GrubTok Enters the Chat

left and center: Scenes from an influencer event at Kumo restaurant. right: GrubTok video menu launch event at Hinoki Greenwich

Photographs: IG @wiltonfoodie

A NEW VIRTUAL PLATFORM elevates dining experiences for visitors and restaurants alike

If picking a place to dine or fear of order envy gives you anxiety, help is at hand. GrubTok is a new platform for foodies and restaurants that plans to make its mark with both sides of the dining equation working in tandem. The company was created by Nitesh Pundra, a self-proclaimed food lover who ran two restaurants in Stamford over the past several years and enjoys going out to eat almost as much as running dining establishments.

left: Fun and spirited content creation at a local restaurant; right: Bloggers meet up to cover a local food event.

“As someone who has seen it all as a restaurant owner and diner, I wanted to develop an interactive experience that benefits both consumer and business owner,” Pundra says. GrubTok will be the means by which restaurants can showcase their favorite dishes, daily specials and anything else they want customers to know about, while diners can scan or search their favorite restaurants, browse video menus, discover details about a dish’s preparation or post their own photos and videos about meals, offering great feedback and advertising for the places that feed them.

Pundra has been working in the tech industry since 2005, so a combo of food and an online experience was an obvious next step for him after selling his last restaurant. “Restaurant owners are so busy with daily logistics that they’re often overwhelmed with the online aspect of marketing, or they simply may not have time to deal,” he explains. Influencer marketing is a popular way to promote dining destinations, and GrubTok also helps diners make informed decisions about not only where to go, but also what to eat when they arrive, so it’s win-win. Gone are the days where someone relies on a suggestion from a waiter or ogles the next table’s order; now GrubTok’s treasure trove of info comes from videos and recommendations from the chefs themselves (“This shrimp bisque is my favorite soup to make”) as well as unbiased content creators (“This cocktail is served in a sneaker—such a vibe!”).

New menu videoshoot at Billy & Pete’s

Excited by the versatility and dual purpose of GrubTok, Pundra explains that he designed this virtual space “for foodies and restaurants first and foremost,” adding that basic use of the app is free for both parties, though businesses have an option to pay a fee if GrubTok creates exclusive content for them. Registered diners will also have access to a rewards system, where they can accrue points, a.k.a. “donuts,” as well as perks like a free cocktail if they post about their favorite meal. Local food influencers will be invited to exclusive dining events and get to sample many of the meals they’ll be dishing about. For those who want to take it one step further, GrubTok is launching the world’s first NFT (non-fungible token) Restaurant Experience Club by region, where membership is purchased as an NFT to gain access to exclusive events, chef-curated tastings and unique VIP experiences.

Perhaps the best feature is a vibrant community area where users can ask questions such as, “What’s the best Japanese restaurant in Westport?” or “Where can I find the best penne a la vodka?” Responders will be incentivized to answer in real time by receiving points, recognizing that hungry visitors may be basing their next meal on virtual answers. Still in its infancy, GrubTok plans to include more than 1,000 restaurants in Fairfield County, followed by Westchester County, then N.Y.C. Pundra reflects, “Living in Fairfield County gives us access to so many incredible restaurants, and the proximity to New York City provides us with the best landscape to launch this app and build awareness for our platform. We are so excited to see how this new tool positively impacts both the restaurant industry and foodie community.”

left: GrubTok creator curating chef favorites from the menu; right: New ice cream spot launch event held in Stamford.

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