FAQs

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What is Dinner Party?

Dinner Party is a mobile app for the purpose of connecting people through the sharing of a meal together. Dinner Party users are hosts who plan meals in their homes (“parties”) that are open to friends and “not-friends-yet” and guests who love food and want to make new connections in their neighborhoods or current surroundings.  

When will Dinner Party be available?

We did a soft launch of the app in Hawaii the summer of 2018 and experienced quite a few issues with it. We decided to pull back, find a new developer and create a better product.  We've got a lot of talented "cooks in the kitchen" now creating a better user experience for you and we are currently looking for hosts to plan parties for a Winter 2020 launch. 

Where is Dinner Party available?

Dinner Party is launching in Hawaii and New York, because that is where we live. People are craving deeper connections in their neighborhoods and we're hopeful Dinner Party will create that in our neighborhoods and eventually all over the world.

 

Why do I have to create a profile?

Profiles allows hosts and guests to learn about each other before the meal. Dinner Party isn't just about food, it's about connecting people. Put some thought into your profile and upload pictures that let other users know what you are all about.

How do I become a host?

It's easy! On the Meals screen, touch the + symbol at the bottom. Since hosts are collecting payments from guests, you'll be prompted to create an account on Stripe, which is an online payment processing system for internet businesses that we use for processing payments between guests and hosts. Once your account with Stripe is complete, you'll be prompted to create a meal on the app.

How many pictures should I upload?

Whether you are creating your profile or creating a meal, a picture is worth a thousand words. Meal pages should include a few pictures of the dish, your dinner table, your home and your neighborhood. Your profile pictures should include your smiling face, your family or housemates and you doing some of your favorite things.

Does Dinner Party take a commission on the sale of meals on the app?

Yes. When a host sets the price of a meal, Dinner Party takes a 13% commission of that. For example, the host will get $13 if they set their meal price at $15.  

What is the cancellation policy?

All Reservations are subject to Dinner Party's cancellation policy, as stated below:

  • If a meal reservation is canceled by a guest at least 48 hours prior to the applicable meal event date and time, the host shall not be paid any of the reservation amount and the guest shall be reimbursed the full reservation amount.

  • If a meal reservation is canceled by a guest less than 48 hours before the applicable meal event, then the guest shall not be entitled to any return, credit or reimbursement.
     

In case a host cancels a guest’s reservation to participate in a meal event, Dinner Party will credit the guest with the full reservation amount such guest has paid to Dinner Party. Dinner Party reserves the right to charge the canceling host with the reservation fees collected.

Dinner Party shall not bear any liability for any cost, expense, loss or damage that you may suffer or incur as a result of host’s or guest’s cancellation of a reservation of a meal event.
 

Additionally, Dinner Party reserves the right to charge hosts the reservation amount they received for hosting a meal event, if upon the receipt of a complaint by a guest with respect to such meal event, it believes, at its sole discretion, that such meal event was not compatible with Dinner Party's standards of service or in case of any misconduct by the host.

Why can't I leave a review for a host or guest?

This is something we thought long and hard about and here's why (for now) we're not adding a review feature: 

  • Think about it, if your neighbor invited you over for dinner, would you ask to see their reviews?   No, you wouldn't. You'd trust that you're going to have a good meal with good company.  If the meal was so-so and you were a bit bored with the conversation, then you know not to go back to another event that host is having.

  • Unlike with AirBnB, most of your guests will be your friends and neighbors. A bad review can be hurtful and damaging to relationships. What if you leave a bad review for someone and they end up being the person doing the hiring for that job you want?

  • Hosts aren't trying to run a restaurant, they're inviting people into their home to connect over food. You can be sure that they are going to do their best to provide you with a good experience.

  • With all of that said, if you have serious concerns about host or a guest, please email them to lealyn@dinnerparty.io and we will personally speak to them about it. Repeated complaints will result in the user being removed from the Dinner Party community. 

Is Dinner Party just for dinner?

Absolutely not! Here are some creative ideas for stepping outside of the box:

  • An open house where guests can swing by, hang out and you'll make them a fruit smoothie

  • A wine and cheese tasting

  • Musubi or Burritos To-Go (we realize take-out doesn't create  community, but we still think it's a cool way to share your love of food with your neighbors)

  • Coffee, tea and a dessert sampling

  • Cooking classes – you teach them how to cook the meal and then you all enjoy it together!

  • Appetizers and snacks while watching a football game on your big screen T.V.

 

Hosting:

Do I have to be a good cook or chef to be a host?

If you don't know how to operate a kitchen, that shouldn't prevent you from opening up your home and creating an awesome experience for your neighbors. Order pizza, serve up some veggie burgers you got from Costco or create a salad bar where guests can make their own bowl. As long as you are upfront about what the guest is getting, they're going to be happy with what you provide. And think about it, nobody's going to be upset if the dessert you served came from Ted's Bakery. Remember, it's about the experience and the connections you make, the meal is just the catalyst for that.

How do hosts handle taxes?

As a host you are responsible for determining the applicable tax laws related to the payment you receive. This can range from sale of goods and services taxes to personal or corporate income taxes.

What should be in the title of my meal?

Use key words in your title that summarize the experience and attract the attention of your future guests. For example, “Authentic Thai dinner on my lanai with a view”, “Vegan sandwiches in my jungle backyard in Manoa” “Talk story over pizza and beer with a couple local surfers."

How much information should hosts list about their meal?

