"We go out to restaurants not only to eat but to be in the world, not home alone. That's why no one wants
to be stuck with that awful table where you can't see or be seen. The trend now, especially in casual restaurants
is the communal table." S. Irene Virbila, Restaurant Critic - Los Angeles Times - September 15, 2011
Excerpt: "The communal table experience" - Critic's Choice
Considering launching a communal table — your very own customer magnet? Create one now and capitalize
on it over the holidays!
Check out the FREE communal table tips below:
The following text appears on page 27 of 150-Plus Tips on How to Attract & Keep Solo Diners.
COMMUNAL TABLE LOGISTICS
Welcome solos to special events like wine tasting dinners by reserving a table for any guests attending
"As affluent baby-boomers, who are not used to staying home, get older and become statistically more likely
to lose their partners, smart restaurant owners will be offering more options such as communal tables or social
events to attract the business. To me, life is short, and anyone who hides out at home for lack of dining companions
can look in the mirror for someone to blame." chowhound contributor
Designate a table just for wine lovers. You'll attract solos AND couples - people who love wine and an opportunity
to interact with others. Add to the excitement by encouraging guests to bring along favorite bottles [minimal corkage
fee or forego the fee] to share. Enhance the experience by creating a special wine-by-the glass menu for this gathering.
Maintain one or more communal dining tables during holidays, like Thanksgiving and Christmas, for solos
(and couples who wish to share the spirit of the season with others) to reserve seating.
To further conversation among solos, avoid seating them at long rectangular tables. Large round or oval
tables are preferable.
". . . we love communal dining. We don't love it all the time (some meals, like romantic tête-à-têtes
and business lunches, don't really adapt well to the medium) but it's great for a number of other difficult conditions.
Some of our best first dates have been at communal tables - the chatter and camaraderie can help deflect awkward
silences, and the premium placed on interpersonal politesse is a great "do I want to see this person again?"
It's also, bar none, our choice for solo dining - sometimes you just don't want to stare at a tundra of unfilled
white space on a half-filled two-top, or have to feebly attempt to befriend the bartender over your bolognese per
uno." menupages.com-Chicago blog
New Year's Eve — SURPRISE! — is a prime "solo diner" opportunity for filling tables
and for cultivating future regular customers.
Set aside a table for solo seating only and encourage reservations by tenting tables (and the bar(s) with an
announcement and by alerting local publications.
(This is an EASY way to secure FREE media exposure for your restaurant!)
Impress upon staff the importance of making "first name" introductions when seating individuals at
a communal table.
Ready for more tips on how to create a spectacularly successful communal table — preferred seating that guests will associate with your restaurant
— an amenity that will draw them back frequently?
Get your copy of 150-Plus Tips amd start making plans NOW!
The following text appears on page 14 in the "Solo Diner Savvy in General" section of 150-Plus
Tips on How to Attract & Keep
Seat solos away from heavy traffic patterns.
Seat solos at one or two tables near a front window. Let strollers — potential solo diners — see that they,
too, will be welcomed.
Banquette seating allows solos to feel a part of a restaurant scene.
During busy times, let solos know, before they are seated, that they may be asked to share a table.
"I too feel right at home on a solo basis, and yes, if it does get busy, you will probably get to know
your neighbors, maybe even taste something else." chowhound.com contributor
When times get busy, ask a seated solo if he/she is willing to share the table.
Consider establishing a house policy for solo diners.
Require your staff to ask solo walk-ins or those calling for reservations this question: "Would you welcome
being seated with another solo diner?"
Note: This question accomplishes several objectives. It conveys the message that your restaurant understands
that people like options. Sometimes they prefer to dine alone, while other times they welcome opportunities to
blend into a restaurant with a companion.
Consider seating solos cheek-by-jowl at banquette seating and let "nature" take its course.
"And it turned out I had a delightful dining 'companion.' An elderly gentleman was seated next to me shortly
after I arrived, and we ended up having a wonderful conversation for the entire meal, and by the end we were swapping
cheeses like old friends." chowhound.com contributor
The following text appears on page 41 in the "Solo Diner Savvy in General" section of 150-Plus
Tips on How to Attract & Keep
Q & A: SAMPLE MEDIA QUESTIONS
ABOUT SOLO DINING
AND RESPONSES TO CONSIDER
Q: Why does your restaurant cater to solo diners?
A: We believe we actually cater to "all" of our guests by offering
solo dining options and amenities. Sooner or later everyone faces the challenge of dining out alone. Irma Bombeck,
the late humor columnist, devoted an entire column to her gripes about being left to dine alone when her husband
was out of town.
We want customers to remember that whether they are solo or accompanied, they are always welcome to join us for
Q: Your restaurant is known for rolling out the welcome mat for solo diners.
How did that reputation develop?
A: We take pride in being known as a restaurant that takes the bite out of
solo dining. We're glad it shows! People are discovering that we cater to solo diners in many ways. One of the
amenities we offer is facilitating shared-table seating between two strangers. Solos welcome this option, especially
when they appear at our door wishing they had company.
Besides adding conversation to a meal, sharing a table with another person offers a way for a solo to blend into
a restaurant filled with couples and groups. This option is a god-send for people concerned about what other diners
think about their solo state.
Q: What do people want from a restaurant when they dine out alone?
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