As much as I enjoy cooking and family dinners, nothing beats an occasional meal in a nice restaurant. Also, cooking for one can become a boring chore after a while. There are days when I just want to get out of the house and enjoy a nice dinner without the hassle of cooking and cleaning. That’s not a big deal when I have someone to go with, but what about when I’m by myself? Have you ever experienced anxiety over dining alone? Aside from the fact that you may feel awkward eating alone, you may also get less than ideal service unless you think ahead. Here are some ideas for SMART singles to master the art of dining alone.
Pick the Right Time
Restaurants need customers, the more the better, so don’t expect to get the best seat in the house when you come in alone, those seats are reserved for parties greater than one. You will likely be put in a back corner, or at the bar. There are a couple of things you can do to minimize this. First, choose a time that is less busy so that a table for one has less impact on the establishment’s bottom line. It doesn’t hurt to tell the waiter that you will be ordering a meal-to-go along with dinner. Tip generously and become a repeat customer. The staff will get to know you and go out of their way to give you great service which includes better seating.
If the thought of dining alone makes you uncomfortable, start with eating by yourself at casual dining establishments during the lunch hour before moving on to nicer restaurants during the evening. I don’t think twice about stopping in at a fast food restaurant, or corner café to grab a bite of lunch alone. Why should going to a nice restaurant in the evening be any different? Another idea is to eat at a hotel. There are some really nice restaurants in larger hotels. If you choose to eat there, not only will you enjoy a great meal, but you are more likely to get a nice seat as it is not unusual for people to travel alone and eat-in at the hotel. You don’t have to be a hotel guest to enjoy their restaurant.
Bring A Pet
There are more pet friendly restaurants and cafes opening up than ever before, especially since the pandemic forced restaurants to move their dining options outside. If you own a well-socialized pup, check out the latest trend sweeping the country, dog bars. You don’t have to be into the bar scene to fit in at these venues, they focus on making this a place you want to visit often with your four-legged friend.
Bring a Book
Finally, if you are still uncomfortable, have something to do while you wait to be served. Some easy ways to eliminate the awkwardness of wait time when you have no one to talk to is to have a book to read, or a small notebook for writing. You can even use your smartphone to occupy the time, just avoid having a long conversation on the phone as this can have the opposite effect of drawing unwanted attention to yourself.