Over the weekend on July 29th, I had the chance to participate in the AT&T Mobile App Hackathon to create a project with a roomful of technology enthusiasts. Although initially, I felt intimidated due to my lack of technical experiences, I was able to comfortably fit in when the group next to me started talking about their love for travel and food.
At the time, most of us did not have an mobile app idea in mind, but after long tangents about study abroad adventures and multicultural dining experiences, we found a common experience we all wanted to enhance: solo dining.
It wasn’t too long ago that dining solo was imagined as greasy takeaways eaten in your car or room service ordered in the anonymity of your hotel room. Traditionally, a table for one in a proper restaurant is associated with the stigma of loneliness.
Yet today, a growing number of people live alone. The proportion of Americans who live alone has grown steadily since the 1920s, increasing from roughly 5 percent then to 27 percent in 2013, according to the Current Population Survey. This rising pattern has helped dissipate the stigma around solo dining within itself. As more and more millennials embrace independence, YouGov conducted a poll and found that 87% of people surveyed saying they would have no problem with eating out alone.
With this growing trend in mind, our team created Munch, a mock-up mobile application that aims to enhance the solo dining experience by connecting individuals nearby to share a meal at local restaurants.
How it works:
Browse our library of events for dining options and events near you in order to meet new people over a shared meal at a restaurant all guests are interested in.
Attend a variety of events ranging from types of cuisines or restaurants. Discover the best eats your city has to offer with fellow food lovers.
Meet locals around you by hosting or going to events with people who are interested in a common cuisine.
Check out the Munch website or play with our prototype below!
Overall, this experience was much more rewarding than I could have imagined. Not only was I able to connect with new friends over our love for food, but I was also able to collaborate and learn from a diverse group of backgrounds ranging from app developers, UI/UX designers, product marketers and even investors. To read more about my interest in technology, follow my Twitter @PTenggara and tweet me your thoughts!