We present you another fantastic business idea, which has been developed while travelling.

Culture in your plate

Audra_Pakalnyte_and_Reda_StareMalaysia-based start-up PlateCulture is like Airbnb for food. It allows users to eat home-cooked meals from someone’s home. The concept is very simple as the customers go to the website, pick a home (similarly like picking a restaurant), book it, pay in advance and then enjoy the home-cook meal in the chosen house. PlateCulture’s business model is also very simple: hosts decide how much they want to charge for their food and company gets 20 percent of what they make. This brilliant business was founded by two Lithuanian ladies, Audra Pakalnyte and Reda Stare. Since 2013 this start-up has been serving Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, Japan, Taiwan, Laos and other Asian countries. It turned into fast growing network ant today is embracing over 150 chefs from 20 countries listed on the platform. Moreover, this number is growing 80% month-on-month.

How it started

PlateCulture is definitely one of those start-ups that was based on the grounds of passion, not just profit. Reda loves travelling and would skip a meal for a good meaningful conversation, plateculturewhile Audra is well-travelled foodie with a teapot obsession and enjoys jazz. Five years ago, Reda was backpacking through Asia. She was invited to a house to have a great dinner and to her surprise, was chplate_culture_comarged for it. That is an amazing example of experiential travel, showing how many things you can find out about people, culture and their lifestyle when you skip ,,must see“ touristic places, and rather eat with local people in their homes. Such dinner of two to three hours with the locals is enough to have an authentic experience. Since then, the idea stuck in her head. A wish to duplicate similar culture and to make money out of it has inspired Reda to establish PlateCulture. The company was launched in early July, 2013. However, passion for food and travel is not enough to get a company running. It requires quite a bit of time and efforts to make it going.

“We always wanted to embark on a journey of starting business on my own and following passion. The idea of creating a business, which would provide travellers with unique experience while travelling, now is growing into a new trend of home dining that impacts local communities and most importantly breaks stereotypes between different cultures just by connecting people through food.“

Asians really like eating delicious food and also most of them have a little dream – one day to open a restaurant of their own. With PlateCulture they can test their skills, to ,,play“ a restaurant and to share their love of making food with others.

Challenges become a part of life

culture_in_your_houseexplore_new_food“There are new challenges every day. It’s much more challenging than working in previous corporate jobs, that we had before. The difference is that now the level of responsibility has increased as we are the ones who have to find solutions for all problems.” One of the biggest challenges is competition with other organizations of this kind of business. PlateCulture has already a few hosts in Eastern Europe, Spain and Portugal. However, they have to be ready for competing with VizEat that is gaining ground in the Western Europe after acquiring French Cookening.com. In the U.S., the situation is even tougher with Feastly, EatWith and MealSharing gaining traction. Challenging situations are always rewarding as, at the end of the day, you find a solution to innovate and improve. In this process, having a good partner and team is crucial. Through the years both of them have created a network of people from different industries and paths of life, so they always have a person to turn to when advice is needed.

food_in_others_homeAs Reda adds: “the key to success is a big vision and strong determination to achieve it. The lesson we have been taught is that you should always aim high. Once you have sorted out your vision, execution is next important element in the success. If something haven‘t worked out yet, make sure you try new ideas and directions over and over again, and if those fail, be grateful for the lessons learned and look for new ways.“

Ieva Ivaškevičiūtė, Intern at Institute