The iOS app was inspired by the book “Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time” by Keith Ferrazzi and Tahl Raz. The idea is that in professional networking and relationships in general, you should never have lunch alone.
The name of the app alone might make you hungry for a sandwich.
Manage your availability
When you log into the app using your LinkedIn account, you can set up multiple time slots for your availability. You can make them one-time meeting opportunities or ongoing, depending on your schedule.
Once you’ve set up your availability, LunchMeet will check your current location and suggest local restaurants and cafe’s on a map. You can choose one or just select the general area for a meeting.
The idea is that you’ll be able to find a match with the same availability or come up when someone else is browsing for a lunch meeting. This will obviously take time to catch on, but if you’re a fan of the book then you’ll get the idea of this app quickly. LunchMeet also includes the ability to share your availability on LinkedIn, so that type of virality should get people to download the app.
Interacting with your lunch date
Unfortunately, none of my LinkedIn contacts use LunchMeet yet, but you the app gives you the ability to discuss your meeting from within the app. This is a great way to keep focus on LunchMeet, and not get in the way of other emails or text messages.
If you’re unable to find a match, LunchMeet does give you the opportunity to invite any of your LinkedIn contacts directly, which is a nice usage of the API.
If you’re a power networker or just hate eating alone, LunchMeet is a great way to set up some planned serendipity. I’d like to be able to send my LunchMeet availability to Twitter and Facebook, but the app does focus solely on LinkedIn after all. The company could also integrate daily deals or use foursquare’s API to liven up the experience and save people some money. Maybe I’ll set up a lunch meeting with LunchMeet to discuss that.