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Social dining (by a group of people) is meeting either at someone's place or at restaurant to enjoy a meal together. It is a philosophy of using meals specifically as a means to connect with others: eat to socialize.
A brunch, dinner or supper party are popular examples of places to socially gather over food.
Social dining differs from a dining club in the sense that it is not exclusive, but promotes an inclusive atmosphere. Friends and strangers alike can share the social dining experience.
Social dining dates back to Ancient Greek cuisine when meals would be prepared for the purpose of gathering together during festivals or commemorations.
Influence of Technology
Technology has made social dining a sharable experience through real-time updates, uploaded images and check-ins (at someone's place or at restaurant). Conversations about meals happen between people present and then are shared with those who are connected to them afar. Websites such as Twitter, Facebook, FourSquare and Gastronaut all encourage people to discuss their dining activities in a virtual, social space. Apps can be downloaded to a user's smartphone to share updates.
Some web-based services, like bonappetour.com, chef.one, kinza.life and PlateCulture, that get people together to share a social meal, even to join local families for a social dining experience while travelling, to truly experience the local culture and culinary. There are also other social dining networks that lets people do group meals at the homes of their users. Another way to experience social dining is by visiting a supper club.
Serial Dining is a sub-activity within social dining in which the group meets at a location determined by sequential criteria. This choice can be by cuisine, by mention in restaurant guides, or in simple alphabetic order in a telephone directory. An example of the latter is the Serial Diners of Toronto, founded in 1989 by Jason Taniguchi. This sub-activity adds an element of psychogeography in that it combines the normal experience of restaurant visiting with the more random experience of an untried location.