Food and Relationships
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How might we enhance relationship through food post-pandemic and establish an authentic connection?

Mikayla Lai

 
KEYWORDS

Design, Partnerships, Systems Thinking, Technology, User Experience

Project

Food and relationships are intertwined. My research led me to the hypothesis that food connects people in different ways. It is often used as an icebreaker on social occasions because it is something we engage with every day. That led me to the question of how might we enhance relationships through food?
I realize that most people we encounter in our life are through the trajectory we shared together such as school or work. Being able to know people out of the field creates an opportunity to reach more people with who we might become friends. Especially with the pandemic keeping everyone distanced, people are eager to connect in-person.

 
challenge 

Initially, I was focusing on the phenomenon of phone eats first. Since social media has become so popular in our daily lives, everything is possible to go viral on the internet. According to my findings, food connects people in various ways. Having to utilize this insight and develop an area of opportunity was challenging. Even though technology has shortened the distance between individuals, the experience of having a meal together can’t be replaced by technology. It creates real-life connections. That led me to connect people through having a meal together to enhance the connection people have on social media. Unlike dating apps that connect people one on one, Meet and Eat connects more than 2 people to share a meal and have interesting conversations.

 
Outcome
 

Meet & Eat is an app that allows users to connect with other people who shared the same interests or background. This is for those who wish to meet new friends or people who just move to a new place. By having a meal together, it allows people to expand their network out of their original environment.
The app not only connects people who have similar interests but also creates more turnover rate for restaurants. The aim is to provide a platform for people to meet others out of their original environment and fill the empty seats for the restaurants. Many stakeholders of my project like the idea of networking through an app to meet others in their area of interests or specialties. Simply having a meal together is more relaxing than going on a one-on-one date. Furthermore, they can get a discount by booking seats through the app.

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