Down To Lunch

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Down To Lunch is a social media hangout app that connects hungry friends. At the press of a button you can see who's free to get lunch and notify friends that you're about to eat. [1]


Down To Lunch was founded by two friends from Stanford University, Nikil Viswanathan and Joseph Lau. Shortly after moving to San Francisco the pair found themselves longing for the social lunch dynamic that came with living in a dorm, so they Built Down To Lunch as a way to stay connected when it's time to eat. Somehow, a freshman at the University of Georgia got ahold of DTL and the app soon went viral. Since the founders had put their phone numbers in the app inviting users to ask them any questions, they were being inundated with 1,000s of text messages about DTL. [2]

DTL topping the charts

False Accusations

Down To Lunch were victims of a smear campaign. On February 25th 2016, several Twitter accounts with high follower counts began publishing warnings that the meetup app “Down to Lunch” was a tool for human traffickers. Even though Down to Lunch only lets you interact with people who have each other's number, the rumors were able to make headway. The app lost 90% of it's growth within 48 hours of the first tweets. [3]

BuzzFeed did an investigative look into alarmist Twitter accounts that can earn hundreds, if not thousands of dollars from simply mentioning something like human trafficking in their article "Meet the Network of Guys Making Thousands of Dollars Tweeting As 'Common White Girls'." points to this exploitative practice as the likely culprit behind the accusations. Kirsta Melton, the leader of the human-trafficking division of the Texas Attorney General's office, told The New York Times that she "looked into the app and found no evidence supporting the allegations." [3] [4] [5]

An Illinois man named Matthew Warciak filed a class-action lawsuit against Down to Lunch, falsely accusing them of obtaining the recipient's phone numbers by scraping users' contact lists and sending unauthorized text messages to the phones of thousands of consumers across the country. [3]


Down To Lunch reached the top position in the Apple App Store social rankings (and number 2 overall) and was featured in media outlets such as Forbes, The New York Times, Business Insider, Campus Times, Odyssey, The Observer, The Daily Universe, TechCrunch, and more.

Youtube Video
ENN coverage of the app
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