Perhaps one of the biggest reasons for the rise in solo dining stems from the fact more and more individuals are living alone now more than ever – especially young adults who are looking to meet new people.
According to the Pew Research Center, “In the past 10 years, the share of U.S. adults living without a spouse or partner has climbed to 42%, up from 39% in 2007.”
With an abundance of people taking advantage of dining alone, many restaurants are attempting to make themselves more approachable and welcoming to solo diners. Restaurants for singles are becoming increasingly popular, and the ones that learn to cater to solo diners successfully may see a tremendous spike in profits and popularity by doing so.
The Benefits of Becoming a Solo Dining-Friendly Restaurant
No matter what type of restaurant you’re running, if your establishment isn’t set up to cater to dinner for one, you may be missing out on a big opportunity for growth. While it may be tempting to view solo diners as a smaller check, every guest brings the opportunity to build rapport, increase revenue, and demonstrate your capability of consistently bringing in business in an ever-evolving industry.
Someone who’s eating dinner alone may be more likely to be looking for connection than people who are dining with a group of two or more. With that reality, the likelihood that a solo diner will be more interested in promoting your restaurant to others who are searching for restaurants for singles is greater. Additionally, without the distraction of the company of others, solo patrons may notice and appreciate more details about your restaurant’s atmosphere and food than guests who aren’t dining alone.
In certain instances, individuals who choose dinner for one may be searching for more of a memorable experience as opposed to a social one. That presents your restaurant with a unique chance to showcase what sets your establishment apart from the rest and to build a lasting, professional relationship.
What Solo Diners are Really Saying about Your Restaurant
When a solo diner chooses to eat at your restaurant, they’re letting you and other guests know that your establishment is simply worth dining at. The individual diner wants to enjoy your culinary delights and hospitality. Solo patrons who eat dinner at your restaurant may return with additional guests later, and they may recommend your restaurant to others.
Besides, you never know who you may be serving when a solo diner visits your restaurant. You could be serving a person who’s recently moved to the area and is searching for an ideal place to hang out or a food blogger who has a tremendous following.
How to Make Your Restaurant Appeal More to Solo Diners
Patrons who visit your restaurant alone may feel somewhat uncomfortable at first, and it’s your responsibility to make them feel more relaxed and welcomed. By putting extra thought into catering to single diners, your efforts may be well worth the while in the long run. Here are a few tips to help you create more of a single restaurant vibe without compromising on your appeal to groups of two or more.
- Offer a special incentive: When you’re serving a table of one, you can offer a cost-effective special incentive such as a glass of wine or a complementary dessert to make your guest feel more comfortable.
- Take advantage of social media: Capture a solo diner’s attention by providing special discounts through social media. Rather than offering deals that cater only to couples or groups, provide discounts that might appeal to individuals as well, such as a free beverage or a half-priced dessert.
- Learn how to read between the lines: Some people who are eating dinner alone may prefer a moment of solitude after a long work day, while others may be looking for a more involved experience. For solo diners who seem interested in engaging in conversation, find ways to create more of experiential moment for them.
- Provide something to focus on: For many individual diners, the feeling of being in the spotlight is a tremendous source of discomfort. Give your solo patrons something to focus on to make them feel more at ease. You can offer live music, host an open mic night, or provide a small library of books.
- Change up your seating: The idea of eating alone at a large table might feel awkward for many solo diners. If your restaurant has a bar, give individual diners the option to sit there first. Consider setting up several smaller tables next to a street-facing window to replicate a bar-like experience. The chance for a single diner to watch other people might solve their problem of not knowing what to focus on when dining alone.
In an age where technology has become a primary source of entertainment, a restaurant is a place where many people may be looking for a social connection – even if it’s just with a server or other patrons. A good restaurant will look for ways to appeal to the masses and the individual alike with the sole goal of making each guest as content as possible.
The bottom line is that solo guests are more prone to giving their undivided attention to your restaurant, which gives you the chance to demonstrate what causes your establishment to stand out. With a few simple adjustments and additions, your establishment can make tremendous leaps towards attracting individuals who are opting for a memorable solo dining experience.