Understanding Bunches

Creating bunches is the best way to organize your LunchBunch buddies.  Buddies can be placed in as many or as few bunches as you want, and your bunches are private; only you can see who the members are of each of your bunches.  Organizing buddies into bunches is similar to creating music playlists.  You may create playlists for different moods or for different activities, and some playlists may have the same song.  Bunches serve a similar function.

When you broadcast, you select bunches to notify.  So if you often eat with your roommates, you may want to have a “Roommates” bunch that you can select with a single tap.  Bunches make it easy to select multiple buddies without having to scroll through all of your connections each time you plan a meal.

Just like you may want to skip a song without removing it from the playlist, it’s also easy to modify a bunch temporarily during broadcast.  For example, let’s say that you are broadcasting to one of your bunches but would rather not notify one of the buddies in it.  During broadcast, you can choose to hide that buddy to prevent him or her from being notified that you are hungry.  This is a temporary state that is described in more detail in our Understanding Broadcasting post.

Bunches make it super simple to notify the right people that you are hungry.  So we encourage you to create bunches of bunches!  Roommates, classmates, coworkers, and teammates are great places to start looking for bunches.  Clubs, networking groups, and other organizations also makes great bunches.  Whether you eat with the same people most days, or you want to organize your buddies in an effort to eat with new people, bunches make it easy to find others to eat with.

Sincerely,
Ryan from The Bunch

Understanding Invitations

LunchBunch invitations make communication much simpler–and more effective–than group text messages and emails. Invitations combine the benefits of sending messages to your friends with the ability to RSVP with a few taps.

Meal details are provided at the top of LunchBunch invitations–this includes when and where to meet as well as the names of everyone who has been invited.  When you create an invitation, you can choose to lock it so that you are the only one with the ability to modify the event details (start time, location, and invitee list).  This is especially useful for large groups.  If an invitation is not locked, any invitee may suggest a different start time or location or invite additional buddies, which is useful for lunch plans that happen on-the-fly.  When an invitation is updated, all invitees are notified immediately.

RSVP’ing to an invitation is super simple; simply tap the RSVP button to the left of the text-entry box and select your response.  When you RSVP, the rest of the group will be notified.  Instead of scrolling through a list of text messages or email replies to see what everyone said (and having to read everything in case someone changed his or her mind), you can see from the list of invitation members who is going, who can’t make it, and who hasn’t yet responded–all at a glance.  (For your convenience, when you create an invitation, your RSVP is set automatically to “accepted”).

We hope you like the flow of LunchBunch invitations and that they make meal planning easier for you.  If you have any questions or suggestions, please let us know in the comments!

Sincerely,
Ryan from The Bunch

Understanding Broadcasting

Broadcasting is not an invitation. Broadcasting is an easy way to let people know that you are available to send and receive invitations for a meal.  This is an important distinction because it helps you to narrow your search for available friends before deciding on specific plans (i.e. sending an invitation).

Of all of the LunchBunch features, broadcasting may be the one we spent the most time designing.  We needed to find a way to address the pain points of the core problem (easily finding friends to eat with when I’m hungry) while making it simple, quick, engaging, and effective.

Simple and Quick
These were the easiest constraints to satisfy; broadcasting is simple to learn and quick to perform.  When you open LunchBunch, simply tap the broadcast button, select the bunches to broadcast to, and submit the broadcast.  With efficient use of bunches, broadcasting can be done with three taps: start, select, and finish.

Engaging
To see another hungry LunchBuncher, three conditions need to be met: 1.) you must be buddies, 2.) you must both be hungry, and 3.) you must both be broadcasting your hunger to the other.  This increases engagement because if a user is hungry, he or she needs to broadcast that information in order to see who else is available.  In this way, LunchBunch provides useful information to everyone.

Effective
There is a natural tradeoff between simplicity and effectiveness.  It’s very simple not to have constraints and to let everyone know which other users are hungry.  But that’s a lot of information to sort through when you want to find specific people or groups of people, and you may not want to broadcast to everyone on a given day.  Broadcasting to bunches keeps the process of finding specific people simple yet effective; finding hungry buddies is a two step process: 1.) tapping the broadcast button and 2.) selecting the bunches to broadcast to.  And it lets you determine which buddies can know that you’re hungry without having to send an invitation.  Pretty cool, right?  We even provide a way to check/uncheck specific buddies…

Sometimes you may want to modify your broadcast to a particular bunch temporarily–for example if one bunch member is out-of-town (so you don’t want to broadcast to him or her today), or maybe you want to include a buddy who is not currently a member of any bunch.  To fix this, simply check or uncheck the specific user.  Locked users will be–and hidden users will not be–broadcast to regardless of which bunches are selected/deselected for broadcast.

