A less lonely world
Both sides benefit from the human contact, and the person making the meal earns a little extra income by adding a portion to their cooking. SoLunch takes a small transaction fee as the host.
The pandemic disrupted SoLunch’s business model.
“We were trying to address loneliness before, but now everyone is at home and isolation is a bigger issue,” says Luisa Galbiati, the founder of SoLunch. “Our mission is to bring people together, so we started brainstorming on how we could continue that mission when everyone is isolated. We decided to make our lunch break into a virtual lunch break.”
Now SoLunch offers a daily “cucina diffusa,” where people from across Italy cook the same dish but enjoy it together over videoconferencing. SoLunch is providing the service free during the crisis as a way to help all Italians.
The virtual lunches caught the attention of the city of Milan, which added the idea to its web page of services to help people during the COVID-19 crisis. Dozens of Italians from across the country are enjoying virtual meals together each day through SoLunch, with the number growing. The company is getting more than 2,000 searches per month, Luisa says.
SoLunch is a past finalist in the European Investment Bank Institute’s annual Social Innovation Tournament. The tournament supports European entrepreneurs who are making an impact on social, ethical or environmental issues in their communities.