How Restaurants Can Appeal to Solo Diners

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In 2015, OpenTable crunched the data and discovered that party-of-one reservations had increased 62 percent in only two years. The simple fact is that there are millions of individuals out there who occupy restaurant booths by themselves on any given day. Unfortunately, many restaurateurs only focus their time on catering to families, coworkers and friends. With the number of solo diners on the rise, though, it’s important to take steps to bring in those party-of-one diners.

Offer Free Wi-Fi
Older generations would once just bring a nice book along with them when dining solo, but Millennials don’t typically engage in the same behavior. In fact, even older individuals have taken a liking to mobile devices. Because of this, restaurateurs need to foot the Wi-Fi bill for their customers.

Just because someone is eating alone doesn’t mean they’re content with sitting in the restaurant furniture and getting bored. If they visit an establishment and have to choose between using their own data or twiddling their thumbs, there’s a good chance they’ll choose another restaurant next time.

Create a Bar-Like Feeling
Even at small bar tables, a solo diner will sometimes feel uncomfortable hanging out with a bunch of empty chairs. Even worse, imagine the poor soul sitting on one side of a restaurant booth with an overtly empty seat across from them.

Establishments with actual bars are ideal, thanks to the fact that the seating isn’t catered towards groups of friends. Of course, not every restaurant has the luxury of having a bar area. Fortunately, it’s still possible to recreate this feeling by taking a long high-top table and placing it against a window that faces the street. Stools can then provide the bar-like feeling, and cafe chairs can give off a bistro aura.

Offer Outdoor Seating Options
Not every solo diner will want to be glued to their cell phone at a restaurant booth for the entirety of their meal. Some of these diners would rather sit outside and take in a breath of fresh air while enjoying the scenery. If you have an area that can accommodate patrons, toss some outdoor restaurant furniture in the area and start taking advantage of the additional space.

Offer the Classics
In many instances, people sitting alone in restaurant booths are doing so because they’re on a lunch break. Then again, there are also people who simply enjoy not having to cook even if they have to go out on their own. Either way, classics such as soup, club sandwiches, quick appetizers and salads typically appeal to these individuals. The dishes are easy to make, so solo patrons can get in and out quickly if they so choose.

No matter how great an eatery is, there’s never a day when every restaurant booth is packed with a group of patrons. Solo diners are becoming more and more common, and it’s time that restaurateurs took notice of this. While they may not produce as much revenue per table, solo guests can still keep revenue flowing and even increase check averages if servers are doing their jobs correctly.