Note – this a massively overdue post, but despite it’s untimeliness, I’m still excited enough about a new-to-Austin business, GrubWithUs, that I wanted to share.
At Do512 we get a lot of invites to media events, be it a new restaurant, boutique, or a new app or social media-esque company. This is not as braggy as it sounds, it’s just the way it goes. Typically I try to go to a few a month, but in all honesty, I don’t always know much about what I’m going to until I get there. I try my best, but I’m easily distracted as my co-workers will confirm, and I am often trying to fly through emails as fast as heavenly possible. When I received the invite to attend GrubWithUs’ launch event in Austin, I did very much the same. I saw it was at one of my favorite restaurants, La Condesa, that a free meal was provided, and that I was free that night. That was about all I needed. So my co-worker, Amanda, and I decided to attend together. We arrived about 45 minutes late, completely unaware how rude this was. When we walked in it was to a seated table of five others and my immediate thought was, “Oh shit, what have I gotten myself into?” I had made the assumption that like most other events we get invited to, this would be a room of about 20-50 people, most of whom I already knew from other such events. But this was clearly very different.
We awkwardly introduced ourselves and apologized for being late. Then proceeded to ask “who everyone was with”, again still assuming this was a media event. It wasn’t. And what started as me desperately wanting to leave, turned into one of my most pleasant surprises from a “launch party”. It’s safe to say that I walked away having a more positive feeling about GrubWithUs than most other events I attend. Doubtful anyone has noticed or cared, but I almost never write for our blog because I can’t force myself to sit down and focus on one thing for the amount of time it would take to do so. But by the end of the night I was so sold on the concept, and had such a great time meeting the five other guests, that I promised myself I would. It just took me awhile to force myself to focus on one thing long enough to do it (sorry GrubWithUs!).
So, what is GrubWithUs? It’s rather simple, despite my long-winded introduction. It’s a place where you sign up to have dinner with folks you haven’t met before. Nice and easy. Basically, you visit their site, find upcoming dinners they’re putting on, and sign up. You pay in advance and the whole meal (+tip) is covered. Then you show up with your wonderful self and make some new friends. If you’re like me, this sounds really awkward. Believe me, I don’t know that I would have tried it had I not been confused. But it was wonderful. One of the women I met I emailed the very next day for business/mentor advice, and bought her book the day after that. Another guy at the table and I discovered we were both going to Lollapalooza the next week and planned to get in touch. None of it was forced, it was just what comes out of being at a dinner with a group of people, all different, interesting, and open to meeting new people.
Two of the best things about GrubWithUs, both of which I know you’ve already thought of if you’re like me – there was no part of it that felt like it was for singles looking for dates, and there was no one there looking for a job. Not that either of those are bad, it was just refreshing to have an opportunity to meet new people for no other reason than meeting new people. I’m from Austin, so know more people than I sometimes want to, but it’s always the same people at the same places, or so it seems. I know that for a lot of people new to a city, the challenge of meeting quality people you have plenty in common with can be challenging. So whether you are sick of your friends, or looking to make friends in a new place, this is the most natural and fun option I have experienced. I plan to do it regularly and see who else I may meet.
On a sadder note, GrubWithUs isn’t yet officially launched in Austin. They’re launch strategy is great. On their site you can simply go and sign up in the city you’d like to see them in, and once they get enough interest, walla, they’ll be there. You can sign up to bring them to Austin here. I’m really hoping that you do because we’re already cooking up some cool Do512/GrubWithUs events that we want to invite you to.