College kids are going crazy for an app that helps them spontaneously 'lunch, 'blaze' or 'chill' with friends, and it just shot up above Facebook in the App Store

LunchBusiness InsiderThe app is currently sitting at #3 in the free download charts on iOS.

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:

First, you get contacts through you phone number.

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Then you enable notifications (so you know when people are 'down').

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You can also turn location on so the app will only notify nearby friends.

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You pick what you want to do, who with, and where.

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Some activities require that you have more friends on the app to unlock, like beer pong (20).

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But there are plenty of options, mostly geared toward college students.

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You can send a request to all friends nearby, or create lists.

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Once you send out a request, you wait and see who responds.

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It shows you which friends it sent to.

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I got a response! From Alyson, my editor.

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When someone responds, they get their own thread within your event.

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In there you can chat about the details. And when other people join, they also get their own threads.

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