Do you love to cook? Have you ever thought about opening your own restaurant or food truck? If you’re serious about turning your skills in the kitchen into a side hustle, but you don’t have the means to open your own restaurant, Eatwith could be your solution. It’s a new service that can help users cook amazing food and help aspiring chefs host paying guests in their home.
The service takes the idea of hosting dinner parties and turns it into a paid dining experience where local hosts can entertain food lovers without establishing a restaurant.
Eatwith, formerly known as VizEat, was founded in 2012 to offer users a chance to book one of three difference food experiences: attending private dinner parties, taking cooking classes, or going on food tours. Users can visit Eatwith.com to search for upcoming events in their area.
And if you think you’d like to host an immersive experience for food lovers, Eatwith could work for you. The service allows you to explore the business of social dining without opening a restaurant.
In this article, we’ll look at the different kinds of Eatwith experiences you can host, as well as how you can set up events, pick menus, and receive payment for hosting your experiences.
How Does Eatwith Work?
Instead of just booking a regular restaurant reservation or wandering a farmer’s market, Eatwith pairs food lovers with local hosts eager to show off what’s new and unique about their city’s food culture. Users can visit the website or download the app for Android or iOS, register and pay with a credit or gift card to attend cooking classes, dinner parties, or food tours.
How to Become an Eatwith Host
If you’re interested in creating an Eatwith event, rather than just attending one, you’ll need to visit their official site and register. First you’ll need to enter basic contact information (you can also use a Facebook or Google login) and then create a host profile to help sell your event.
Remember, future guests won’t be able to taste your food ahead of time or read a restaurant review. So to get them in the door, you’ll need to create a detailed and appealing profile. Eatwith helps you sell yourself with multiple categories available for you to describe your favorite cuisines, your travel history, and even your own guilty food pleasures.
You’ll also need to write up a short bio about yourself as a cook. Be sure to detail your experience and your interests. It helps to add local details and get specific — talk about your personal style in the kitchen or some favorite local ingredients that you love to put in recipes.
What You’ll Need to Create an Eatwith Event
In order to become an Eatwith host, you’ll have to create an event to showcase your food. You’ll also need to establish the location you’ll use to serve guests and the overall experience you’ll create for guests. Eatwith strongly encourages first time hosts to use a variety of well-shot photos of your food to appeal to potential guests. If you have access to professional photography or just a nice camera, that might be a better option than snapping iPhone photos.
You’ll need to create an experience in the app’s dashboard as part of your application. Pick a theme, a style of meal and the genre of cuisine you’ll be serving.
You’ll build your menu in the app and include how much you’ll charge per guest and the location of your event.
Once you’re finished, Eatwith will review your submission to make sure it complies with their Host’s Charter. The company states it can take up to seven business days to approve events. Once Eatwith approves your first experience, you’ll receive a notification, and your experience will be listed on the site and the app.
It’s also crucial to build your profile with user reviews. After you host your first experience, encourage your guests to write a review of their experience to help build your reputation with the service. The best way to build your profile is through positive reviews and great photos.
What Should You Cook?
Creating an unforgettable experience for your guests ultimately comes down to what you serve, and where you’re located is a key ingredient in determining your menu. Are you in a destination city with a wide variety of popular foods? If you’re in a city like New York or San Francisco, it might be best to work up a menu that’s very unique to your tastes and background to create an experience that’s not available in restaurants.
Eatwith appeals to travelers looking for a unique experience. Is your town or region known for a favorite local cuisine or a particular dish that tourists want to try? If so, try to put your own spin on it. Private dining experiences succeed with unique, personal touches.
But no matter what you plan on serving, be sure it’s a menu you feel confident that you can pull off. The best meals are always going to be the ones you know you can prepare.
Where Should You Host Your Experience?
If you’re planning a private dining experience or a cooking class, it usually makes the most sense to start at home. Think of Eatwith hosting like you would AirBnB. Be sure you can create a warm and fun environment for guests in your own home. Because Eatwith emphasizes the importance of creating experiences over simply cooking a meal, you’ll need to focus as much time hosting and preparing your dining area as you will cooking in the kitchen.
It helps if you have access to a unique location. If you’re in a major city, do you have access to a rooftop? What about a covered patio in your home? Creating a location that’s memorable is as important as the food you prepare. Start with a dining room table but also try to find an additional space in your home for a particular course of the meal. This will help change up the experience.
The third Eatwith experience, food tours, will require you to plan ahead and find multiple walkable locations where you will guide your guests so they can purchase local food in your town. You’ll need to plan a place to meet and find multiple locations you can visit in a reasonable amount of time. Be sure to account for distance, weather, and foot traffic.
How to Get Paid for an Eatwith Event
Hosts are paid directly after each event. Forty-eight hours after the event, you will receive a bank transfer through Eatwith’s secure Stripe payment system. However, their site claims that depending on the day you host your event and your bank’s processing system, it could take up to five days for a payment to reach your account.
How Much Should You Charge for Your Event?
Eatwith allows you to adjust the listed price per person for each event. The company’s policy is that you will receive 100% of whatever you charge — Eatwith increases the listed price by 20% to receive its fee. So if you list a dinner party for $100, Eatwith will charge users $120.
Determining price is a key component in creating a successful private event. If you charge too much, you could turn away potential guests, and if you charge too little you won’t turn a profit. You should determine the cost of the ingredients ahead of time, and factor in the time you’ll need to prepare and cook the meal, prepare your hosting space, and clean up afterward.
Eatwith Can Turn Your Cooking Passion Into Profit
Depending on where you’re living in the United States, Eatwith can be a fun way to introduce visitors to new local cuisines, or it can be a way to build your own profile as an up and coming cook in a tough market.
It all depends on how you want to use the service and what you have available. You’ll need a warm, inviting space and a functional kitchen if you want to host private dining events or cooking classes, and you’ll need to master your ability to play host and cook a meal at the same time.
But if you’re passionate about food, Eatwith has created a way for you to enter the professional cooking world without opening a restaurant or working in a professional kitchen. You can control what you serve and how you prepare your dining experience for paying customers, all from your own home. So get cooking!