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).
Matt from The Bunch