Grubwithus Failed Because, Surprise! No One Wants To Eat With A Stranger
Would you ever eat with a stranger? Its unfathomable. Some people thought it could work. So a $6 million in venture cap was handed to Grubwithus with the thought they could make money by arranging meals between strangers.
They thought wrong.
With names like Ashton Kutcher, Alexis Ohanian, and Andreessen Horowitz chipping in, it had the publicity, it had the funds. TechCrunch wrote five separate posts about it:
The startup has constructed a model that aims to send groups of friends and strangers to a new restaurant by giving the merchant guaranteed business in the form of a prearranged number of seats under one prix fixe bill, while exposing hungry diners to like-minded new friends and new local restaurants. All users have to do is show up with an appetite, ready for some conversation, and Grubwithus takes care of the details — finding your table mates, check-splitting, tipping, etc. And, to make money, the startup attaches a service fee, which on average, works out to be between $2 to $3 per reservation.
Grubwithus is somehow not convincing people that this would be fun:
GrubWithUs is fucked. The problem: ppl ain't buyin' or grubbin'.
Check any given city on main website, the attending numbers are 1 or 2 (very often local grubwithus employees/community managers fill out the list at the last minute so somebody who signed up & paid isn't dining out totally alone)
It's one of those things that perhaps has novelty factor, but 1) how often do you really go out to eat with complete strangers; 2) in this economy, is $20-$25 something that a lotta people (ie enough ppl to support 15 employees & a pad in Venice) can afford to do several times over and over?
Big issue: it's stuck in startupland. Lotsa dinners for people to "swap startup tips" (?!?) Ppl want good food, possibility of meeting somebody, etc
Would you eat with a stranger? I won't be the first to say no.