the company had initially identified tourists keen to sample authentic culinary traditions off the beaten path and interact with local residents as the key guests, locals have also proved to be enthusiastic users. The network offers users the opportunity to not only enjoy unique culinary experiences, but also to expand friendship circles and social networks, with gastronomy as the catalyst.Whether you’re attracted to the city for its cuisine, its startup scene or any of a million other reasons, if you need to rent a flat in Barcelona, ShBarcelona have Barcelona rentals available for every requirement.