"We Found Grub in a Hopeless Place”
My friends suck. Where do I find replacements?... Grubwithus.com
is an online/offline social community that was created by Eddy Lu and Daishin
Sugano in July 2010 and headquartered in Venice, California. After meeting at
the University of California, Berkeley, Lu and Sugano worked together on a
variety of start-ups, one of which required them to relocate to Chicago. Their
realization that they lacked a friendship network in the city resulted in the
idea for Grubwithus. According to Lu, "Meetup groups are good, but they're
usually geared to an event. When you're eating at a restaurant, you're locked
in place for an hour or two. You have to socialize with the person sitting next
to you." The site currently has an estimated over 40,000 users and
continues to grow.
Grubwithus is a social dining network which aims to use online social networks to spark offline connections. “Grubbers” are able to choose a meal from a variety of online options. These social gatherings at restaurants serve to develop personal and professional relationships through a shared dining experience. Grubwithus is targeted at individuals looking to make friends in a new city or neighbourhood, or network with people with similar interests. The young, witty brand has been getting a lot of media attention from outlets like Mashable, The Huffington Post, Toronto Star, and Fast Company.
meals are held at restaurants with generally 6-10 people at each table. The
menus are set in advance and users pay an all-inclusive price (including the
price of the food, tax and gratuity) online. To bring people together over
similar interests whether that is their love for cats or passion for
travelling, most meals are themed and hosted by Grubwithus. Grubwithus recently
launched an iPhone application called GrubTonight to make the experience more
also allows users to create their own meals. The meals can either be public
allowing others to join or private- such as birthdays or bachelorette parties-
allowing only those who have been invited to the meal to see it. The Create A
Meal option allows Grubbers to create meals anywhere.
site allows individuals to become users by using their Facebook account to sign
up, making the process quick and convenient. Users sign up for free and can
then look through all meals and people and find something or someone they like.
This allows users to see who they will be dining with prior to the meal by
checking their profiles.
The prices for the meals are determined by Grubwithus negotiating directly with the restaurants. They set a price so that the meals are affordable, while allowing the restaurant to make money and allowing Grubwithus to make money as well. They guarantee that the Grubwithus price will always be lower than what a customer would pay going to the restaurant on their own.
suggests that the Internet is increasingly becoming a meeting venue for couples
in replacement of more traditional methods (Rosenfeld and Thomas). This tool
accommodates the trend of increased online socializing and dating, as singles
are included in the target market of Grubwithus. It is also compatible with a
more recent trend of taking online offline, and using social media to connect
with people in real life. As the marketplace becomes more global, more
individuals are relocated to new countries or travel frequently for business.
This leads to an increased presence of individuals in foreign environments, in
need of meeting others in social settings to create new networks of friends.
As a tool that brings online offline, Grubwithus presents several opportunities to complement other tools of the marketing communication mix. This tool allows restaurants to drive traffic of certain target audiences such as singles, entrepreneurs, and food lovers. By driving traffic through a tool targeted at these groups, restaurants can link their product and service offerings to the brand image of Grubwithus, and increase awareness of the quality of their food and service.
The connection to Grubwithus, and the exposure to the restaurant through this medium may improve consumers' perceptions of the atmosphere of the restaurant, and the needs that it fulfills such as fun and spontaneity. This marketing tool provides a potential for increased sales through customers returning after their first experience as a grubber, additional sales during a prepaid Grubwithus experience through additional drinks and menu items, and increased traffic during off-peak days. The tool features new, local, high-quality restaurants, and caters to users who "appreciate the dining experience", rather than those who simply seek an inexpensive meal. Grubwithus also offers continued promotion of its restaurant clients. As Grubwithus is a social tool, it presents the potential for synergies with social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pintrest, as well as the restaurants’ websites. As grubbers’ experiences and interactions are centered around the restaurant and the meal, it may also improve word of mouth promotion.
Grubwithus presents many potential benefits to restaurants, it presents several
risks as well. Because this tool’s primary purpose is to plan dining
experiences among strangers, it has the potential to result in an extreme
(either positive or negative) outcome. A negative experience could cause
unfavourable media associations or brand conversations online, and there are
also safety concerns with any tool that takes an online experience offline.
Meals are sold at a discount, which results in decreased immediate profit per
meal to restaurants with an uncertain future return on investment.
Toronto Silent Film Festival
and Talk” Campaign)
Grubwithus is also interested in partnerships
and collaborating with other brands, foundations, and companies. For
example, there is an opportunity for restaurants in the downtown Toronto area
to partner with Grubwithus and the Toronto Silent Film Festival (April 4th-9th)
to increase their customer base by creating dining events targeted at Film
Festival attendees. Restaurants will attempt to communicate that they are a
venue for like-minded strangers to meet and socialize about a common interest
(i.e. Toronto Silent Film Festival). The market will be segmented by
psychographics, targeting consumers who are interested in silent films.
Rational appeals in the form of information about the meals and the opportunity
to network and share interests will be present throughout the campaign, while
emotional appeals will highlight the consumer’s need for social interaction,
spontaneity and fun.
Restaurants in the downtown
Toronto area should perform market research and a competitive analysis to
determine their positioning within the market and determine whether the
individuals attending the film festival are within their current customer base.
If this is so, restaurants can encourage repeat customers during the event, and
spark a new image for the restaurant. If not, restaurants can attract new
customers by including Grubwithus in their communications campaign and potentially
create a new customer base.
Select restaurants can
offer a unique selling proposition by providing a venue for attendees of the
festival to meet other film buffs spontaneously to discuss the event over
dinner. This proposition will satisfy the physiological need for nutrition, as
well as the need for socializing and belonging by providing a chance to discuss
the festival with a like-minded group of individuals over a meal.
During the information
search stage in the purchase decision making process, it is essential to have
the product or service included in the consideration set of the consumer. This
can be achieved by associating a restaurant with Grubwithus and the Toronto
Silent Film Festival. This will continue in future purchase decision making
processes as a result of the use of Grubwithus as part of an integrated
marketing communications campaign. Advertisements can be placed during the
event and through the website of the Film Festival to encourage attendees to go
to Grubwithus.com to join other film attendees after a screening at organized
meals at restaurants. These advertisements will support other aspects of the
integrated marketing communications campaigns of the restaurants whether that is
their use of Twitter, Facebook or other social media platforms etc. This will
place the participating restaurants in the consideration set of these film
festival attendees above their competitors.
The post-purchase evaluation stage of the
purchase decision making process is also very important to ensure repeat
customers. The restaurant should communicate with attendees through direct
email following the event to reinforce positive brand perceptions and encourage
positive word of mouth.