connect / 2018

Kitchen Table App brings people together over a shared love of good food and great company.

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Activation Challenge by Kitchen Table App

Kitchen Table App is a community building platform that brings people from all walks of life and every corner of Los Angeles together over a shared love of good food and great company.

Please describe the activation your organization seeks to launch.

Kitchen Table App will activate 100,000 Angelenos to meet the neighbors they’ve lived next door to but never knew, make new friends in the city they call home, network with industry professionals for career development, fundraise for the charitable organizations they believe in, and build community in the neighborhoods they live and work. We do this by connecting residents with neighborhood hosts, managing a marketplace, and actively recruiting new hosts, diners, and nonprofits to join us.

Which of the connect metrics will your activation impact?​

  • Adults getting sufficient social & emotional support
  • Rates of volunteerism
  • Total number of local social media friends and connections Angelenos have

Will your proposal impact any other LA2050 goal categories?

  • LA is the best place to CREATE

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • County of Los Angeles

How will your activation mobilize Angelenos?

  • Digital organizing or activism
  • Trainings and/or in-person engagements
  • Create new tools or technologies for greater civic/political engagement
  • Increase participation in political processes
  • Influence individual behavior
  • Connect Angelenos with impactful volunteer opportunities
  • Increase donations to organizations and causes
  • Kitchen Table provides individuals with the ability to host a meal in their home or space and the opportunity to dine at a meal in a host's home or space with a table full of others including neighbors, friends, parents, colleagues, classmates, and people in the community that they may have never met before.

Describe in greater detail how your activation will make LA the best place to connect?

Los Angeles is an amazing city. It’s my hometown and I feel very lucky to be an Angeleno. Los Angeles is also where we conceptualized and created Kitchen Table App and so it’s our organization’s hometown too.

But, Los Angeles is a difficult place to meet new people, make new friends, and build authentic community in your neighborhood. The social behaviors and social norms that Angelenos have come to adopt limit engagement with people that live in your building or on your block, restrict the ability to meet your neighbors when buildings don’t offer common or outdoor spaces, and reduce the instinct to say hello to people in your community that you’ve never met before because they are strangers and you don’t know if they are interested in meeting you.

Kitchen Table App’s mission is to bring people together to share dining experiences, make meals accessible, easy, and memorable, and redefine what it means to eat local. We are all familiar the popular “eat local” movement, originally kicked off in the 1970s by environmentalists advocating that people buy food that was local to them. Farmers markets, grocery stores, restaurants, and individual brands soon followed and #eatlocal #buylocal #supportlocal trended on social. Kitchen Table App is redefining “eat local” to mean sharing dining experiences with friends, neighbors, and newcomers that you may have never met before. Our “eat local” is about connection: human connection with those around us, over the universal language that all speak, food.

Kitchen Table App provides individuals with the ability to host a meal or gathering in their home or space and the opportunity to join a meal or gathering at a host’s home or space with a table full of others including neighbors, friends, parents, colleagues, classmates, advocates, activists, networking circles, and people in the community that they may have never met before. Our mobile app allows individuals to connect with neighborhood hosts in an open marketplace to meet each other, make new friends, learn more about and volunteer for non profit organizations that matters to them, discuss how city and local policies affect their neighborhood, apartment building, grocery store, education, and employment opportunities, and influence behavior whether that’s getting more young people to register to vote, encouraging more people to conserve, recycle, and support local businesses.

Kitchen Table App is an expert in facilitating communal dining and gathering experiences and creating the opportunity to easily connect with others by participating in both hosting meals and get-togethers for others or joining meals and get-togethers with others. Kitchen Table App is rooted in connecting. It’s our core value. And we invite you and your community to join in and take a seat at the table with us.

How will your activation engage Angelenos to make LA the best place to connect

It’s undeniable we live in one of the greatest cities in the world, but it’s also undeniable that Los Angeles can be an incredibly isolating place. The challenges of a fragmented metro system, congested roads, and the steep price of just living here (nevermind eating, shopping, or experiencing) can keep you from socializing, dining out, or even leaving your home – for days. This only underscores the need for authentic social connection and human interaction.

Kitchen Table App provides individuals the opportunity to create that human connection so many of us desire. Since we launched in 2016, we’ve grown our community each month by individually meeting new people in new neighborhoods, sharing the concept of Kitchen Table App, inviting people we just met to join us for dinner, providing this unique and special experience, engaging with guests around the table, and creating the desire to continue connecting.

To date, our community has hosted more than 300 meals in 70 neighborhoods across Los Angeles. Our hosts are people who love cooking, people who love sharing, people who love connecting, foodies, chefs, native Angelenos, LA transplants, students, moms, teachers, activists, podcasters, writers, photographers, intellectuals, spanish-speakers, travelers, and you.

With this as our base, we can effectively activate every neighborhood in Los Angeles and create a model of duplication that makes joining a neighborhood meal available and accessible to all Angelenos.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your activation.​

Qualitatively, we measure success through the connections made and the memories created at each dining experience. There’s nothing more powerful than hearing feedback from our customers, diners, and hosts about the people they met, the culinary creativity they enjoyed, the welcoming, friendly, and inclusive host that greeted them at the door, the stories shared, and the memories that last a lifetime.

Quantitatively, we measure success through four key performance indicators: new user acquisition, duplication, retention, and partnerships with our non profit organizations.

New user acquisition is defined as the number of new hosts and diners that join our community. Duplication is defined by the frequency of gatherings hosted and attended. Retention is defined by the number of Kitchen Table gatherings that diners return to after experiencing it for the first time.

Partnerships with our non profit organizations is measured both by the number of our non profit partners and the dollar amount that is fundraised at each charitable Kitchen Table App experience.

Philanthropy and social giving is a core value of ours and was built into our business model. Any host can donate the proceeds of their gathering to the non profit organization of their choice. This way, as we are meeting new people and making new friends, we are also giving back and contributing to our community in ways that bring us closer to a friendlier, more inclusive, and more connected city.

Where do you hope this activation or your organization will be in five years?

In five years, my hope is that Angelenos in every neighborhood in Los Angeles county from the Santa Ana mountains to the Southbay are connecting with neighbors, friends, friends-of-friends, parents, colleagues, classmates, teammates, networking circles, policy makers, non profit organizations, and activists on a regular basis through the Kitchen Table App platform.

I want people to experience a community get-together through Kitchen Table, but not just one community get-together. My hope is that Kitchen Table App is a part of people’s everyday live – including their zeitgeist. For example, if two colleagues meet in the break room at their office and one of them says, “What are you doing after work tonight? Would you like to join a ‘Kitchen Table’ dinner in Echo Park before heading home? I’ve been checking it over the past few weeks and there are some really great gatherings happening every night. We have this amazing opportunity to meet new people, try a homemade cuisine, laugh, share stories, and make connections with an interesting group of people that we may have never had the opportunity to meet before Kitchen Table App brought us together.” “Of course! I’d love to try it!”