For many diners, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as being recognized. Whether it’s by the guy who makes your bacon, egg and cheese every morning or by the hostess who welcomes you back to your neighborhood go-to restaurant, there’s that immediate delight of feeling like you’ve truly made it.
INHOUSE, which launched in 2016, seeks to uphold that kind of dining experience, fusing both ends of the table together. Founder Benjy Leibowitz boasts a ton of experience working in the hospitality world. He launched the first iteration of INHOUSE while working as the Director of Guest Relations at the NoMad in New York, envisioning it as a way to encourage strong relationships between regulars and restaurant staff. More recently, the program has developed into a diverse platform tailored to diners obsessed with eating out.
“We have evolved into a full-service membership club for people who care about restaurants, bringing together restaurant professionals and dining enthusiasts through a bookings platform, curated dining experiences and member events to celebrate dining culture,” Leibowitz says.
The mission of INHOUSE is simple: to build a community of restaurant regulars and professionals, all of whom love restaurants and dining culture. Joining INHOUSE gets members several perks: access to difficult-to-book reservations, specialized dining experiences and private dining consultations. You also get plenty of invitations to industry-only and INHOUSE events, such as sommelier and chef-accompanied dinners, first-look tours of new restaurants, speaker series with industry leaders and special parties.
“Every restaurateur will tell you that regulars are the lifeblood of their business: the people who support their businesses through the quiet months, the proud ambassadors of their dining rooms and the guests their staff are most excited to welcome back each night,” Leibowitz says.
Not everyone can enjoy the perks of INHOUSE, though. The membership-only program requires an application or invitation. The application requests those interested to showcase a few noteworthy or remarkable restaurant experiences, as well as provide a restaurant sponsor.
“Our goal is not to exclude excited dining enthusiasts, but to ensure that we are bringing together a group of members who share an appreciation of dining culture,” Leibowitz says.
Those who have become involved with INHOUSE range from restaurant industry workers to people who simply love to eat out. Restaurant partners in New York include L’Artusi, Babbo, Charlie Bird, Gramercy Tavern, King, Lilia and Upland, and places such as Clipstone, Kitty Fisher’s and The Quality Chop House in London. The program has launched in these two cities only, but the team is looking to expand into several more. Membership starts at $625, which includes full access, with a lower rate geared toward travelers; the highest tier is $1,550 for unlimited access to the program and all dining experiences and events.
At its core, INHOUSE is looking to create a community of like-minded diners, people who are both passionate about fine dining culture and want to maintain the coveted status of regulars.
“We like to say that everyone is a regular somewhere,” Leibowitz says. “It might be where you get your coffee in the morning or where you get your hair cut, but there’s definitely no better way to eat than as a regular.”