Internet site lets cooks advertise homemade dishes for sale
Dinnersurfer, launched in Danish capital and set to go global, lets cooks advertise home meals
A Danish website is turning private homes into take-away restaurants by letting users advertise what they are cooking, when, and for what price.
"Sometimes I only put one serving up for sale, sometimes up to 20. It depends on what I'm making and how much time I have," said consultant Ana Teresa Salas, 32.
The website, Dinnersurfer.dk, has been described as a restaurant version of the popular lodging site Airbnb, on which homeowners make their spare rooms or unoccupied dwellings available to paying lodgers for a fee.
And just like on Airbnb, the cost to consumers is often considerably less than if they had used a professional service, with the added benefit that many of the homemade dishes may be healthier than the greasy fare typically available at take-out counters.
"It sounded exciting. I make food for my family every day anyway, and I always make too much," said Salas, who sells her food on the website two to three times a week.
On most days she makes food inspired by her father's Argentinian background, which she sells for US$6.50 per serving to her customers, most of whom are young and single.
Since being launched in February, the website has attracted 2,900 members, of whom 460 are registered as cooks, meaning they sell food.
Nearly all of them live in Denmark, where the website is especially popular in the trendy Copenhagen neighbourhoods of Noerrebro and Vesterbro. But the site's founders are hoping it will go global after recently launching an English-language version.
Earlier this month, another Danish take-away website, Just-eat.com which allows users to order food from 36,000 restaurants in 13 countries, was valued at US$2.47 billion when it was floated on the London Stock Exchange 13 years after being founded.
But not everyone is convinced ordering food from strangers online is a good idea.
While the Danish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries regularly publishes inspection reports from the country's restaurants, Dinnersurfer's cooks operate without any supervision.
On one Danish internet forum, users questioned how buyers could know whether hygiene standards were being upheld.
Thousand-dollar tacos in California restaurant's credit card malfunction
What was supposed to be a cheap bite at a Mexican-style fast food restaurant turned out to cost a small fortune for some southern California customers.
About 150 people who ordered last week at a Del Taco restaurant in Santa Paula, 105 kilometres northwest of Los Angeles, were mistakenly charged thousands of dollars for burritos, tacos and soft drinks.
Customer Michael Cole said he was surprised when he was charged US$4,050 for one CrunchTada Pizza and two beef tacos. He discovered the error when he tried to withdraw US$20 from an ATM and was denied. Another customer, Dino DeLaO, said his wife paid US$10.20 and was charged US$10,200. The mistake caused his mortgage cheque to bounce, and he was afraid it would affect other bills.
The cause of the technical error was unknown, but it affected ATM and credit-card transactions at one Del Taco restaurant.
"The processor is aware of the situation and has contacted banks involved," Del Taco spokesman Brian Devenny said. "They are working together to get these charges reversed as quickly as possible."