Eat Well. Do Good. That’s the simple motto behind “Dinating,” a new dinner experience that offers all the fun of dining out with friends old and new, while helping to feed families in need. Diners pay a fixed price for an exceptional meal at hot spots like Cleo and Picca and in return, Dinating’s proceeds go to feed a family of four for a day. Founded by Sheera Goren, the series kicked off in early 2014 and has been going strong ever since. In anticipation of Dinating’s next installment at Katsuya Brentwood on February 2, we caught up with Goren to ask her about her tasty, philanthropic endeavor.
What is Dinating?
Dinating is the idea that you are dining and donating at the same time. You are satiating yourself by eating, and your soul by donating to those less fortunate. Dinating also allows for a unique social experience that fuses dinators’ passion for food; the desire to be surrounded by fun, engaging people; and an interest in helping people beyond themselves. Part of the price each “dinator” pays when they enjoy a dinner goes to SOVA, a local food kitchen who provides groceries to those that suffer from food scarcity. SOVA services the Greater LA area as it is important to Dinating to focus efforts on people in our own backyard.
What was your motivation to start such an awesome company?
I was on a run in December 2013 and started thinking about various causes. Naturally I was led to hunger due to my love of food. From there, my secret hobby of shmooshing words came into play and I thought: I love dining. I want to donate. Dinating! I bought the domain before even knowing what Dinating would be. 15 events later, over 3,500 meals raised, we’re on our way to creating a “Dination.”
You’ve held Dinating events at acclaimed restaurants like Cleo, Bar Ama, and Picca. How do you pick the restaurants?
Because a huge part of Dinating is eating, I seek out restaurants that I would want to go to regardless of the social or conscious components. Dinating’s quest is to facilitate experiences where no one has to sacrifice what they want to do. You want to eat delicious food? You want to hang with friends or meet someone new? You want to give back? Amazing—you can do all three via Dinating! Therefore, the food needs to be up to a certain standard. Most of our dinators leave either trying a restaurant on “their list” and getting more food, than if they went by themselves.
What are your goals for the upcoming year?
Expect more dinners at new restaurants as well as dinator favorites. Also, we have new partnerships with like-minded, socially conscious companies that will be participating at Dinating events in various ways. Most exciting, our fully functional website should be live in the first quarter which will help streamline paying for dinner, hosting your own Dinating experience and purchasing Dinating merchandise.
Our goals for Dinating are lofty but motivating. We want to reach the 20,000 meal mark for the LA-based area and eventually start expanding to other cities to bring this Dination to fruition. We want 500 new people to dinate and we’d love for people and companies to start utilizing Dinating for everyday meals and events—whether a catered company lunch or birthday dinner.
Lastly, Dinating would love to be on Ellen. Hey, we can dream, too, right?
How can I participate/get involved?
First: Go to www.dinating.com to sign up to receive emails about upcoming events, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Second: Email firstname.lastname@example.org about volunteer opportunities, future events, hosting your own event, a restaurant suggestion, helping to coordinate events or anything else!
Third: Come to a Dinating dinner to see what it’s all about and join the Dination!
Fourth: Once you’re a part of the Dination, get a Dinating Muscle-T or T-shirt to represent and feed a person for a day with every purchase. Wear one. Feed one.
Fifth: Spread the Dination to your friends and loved ones!