This post was edited by Grace222 at 2018-3-2 11:43|
Grace222 Post time: 2018-3-2 11:40
This is, in part, why Gross likes to travel solo. “When you’re 10,000 miles from home on your ow ...
So counter seating and front-of-house training seem to be the two most significant ways in which restaurants are accommodating this rise in solo diners. Anything else, at least in terms of design, would be a bad business move. “Real estate is too expensive not to think really carefully about designing a restaurant to accommodate solo diners,” says Riess.
“I walked into a restaurant yesterday afternoon. It wasn’t busy, and there were three of us, so I was hoping [the staff] would scoot two deuces together,” says Riess, to give an example. “Instead, they stuck a third chair on the open side of a two-top against a wall. They were happy to get an extra person dining at a table for two, of course.”
Increasingly popular communal seating is another go at solving this issue. “Communal tables are great because they give the restaurant options,” says Riess. “You can have a table that seats a large party of six, but also a party of three and three, or four and two solo diners, et cetera. But they have to be big and located in a casual, convivial kind of restaurant to really work.”
Space doesn’t seem to be a problem at Enmaalin Amsterdam, “the first one-person restaurant in the world.” Its tables are built exclusively for one in hopes of removing the stigma around solo dining that apparently still exists in the Netherlands. It’s not the only place making overtures for solo diners. At the Founding Farmers restaurants in Washington, parties of one are sometimes offered free cocktails and appetizers. Dr. Eric Klinenberg, author of Going Solo, the Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone, points out that grocery stores like Whole Foods have gotten into the act too and are starting to offer more single-serving prepared meals and hot food bars geared toward singles.
None of this compares to the marketing dollars other industries are throwing at the growing number of people living their lives to the fullest — alone. If the latest forecasts from Euromonitor are accurate, more than 330 million people in the developed world will be living alone by 2020. That’s a 20 percent increase in less than a decade. The real estate market has been particularly attentive to singletons; Coldwell Banker, for one, is soliciting them, as is Lowe’s, which several years ago aired a TV ad featuring a single woman renovating her bathroom. Close to that time, DeBeers advertised the “right-hand ring” for unmarried women who want to treat themselves to fine jewelry.
The restaurant industry might soon need to find a better way to catch up. Or, at the very least, remove any remaining obstacles to solo dining.
“I tried to change a reservation for four people at Benu in San Francisco to one person [recently],” Shari Bayer, host of the Heritage Radio podcast All in the Industry, writes in an email. “They said they couldn’t do it as they don’t accept parties of one on Friday or Saturday nights. They’d rather fill more seats.” Can policies like this (Alinea and some other ticketed, tasting menu-style restaurants employ them) continue? Only time will tell.
“Some people still tell me how brave I am for dining alone,” Bayer says. “That’s ridiculous. I’m not brave.”
“This is just the circumstance. I’m single, I want to eat, so I’m going out. I want to experience things.”