You’re hungry. You’re feeling social. But you’re also feeling laaaaazy, and planning a big group meal can be so much work that you end up hating everyone at the table by the end of it.
GrubWithUs, a startup best known for organizing buy-in dinners with overarching themes (TechCrunch fans!) or at least one particularly interesting person at the table, is playing with the idea of building dinners for the most interesting person of all: you. You punch in a few details, and GrubWithUs does pretty much all of the leg work — but there’s a catch!
The new service (which just went live in Chicago first, with a national rollout planned) is aptly dubbed “Create-A-Meal”. You start out by telling it which city you’re looking to grub in, how many grubbers there will be, how much dough the group is willing to cough up per head, and GrubWithUs takes it from there. They find a restaurant, negotiate a menu, and send out the invites. They’ll even handle the check-splitting (read: the part that makes you hate your friends) beforehand.
The catch: Much like Priceline or Hotwire’s hotel search, you don’t know what the restaurant will be until the deal is sealed. GrubWithUs says they’re “committed to only working with the top restaurants in the city”, though, so you probably don’t have to worry that your mystery meal will end up being Taco Bell’s $10 Grande Box. GrubWithUs says they’ll gladly work around dietary restrictions — so if you’ve got a friend who only eats cardboard, toast, and fish killed on Fridays, be sure to let them know.
Until now, there was no way for anyone outside of GrubWithUs to build meals. Any meals listed on the site were organized by their sales team in coordination with local restaurants.
Meals are private by default, though you can open them up to the public (and listed on GrubWithUs) if you’re looking to break bread with some new pals.
You can find the new Create-Your-Own page here. Note that while the page seems to load regardless of what city you’re in, the company says the feature is Chicago-only for the time being.