As much as possible. With food allergies and other concerns, you will get many more meal requests if you are very clear about what you are serving and what ingredients you are using. Guests cannot contact you until their request to attend is approved by you, so imagine what questions future guests might have about your meal and list them so they don't have to wonder.

Do I need to provide beverages at my event?

Guests will want something to drink at your meal. Either provide guests with beverage options and include that in the price, or write in the description that they should bring their own.

How do I edit my meal?

Unfortunately, meal editing on the app is not a possible feature at this time.  To make changes to your meal, you will need to delete and start over. 

Do hosts have to eat with their guests?

Your guests are expecting to spend time with you, so you should not spend all your time cooking and cleaning up while they are there. Imagine what you would do if you invited your friends over for dinner; you would sit down and eat with them.

 

What if I have a bad experience with a guest?

Firstly, remember that we live on a culturally diverse island and we don't all have the same table manners and guest etiquette. Try to be understanding and compassionate. Educate your guests politely, so they can be more conscious of their behavior while at your home. If you still have concerns, you can email them to lealyn@dinnerparty.io.

 

When do hosts get paid?

Funds will be deposited 8 days after your meal event occurs.

 

What if a guest doesn't show up to my meal event?

You will still be paid for the reservation. Guests are required to cancel reservations within 48 hours of a meal event in order to receive a refund.

 

Is hosting legal?

It’s perfectly legal to host guests in your home for a meal. The payment you receive is compensation for the time you’ve spent preparing the meal and to cover the costs of the ingredients. Please consider applicable tax regulations in respect to the money you earn from hosting guests.

 

How do I promote my event?

During beta testing, the best way to promote your meal is to tell your friends to download the Dinner Party app and help them find your meal on the list. Dinner Party operations are done entirely on our app, not on our website, so always direct people to download the app.

 

After beta testing, you will be able to share your meal on social media platforms like Facebook. Might we also suggest sharing it on the website Nextdoor which is a free private social network for neighborhoods, and very popular in Hawaii. This will put you in touch with your neighbors who are in close proximity to you. Before the Dinner Party app was created, we tested out our concept on Nextdoor and it was the best way to promote our meals. We got a lot of support and encouragement from the forums there as well.

Guests:

 

How do I know I can trust a Dinner Party host?

Dinner Party is a community of people which is based on aloha, trust and creating safe opportunities for us to get to know our neighbors. A study on violence in urban neighborhoods in the mid-'90s showed that lower rates of violence occur in neighborhoods characterized by "collective efficacy" - that is, mutual trust among residents and a willingness to intervene in the supervision of children and the maintenance of public order. It's no surprise that members of a successful and safe neighborhood feel connected to one another. Hosts are opening up their homes to you and are hoping to provide you with an experience you'll enjoy. If you have a bad experience during a Dinner Party meal, express your grievance with your host so they can improve in the future. If you aren't able to resolve the issue and you feel like the host should no longer be a part of our community, send an email to lealyn@dinnerparty.io.

 

Why can't I see exactly where meals are located?

You'll be able to see approximately where a meal is located before you reserve it. Then once your request to attend is approved, the meal will show up on your profile under “Attending” and when you touch it, it will show you the exact address of the meal.

 

How do I reserve my seat at a meal?

Using our mobile app, touch the meal you'd like to attend and at the bottom you'll enter how many guests you are making the reservation for. Then you'll touch ”Attend Meal.” Meals you've requested to attend will show up on your profile under “Requested”. The host will receive your request and once approved, you'll be prompted to pay and then see the meal on your profile under “Attending.” And by the way, when others look at your profile, they'll only be able to see the meals you are hosting, not the ones you've requested or are attending.

 

Can I see who else is attending a meal?

Once your request to attend a meal has been accepted by the host and you've made your payment, the meal will show up on your profile under “Attending.” Here you will be able to view the profiles of other Dinner Party guests who are also attending that meal.

 

How do I cancel a meal request?

Go to your profile and touch “Requested.” Touch the meal you wish to cancel, then touch the button that says “Cancel Meal Request.”

 

How do I cancel a meal that has already been approved by the host?

Go to your profile and touch “Attending.” Touch the meal you wish to cancel, then touch the button that says “Cancel Reservation.” You will only receive refunds for “Attending Meals” you cancel if you cancel them 48 hours before the meal start time.

 

Can I show up to a meal with out requesting to attend or if my request was denied by the host?

No. The address of the meal is not revealed to you until your request is accepted by the host. If you happen to know the address because you know the host, or you've been to meals the host has provided before, you definitely should not show up to the meal unless it shows up under “Attending” on your profile. It would be bad etiquette to show up for a meal where the host is not expecting you.

What if I have questions for the host?

Once your request to attend a meal has been accepted by a host, the meal will show up under “Attending” and the contact information for the host will be listed there.

What if I have a food allergy?

Proceed with caution! Hosts will do their best to describe the meal and the main ingredients involved, but they are not required to state every ingredient used and they are not required to modify their meal upon learning of your dietary restrictions. Additionally, the host may serve food that has been contaminated by ingredients (gluten, nuts, meat) that you are unable to or unwilling to consume. After your meal request has been accepted by the host, you could contact them to ask questions or tell them about your dietary restrictions and they may or may not be able to accommodate your request. Failure to cancel your reservation more than 48 hours from the meal event start time will result in the guest not receiving a refund regardless of food allergies or dietary restrictions.