A new social networking app has surged past Facebook and Instagram to number three the US download charts for iPhone, and it has one single purpose: helping you find out which of your friends are available to hang out.
The premise of “Down to Lunch” (as the app is called), is that trying to spontaneously schedule things like a group lunch with your friends can be a hassle. You don’t know who is free at the moment, and you sometimes you don’t even know who will be near enough to where you are. Sure, you could go through your list of contacts calling or texting them, or group message a bunch of people, but that all can often seem inefficient (and annoy people on the group message who aren’t interested).
Down to Lunch lets you declare that you are “down” to go to lunch, go out, go to dinner, play basketball, and so on. Then you send out that “down” notification to all your nearby friends (or you can create separate lists to invite people). If any of them are free they can join your event, and you can chat to coordinate a meet-up.
Here’s how it would work.
Let’s say I’m working on a story that brings me to Midtown East in New York City around lunch time. I have a fair amount of friends that work in that area, but since I didn’t know I was going to be there days in advance, I hadn’t scheduled anything. All I have to do is say I’m down to lunch, the app will blast that to my friends who work around there (or a separate list I have saved), and then wait to see who is down.
The app was originally created for college students, according to the creators, and that’s where its initial popularity came from. The interface feels a lot like Snapchat, in that it simultaneously makes communication easier, but is also a bit confusing to figure out at first.
When we signed up for the app, we noticed we were far from the first to find out about it. At least 10 venture capitalists from various firms all have been active on Down to Lunch, as early as January.
Here’s what using “Down to Lunch” the app is like: