SECRET DINNER PARTIES: FUN & Food for social change
our experiential dinner PARTIES RANDOMLY POP UP IN ODD LOCATIONS AROUND THE WORLD. tHEY are LIKE NO OTHER. designed to fit in unconventional spaceS, FROM CHURCHES TO CONSTRUCTION SITES, THEY ARE LIVELY, GAMIFIED EXPERIENCES WHERE GUESTS ARE INVITED TO share MEALS WhILE EXPLORING THE WORLD IN SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT WAYS.
Food is such a critical part of our lives, and a huge part of both our individual and collective ecological footprint (a third of all food produced is wasted and 20% of the worlds carbon emissions are produced from cows!). So we set about designing a unique experience framework that would allow us to share evocative culinary experiences while setting a place for knowledge exchange.
We tested our concept across a series of secret pop-up dinner parties in New York City, hosted out of construction sites and soon-to-be-demolished parks. Our design team curates themed experiences that responded to the spaces, explored enhanced sensory design and incorporated a range of gamified activations that ignite diverse conversations, allowing our guests to experience change in action.
Can food ignite social change? We think so.
Dinners have popped up in London, Brooklyn, Mexico City, Melbourne and Manhattan.
How does the experience work?
Guests arrive at the surprise location and when it comes time to be seated, they discover a sealed envelop on their plate that states, "by opening this envelope you agree to participate. Inside you will find 3 secret tasks you must complete over the course of the dinner..." The implication is set with an irresistible invitation, and an unforgettable meal shared between strangers begins.
The secret missions from the envelops, often along the lines of "get someone to do / believe / say X," prompt guests to influence the people around them. This gamified dining experience, in effect, leads participants to explore the power that our choices have on how we interact with others socially, how we design our own experiences, and how we influence others. As diners covertly respond to their challenges, they have to negotiate, strategize and push through personal barriers to achieve their task. Many interesting things evolve, and at the end, we share, learn and laugh about the lengths people will go to to win at the task, and at life outside the dinner party...
After many secret dinners we have refined the game mechanics that implicate players in a collective experiment around how we consciously and subconsciously influence others. The game mechanics works on framed challenges and sets individual secret tasks that range from the weird to the wonderful. Critical to the success of the multi-player game is that everyone is implicated; everyone knows that everyone else has their own secret tasks to complete, but no one knows for sure what is part of the challenge and what is genuine human interaction. The game plays out over dinner and, depending on the structure and number of players, the host either facilitates the discovery of how we strategize to influence others in rounds or at the end of the game.