Food for Thought
The Internet is limitless. You can literally reach out to every single person that is online. Isn’t that powerful? The opportunities for human connection are endless. All it takes is one click, one message, or one smiley face to establish a relationship. Instagram just hit 500 million monthly users. 15% of all Facebook users have more than 500 friends on Facebook. Shouldn’t we feel more connected than ever?
Yet, people still struggle to connect with people that are in their immediate reach, like neighbours, colleagues or classmates at university, while they celebrate their 600 Instagram followers. Did we become more connected online but less connected offline? Are we sacrificing personal connections for virtual connections? Are we focusing on virtual status, e.g. Instagram followers, Facebook likes, more than on social status?
11 months ago by coincidence, we, Lisa and Charlotte, met each other for the first time in a university tutorial and shared a common experience: We had both just moved to Adelaide and were very excited to be in a new place and start a new phase of our lives. However, we didn’t realize how difficult it would be to connect with the local community. Even though we are very outgoing and social, we struggled to meet the right kind of people. Both being entrepreneurially minded, we realized a market opportunity. We took immediate action and built what is today Mealmates: a social culinary network that connects groups of people with similar interests over unique dining experiences. Welcome to our story!
Meet and Eat is the New Meet and Greet!
Lisa alone with her noodle cups and Netflix…
11 months ago I first moved to Adelaide with the intentions to begin studying my first bachelor’s degree. I moved here three weeks before my first classes started didn’t know anyone. So in the first week, I was finding my way around this new town and settling into what would be my new life. The only thing missing was that I didn’t know anyone!
It wasn’t that I didn’t want to meet new people, but in this modern day, I didn’t know how to. The only thing I could think of using was Tinder, which had the cogitation of hooking up and dating which was not what I was looking for! So for two weeks I was miserable. You can only watch so much Netflix and read so many articles… I moved to this exciting new city and was too embarrassed to try any of the restaurants or cafes because I didn’t want to eat by myself and was unhappy because I was away from my family and friends. So this is my chance to help other people that are going through what I went through and give people the opportunity to meet people, experience their community and the food culture. It’s a go-to platform for people to meet people and eat food. Because I like food and I think everyone else does too!
“Because I like food and I think everybody does too!”
Charlotte’s exchange Down Under but without Aussies?!
Just like Lisa, I moved to Adelaide almost a year ago for university. I am outgoing, talkative, friendly and funny (at least I find my jokes incredibly funny). I knew I was going to make friends the minute I arrived in Adelaide, no doubt about that. Yet, as an exchange student, I wanted to mainly make Australian friends. Because who doesn’t want Australian friends? Believe it or not, that was harder than imagined. I made friends from Denmark, Sweden, England, France, Norway, Germany, the U.S. and Brazil. But struggled to make local friends. I continuously asked myself, “How it was possible that I had more international friends than Australian friends?”
Even though I found myself in an incredibly social environment that is university; I felt like there was no concrete tool that I could turn to. I have been in so many situations where I wished for a tool like Mealmates. A simple app that I can log into to find like-minded people in my area that I can meet casually. Whether it was moving to Rio de Janeiro, travelling to New York by myself or moving to Adelaide, Mealmates would have made my experiences so much more authentic. I am building this so other people can have better experiences and feel connected to their community.
“I’m building this so other people can have better experiences and feel connected to their community.”
Meet and Eat is the New Meet and Greet!
When you think about it, the Mealmates concept is quite simple: Meeting other people for lunch or dinner. We connect people online to meet offline. Mealmates wants to use today’s technology and our online connectedness to bring people back to fulfil a very simple, yet very powerful human need: The need for meaningful human contact. We want people to connect with their community in person, not through a Facebook like. And what better way to do so than through food! Food has historically and culturally always been a medium to bring people together. The ‘dinner table’ is a place where relationships are built, decisions are made, where laughter and tears are shared, and stories told. Let’s bring this back!
For All the Food Lovers
We want to make travelling more authentic, living in your hometown more exciting and meeting people easier and experience a rich culinary culture. Let’s all be Mealmates!
From your Mealmates,
Lisa Fraser Charlotte Niklahs
Written by: Lisa Fraser & Charlotte Niklahs