I am a single adult, living alone in West Seattle (not counting my awesome canine companion, Tess).
First, let me say that being alone and being lonely are not at all the same in my book. In fact, they’re not even on the same page. But that is not what this post is about. It is about my frustration at being excluded from the benefits of most “dining out” coupons.
I recently received yet another coupon book in the mail filled with money-saving offers from local businesses. Six West Seattle restaurants offered discount coupons. Guess how many of them would benefit me if I chose to dine solo? None. Zippo. Zilch. Zero.
Every single offer (pun intended) required that I buy one full-priced meal in order to get a second one free or at a discount. (Note: I am singling out West Seattle restaurants only because I live in West Seattle right now. Restaurants everywhere are guilty of this oversight.)
I don’t know whether I am the exception or the norm, but as a single person living by myself, I long ago abandoned any self-consciousness over eating alone in a restaurant or going solo to a movie theater.
Even so, there are definitely restaurants where I feel welcomed and others where I feel my business is undervalued and underappreciated.
Why should restaurant owners care about catering to singles? Don’t they make much more profit from tables of multiple diners? Consider this:
- Singles tend to eat out more frequently.
- Singles often take guests out to dinner and choose the restaurant based on their previous experiences there, whether dining alone or in tandem.
- Singles talk; we recommend (or don’t) restaurants to friends and family both online and in person.
Here are a few of the things that contribute to the likelihood that I will frequent a particular eating establishment. (Only a few are specific to dining alone.)
- I am welcomed promptly and politely
- I am able to look over the menu before being seated
- The menu includes “small plate” options
- There is comfortable seating available at the bar or small tables
- The eatery is clean and aesthetically pleasing
- The food is good
- The prices represent a good value
- The server is prompt, knowledgeable and gracious
- Neither the server nor management makes me feel rushed
- Plenty of available parking or transit-friendly options
Am I missing anything that you look for? If so, I hope you will take a moment to comment below.
In the coming weeks, I plan to survey a number of the West Seattle restaurants listed on the award-winning, West Seattle Blog to find out what they do, if anything, to welcome single diners? I will publish the results here.
If you are a restaurant owner, particularly a West Seattle restaurant owner, I invite you to beat me to the punch. Comment on this post to let singles know what you do to accommodate us and show you value our patronage.
One final note. Although the coupon book I mentioned above did not contain any dining discounts suitable to singles, I have since seen one that did. One West Seattle restaurant, and one West Seattle restaurant only, included a coupon good for 15% off the entire bill. No stipulations that you must spend a minimum amount or purchase more than one entree. That restaurant is…drumroll, please! Bang Bar Thai Restaurant and Lounge located at 4750 California Ave. SW in West Seattle’s Alaska Junction. I have eaten there (sans coupon) and had a very good experience.
You see? We do talk! Restaurant owners would be wise to listen.