Startup Spotlight: BonAppetour

What’s the Scoop on BonAppetour?

BonAppetour connects travelers to local hosts for a home-dining experience around the world, including dinner parties, picnics, barbecues and cooking classes.
“Like you, we love to travel. But we believe that traveling isn’t just about sightseeing – we believe in local experiences. bonapplohgoThere is a side of the city that has to be discovered through the interaction with locals and engaging with cultures across the world. And what better way than to eat with locals at their homes? That’s why we’ve been out there to get hold of the best chefs and home-cooks in the city, who are ready to welcome you to their home restaurants, for a few hours of great food, amazing company and unforgettable memories.” – Mission Statement, BonAppetour team.

Startup: BonAppetour
Sector: Social Dining/Meal-Sharing
Launched: October 2014
Competitors: BookaLokal and Feastly

BonAppetour is internationally based and has focused on European cities but now there are 500 homes on the platform across 50 US cities, including New York, San Francisco, and Philadelphia.

One differentiator of this platform is how hands-on the founders and city ambassadors are in the process of on-boarding and building their host community. The team or its ambassadors personally go to each host’s home to meet and enjoy the dining experience they provide to ensure it is up to par.

Additionally, you need to keep in mind that this is not just a meal, it is a dining experience! You can sit at the table and exchange stories with a local family or group of friends, or enjoy a unique river boat dining experience in Rome. Way cool.

Why Was BonAppetour Founded?

Here is how and why BonAppetour was founded, from Inez Wihardjo, co-founder and COO:

“The idea came about on Christmas 2012, when my friend (now co-founder) and I were in London, and literally everything was shut down, even the McDonalds. At the same time, we could hear people in the neighborhood enjoying each other’s company over at their Christmas celebrations, and we thought, wouldn’t it be nice if we could crash their house for a dinner.

Few days later, we traveled to Scotland, and our Airbnb host had prepared one of the best breakfasts we ever had in all the Airbnb’s that we stayed in. Not only was it an  authentic home-cooked Scottish breakfast, more than anything, we enjoyed her company and how we just became friends at the dining table. While we are rather fortunate to have such a hospitable Airbnb host, not many people actually do have such an opportunity, and also would not sacrifice their privacy and prefer to stay in hotels. So we created BonAppetour to solve that problem, and create a much more meaningful interaction and a way for people to connect with locals, over a shared passion for food. We believe that in the long run, this could also let us change, not just the way we travel, but also our lifestyle, by creating social dining experiences.

It’s been 1 year since we launched the website out of our beta phase, and have been quite heartened by the raving reviews that guests leave for our hosts, and also the high growth that we see in sales and transactions. (Quite a lot of our past guests have been coming back to enjoy more BonAppetour experiences in other cities, and also have their friends try it out when they travel- this is great validation for us and we are quite excited to see what 2016 has in store).”

How Does It Work?

It’s pretty straight forward to open up your home restaurant on BonAppetour:

  • Create the menu you are offering to your guests, then add pictures and a description.
  • BonAppetour vets all their hosts, so you must wait for approval before your menu is listed.
  • Once you are approved, wait for guest reservation requests. (and be sure to take note of any food allergies!)
  • Now, coordinate the occasion with your guests via text or email and wait for the payment to clear.
  • Prepare to have your guests over for dinner and enjoy the experience!

Also, the host is not responsible for paying a service fee! The guest pays an additional 15% on top of the price per guest set by the host. This means the host gets their full price paid and the guest pays what you could describe as a booking fee.

For Guests:

  • Enter the city in which you are searching for a meal or cooking class.
  • Explore the unique experiences.
  • Book your reservation and coordinate the logistics with your host.
  • Communicate any details, preferences, or allergies!
  • Make the payment online through BonAppetour.
  • Manga! Bon Appetit! Enjoy your dining experience or cooking workshop.

It’s not particularly cheap, expect to pay an average of $35 per guest, but as mentioned before, it is not just a meal – it is an experience! With that said, we have seen dining experiences as low as $9 in places like Bangkok and some as expensive as $160 in Rome.

Check Out These Unique Experiences We Found!
Private Venetian dinner on a rooftop terrace in Venice

Farm Tour & Cooking with local family in Hanoi, Vietnam

Gourmet dinner with Italian chef in Prague

| cover photo:  |  BonAppetour logo credit: |

The Coral Team