If you have any thoughts on LunchBunch broadcasting, please comment below!

Sincerely,
Ryan from The Bunch

How to use LunchBunch Effectively

Introduction

Here at LunchBunch, we care about genuine relationships that are forged over face-to-face interaction and quality time spent with others.  Lunches (and other meals) are perfect times for this.

Planning meals is hard, and there are plenty of uncertain ones. For those times when you don’t have a plan, you probably want to know who’s available, and the awesome thing is that they want to know the exact same thing. LunchBunch is designed to find who is available right now to grab a meal with you, so you’ll know exactly the people to eat with.

Tips

1. Use the app with buddies

What are buddies you ask? They are your friends in real life—LunchBunch refers to them as buddies.

Currently, you can add buddies by username (just ask them for it!) or phone number (which LunchBunch can get from your contacts if you want).  If the phone number doesn’t match a user, we’ll ask if you want to text them about LunchBunch.

Having more buddies on LunchBunch means a better chance you’ll find people available for lunch when you’re hungry!

2. Make a bunch (or two)

A bunch is simply a group of buddies that only you can see.  You’ll see why these are useful in tip #3.

Useful bunch names might be “Best Friends 👯”, “Just Met 👋”, “Coworkers”, etc.

(Pro Tip: USE EMOJIS LIKE THERE’S SNOW TOMORROW ❄️⛄️❄️)

3. Broadcast when you’re looking for people to eat with

The broadcast button is on the main screen. It’s the big button on that screen when you open the app.  When you broadcast, you choose all the buddies who you want to eat with.  If those people also choose you in their broadcast, you will see them as a Hungry Buddy (see tip #4).  You can edit your broadcast at any time if you want to see if more people are available for a meal.

Like I said, when you broadcast, you are choosing buddies, however, this is done by selecting bunches.  Selecting a bunch is a convenient way to say, “I want to eat with anyone in this group of people.”  You will see selected buddies before they are broadcasted to, so feel free to check and uncheck multiple bunches.

(Pro Tip: On iOS—and coming soon to Android—you can select and hide individual buddies, so you can broadcast to a bunch plus or minus a few people if you want).

4. Invite some hungry buddies

Once you’ve broadcasted, you’ll see hungry buddies who have selected you in their broadcast.  Now you can select any number of hungry buddies to start an invitation with (see tip #5).

5. Plan lunch with ease using invitations

Invitations are messages designed for organizing meals. They include text messages as well as the start time and location of the meal. An invitation is editable so that it stays updated as your plans change.  Additionally, members can RSVP so you know who will be there.  You can also add any of your buddies (hungry or not) to an invitation.

(Note: If you add a buddy, they’ll only see messages from when they were added onward).

6. Stop broadcasting when you are done making plans

LunchBunch will be most effective this way!  If people see you as hungry when you aren’t, then they may not be sure when you actually are hungry.


See our FAQ for more info!

If you have any questions, feature requests, or words of encouragement, please leave them in the comments below!  All other complaints can be directed to our monkey–we promise he’s listening! 🙉

Sincerely,
Matt from The Bunch

The LunchBunch Story

Every story starts somewhere. As far as I can remember, ours started in James Smith Hall 407A at the University of Delaware sometime in 2014. I was in my dorm room a little before noon, not having any classes until after lunch (ah, the luxury). I was looking through my contacts list on my phone for friends to text to grab lunch. I scrolled past high school friends, family members, professional contacts, and college friends here or there, but looking through 500 contacts isn’t an exciting process. This was the first pain point—wishing I could group my contacts into people I would actually text for lunch. (Obviously, with smart phones, there are apps out there to group your contacts, but oddly enough, iOS doesn’t have this built in). I would put my college friends in there and maybe call it “Lunch Group”, or even better–wait for it…“Lunch Bunch.”

