Daily

LUNCH BUDDIES

New apps help people find meal companions

Matchmaking apps are no longer relegated to the realms of dating, friendship, and fitness. In a reflection of how young generations are elevating food and beverages above other categories, new platforms that facilitate meal matches are emerging as well.

SIT WITH US

Sit With Us is a social networking app designed by a 16-year-old to help students find lunch buddies and reduce bullying, with the larger goal of promoting kindness and inclusion in schools. Kids can use the app’s features to coordinate lunches with their friends, and they can also volunteer to be ambassadors for their schools that post open lunch events on campus where everyone will be included. The app includes a messaging component and a rewards system that lets users earn points by posting lunch, approving another's request, adding a friend, and other pro-kindness activities.

NEVER EAT ALONE

The creators of Never Eat Alone want to reinvent the workplace, one meal at a time. The lunchtime companionship app lets people meet new colleagues and discover those who share their interests, making internal networking easier whether someone is looking to find a mentor or simply make new friends. The company’s algorithm sifts through profiles in order to show users the colleagues with whom they have something in common. It then allows them to set up lunches in only a few taps, preventing the endless back and forth emails. Once the other confirms, the lunch is automatically added their usual calendar.

DINEHERO

Chicago startup DineHero wants to help people find friends to eat with and hopefully make new business contacts in the process. The free app facilitates social and professional networking by connecting users with workers in their area in need of a dining partner. In particular, the app is intended for young professionals starting a new job in a new city, business travelers looking to meet locals or fellow travelers, and students that want to network with professionals within their industries of interest. It also lets users browse and join small group dining events in their area.