Chattable gets you dining out with strangers



At first glance new Dutch app Chattable looks like a smart combination of many other apps. The idea of who is eating where seems interesting if ever you’re somewhere and you don’t want to dine alone. You can also see where someone is from because not being able to communicate would make for some pretty awkward dining. This app does set people up for awkward dining though, so brace yourselves.

According to the video, Chattable tables at restaurants have a special stand on them, which probably makes it easier for people to find each other, but does tell the world you couldn’t find someone to dine with. Again, that’s uncomfortable, but maybe it will turn out to be cool like sitting at the Stammtisch table in a German-speaking country, where the meeting table is marked with a decorative sign.

The developer claims it’s not a dating app because Chattable doesn’t know the age and gender of your dining partners. “You only need a common language,” which is true in an ideal world, but humans don’t function that way. Straight men will try and find pretty young women and straight women will try and find decent available men. And I imagine the LBGT crowd will be weary and probably should be. All of that in principle is not Chattable’s problem, but will always be an issue.

The Internet and all kinds of apps have been used for sex and dating from the get go. Nobody saw the recent introduction of Uber as a great app for raping women, so I think developers should be way more careful telling people what they think their app should be used for.

I enjoy eating alone abroad because it’s my moment to enjoy new surroundings without having to deal with someone else taking away from the experience. When I dine with someone else, it’s the opposite: I want to enjoy my company and tune out the background. If you need an app to never eat alone again and aren’t worried about a possible creepy encounter then by all means, it could be fun and only time will tell if it’s a good idea.


1 Comment »

  1. You are probably right that the concept of Chattable allows people to hope for romantic opportunities. But so does commuting alone by public transport. And occasionally people do find their match there. But few people will travel by train for this purpose only.
    It is not different with Chattable. The goal of Chattable is offer an opportunity for people who don’t have company, to share a dinner table and have interesting conversations, because they are not in the mood to eat alone.
    I used to travel al lot, most of the time on my own. I also enjoyed eating alone, but not every day. There were times I felt alone having dinner in a restaurant, while everybody else was enjoying conversations. That’s how the idea of Chattable came up.
    I think people will use it for that reason. And as the app will get more known and used, it will be likely more than 2 people will share a table. Nevertheless, every now and then romances will be triggered. And probably children will be born, because their parents met at a Chattable.
    The risk for a creepy encounter seems small. To stick to the commuting metaphor, please have a look at the research paper describer here: 95% of the people that were forced to start a conversation with their commuting neighbor had a positive experience.

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