Now, I could just look in that list and text them when I wanted to get lunch. However, out of those people I texted, some would be in class, others would have lunch plans, and for those who didn’t, some simply would ignore or not see the text until after lunch. Now wouldn’t it be great if I could magically know which of my friends were in the same situation as me? I guess that would require some super power, some sensing ability to sniff out someone without lunch plans yet.

One night over winter break, some friends and I were wondering who else was in the area and looking for something to do. This reminded me of my lunch dilemma. Brandon’s eyes lit up, and he had the idea to make the app. Brandon was definitely the reason LunchBunch started; his excitement is what kindled the idea to the first prototype.

Brandon and I, along with another good friend, tried out LunchBunch for the first time at HopHacks in January 2015. We didn’t win anything, but we had made our first Android app with a Firebase backend. With school ramping up again, we couldn’t find time to work on this until we called Ryan in April. Ryan graduated the previous year and started his own business, Oakwood Software Consulting, shortly thereafter. Ryan was thrilled to start working on LunchBunch, and since then, he has been the driving force to get LunchBunch to public release.

Now that super power I was talking about, well, it will be available on the iOS App Store and Google Play Store in two short days.

LunchBunch is more than a glorified group texting platform; it matches you with friends (we call them buddies) who are available and want to get lunch with you. Sometime before lunch, you select which of your buddies you want to get lunch with, and then you “broadcast” to them. Out of those buddies, you will see which ones are also broadcasting to you. Now you have a super power, knowing which of your buddies are available and want to get lunch with you. At this point, you can create an invitation with some of those buddies and maybe a few others who you want to invite in case they’re free.

That is where we are now, and there is a lot more we’re adding to make this a tool that streamlines your lunch-planning process. Ultimately, our goal is to connect people for meaningful conversations and stronger community, and lunch is a great time to do that (and in case you were wondering this whole time, it works for dinner too).

Sincerely,
Matt from The Bunch

We Made It

It was April 4th when Matt and Brandon approached me about LunchBunch, and I was excited to say the least. I was attracted by the idea of working on a project with passionate developers and on a product that I believed in—a product that you, the user, would find useful and enjoyable. After a few weeks of research and a little bit of coding, I decided that we needed to jump in with both feet, and I began devoting all of my time to LunchBunch. The first phase involved building out a backend infrastructure and API as well as developing the initial iOS and Android front-end apps. While designing the feature set and layout of LunchBunch, we began looking into the business model, logo and branding, website, and marketing. Each component was as exciting as the previous one, and it was so cool to see everything come together.

Today, it is November 4th, and we are only three days away from our initial public launch. I hope that you are looking forward to the release as much as I am! Looking back over the past seven months, it is amazing to see the progress that we have made; the process of designing a new product, learning the technology to implement it, and figuring out how to create a useful application has been so much fun and very rewarding. With everyone working on a different component and bringing their unique experiences and interests to the table, this really is an awesome team to work on, and I could not have asked for a better experience.

Starting a company after graduation was mostly exciting, but it was also difficult to know in which direction to take the company. After the past seven months of work on LunchBunch, I am certain I made the right choice. I know I speak for everyone on the team when I say that working on LunchBunch has been an incredible learning experience, and creating an application that is not only functional but also is useful for bringing people together is so rewarding. We are so exited for you to use LunchBunch, and we would love to hear from you; if you have any comments, suggestions, or questions, please leave a comment below. It is so cool to see all of the pieces fall into place, and I am excited to see how LunchBunch grows!

Sincerely,
Ryan from The Bunch

About the Blog

Why blog about LunchBunch? For 3 reasons.

1. To tell a story
All startups go through a unique process to get from point A to point B.  We want to let people know about our process, we want people to share in the journey, and ultimately, we want people to understand who we are as individuals, as a team, and as a company.

2. To keep you up to date and in the know
LunchBunch is young, and we are aiming to be something that is useful to you and your friends.  We will keep you updated on our progress and future plans here.

3. To share our knowledge
Some of our posts will be technical and some will be business-related.  We have learned a lot from other blog posts, but we also had to figure out a lot by ourselves, whether it was navigating the waters of a startup, exploring the jungle of Android, or climbing the mountains of iOS.  We want to be able to pass along our experience in these areas and others for you to build on.  We encourage user involvement on this blog, so please leave comments so that everyone can learn from your experiences too!

Sincerely,
The Bunch