Table for One
For those of us in the know, sitting through a film alone or dining solo can be the most enjoyable experience possible – you cater to only your own desires, and the need to make small talk is negated. However in the not so distant past, these are things that most people just didn’t do by themselves. Going to a movie alone would raise the eyebrows of friends whose judgmental faces silently asked, “why???”, and eating alone garnered a similar reaction.
Today, dining alone is becoming a choice that many customers are increasingly making. For years travelers have pulled up at tables for one due to both the necessity to eat, and the refusal to miss out on seeing a city’s culinary offering just because they happen to be traveling alone. Now, it seems the climbing number of people traveling for business combined with an increasing number of people living alone has resulted in the once shunned table for one being booked more frequently.
In a recent article by hospitality magazine, Dimmi is cited as showing an increase in bookings for tables of one by 83 percent – leading to many restaurant and café owners looking for ways to welcome solo diners.
There are a few ways to make singles feel more welcome in an establishment, and taking on the mindset of someone eating alone is a good place to start. Providing an option for singles to eat at the bar, or on a communal table is more likely to leave a solo customer feeling comfortable and not like the odd one out in a restaurant full of tables for two or four. Also, accept that solo diners may also spend most of their meal with their phone in hand. They may not have anyone with them physically, but their online social world is likely to join them at their table. Providing wifi passwords or free wifi will ensure that singles can still feel socially engaged. Cafes offering newspapers and magazines will also assist solo customers feel comfortable sitting alone.
When so many of us are so busy, and spend so much time interacting with people, eating solo can be a welcome break from the world. It’s worth thinking about your space can provide that break, and ensure that single diners want to return.