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From accommodations to automobiles, the so-called “sharing economy” has encroached on what seems like every aspect of our lives. With companies like Airbnb giving major hotel chains a run for their money and ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft leading some individuals to abandon their cars altogether, it was only a matter of time before the restaurant industry became the next challenger. Now, thanks to companies like VizEat, that’s coming to fruition.

Often referred to as the “Airbnbs of dining,” meal-sharing services like VizEat, EatWith, Feastly and BonAppetour exist somewhere between a supper club and a pop-up restaurant. There’s one big difference though: the venue is typically the home of a stranger, who is happy to break bread with a group of people he or she has never met before, all in the name of forging connections (and possibly testing out some new recipes). While these services are not a brand-new invention — last March, Eater wrote about how the rise of social dining apps began in the early part of this decade, but that no single one had yet to dominate the market — where they seem to be making the most impact is with travelers.

VizEat, which launched in 2014, is one of the companies leading that charge. Founded by Camille Rumani and Jean Michel Petit, a pair of travel junkies who — on separate trips, and in different countries — both ended up having memorable home-cooked meals in a stranger’s home while on the road. The experience changed them, and the idea for VizEat was born.

Say cheese! (And wine.) Photo courtesy of VizEat
Say cheese! (And wine.) Image courtesy of VizEat’s Facebook page.

Today, according to the The Independent, the app boasts approximately 22,000 hosts in more than 100 countries, who welcome travelers into their private abodes and offer them a one-of-a-kind experience by preparing a meal or giving a cooking lesson, sending them back home with a few new culinary tricks, a story to tell and hopefully a new friend in a once-strange city.

What sets VizEat apart is that it was created specifically with travelers in mind — which means you’ll always know someone wherever you’re headed. Plus, if you’re worried about just who it is that you’ll be sitting down to dinner with, you can rest assured knowing that VizEat vets all of its hosts and, like Airbnb, you can message them ahead of time to get a clear sense of what the evening has in store — and whether it’s for you.

There’s no awkward “reaching for the check” at the end of the night either, as the cost is paid right through the website. Prices run the gamut, depending on where, when and what your meal will entail, but figure on somewhere between $20 and $60 per person. Which seems like a fair amount for a priceless experience.

H/T: The Independent

Featured image courtesy of VizEat’s Facebook page.

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