As consumers increasingly strive to buy local, here’s a new business highlighting the best of local cuisine to more than 1,000 locations so far. FoodieTrip, the creation of founder Matan Magril in New York City, is hoping to become the AirBnB of food experiences with options ranging from home cooked meals with famous chefs to restaurants, picnics and independent tasting tours in more than 100 cities in more than 40 countries so far.
According to Magril, Today’s travelers are looking for unique experiences that are off the beaten path, with local and cultural-specific food at the top of their list of desires. In the same way that AirBnB engages local property owners, FoodieTrip has created the first peer-to-peer marketplace to connect travelers with local and passionate food guides to provide genuine and local culinary experiences in more than 80 cities worldwide. FoodieTrip saves “foodies” the time and money it would otherwise require to research restaurants, risk undesirable outcomes, and also allows them to stay comfortable and safe while trying adventurous foods.
How is FoodieTrip different from other peer-to-peer models? Tourism is one of the most vibrant industries in the world, but it is also fragmented. Other alternatives to the FoodieTrip experience offer a hodgepodge of options ranging from bus tours to cooking classes. But FoodieTrip focuses entirely on culinary experiences. FoodieTrip is taking great strides to provide viable pricing for service providers and participant as well. While other options take fees as high as 30% from its service proviers, FoodieTrip transfers its fees to the consumers instead (at 15%), much like other marketplaces, which allows guides to offer better savings to customer participants.
In all, FoodieTrip charges users a simple 15% service fee on top of listed experience prices. Guides pay 5% of the price to FoodieTrip when the experience is completed. After FoodieTrip’s 3% payment processing fee the company makes a 17% margin per booking.
The company is moving quickly so far. Since its beta launch in April 2016, the company has amassed 1,000+ experiences in 80+ cities in 40+ countries. The company has amassed 12,000+ registered users so far, with more than 25,000+ monthly visits to FoodieTrip.com. For the future, the company plans to launch a B2B product suite to cater to mom and pop tour operators, to grow its traveler and guide base, and to partner with major airline and hospitality brands.
Culinary tourism is currently estimated at $170B annually by 2020 , Magril notes, and according to Skift’s “Rise of Culinary Tourism” report, American’s spend more on food and beverage than any other travel expenditure including flights and accommodations.
“We are here to create a true community in our marketplace,” he says. “Our goal is to allow anyone who is passionate about their local culinary culture to become a guide whlle also building their own business and supplemental income.” The company is unique in its desire to focus not only on tour guide operators, but to actively include every individual who wants to enter the market.
“In essence, we're bringing the sharing economy to the experiential travel and allowing individuals (students, stay at home moms, locals in developing countries) to participate for the very first time.” Magril’s model, which he has entirely bootstrapped so far, is making it easier to buy and experience local cuisine wherever you go.