Table For One, Please

Many people cringe when they must respond, “One” to the “How many in your party?” question from the restaurant greeter?

Many avoid the cringe by ordering room service or grabbing take-out.

Dining alone in a restaurant isn’t the first choice of most people. Dining is an experience we like to share. But, eating is a necessity. Enjoying the ambiance of a lovely restaurant is part of the dining experience, too. So, alone in a new city or simply hungry in your own? Don’t be reluctant to confidently say, “Table for one, please.”

Act confidently. Walk into the restaurant looking like you belong in their establishment. No, that doesn’t mean you strut in, but walk in with your head up, make eye contact with the maitre d’, and speak clearly. No mumbling. If you look like you feel sorry for yourself then why won’t others feel the same toward you?

Ask for a quiet table. No one wants to eat alone in the middle of a restaurant. Ask for a table less central. One with a view would be a bonus.

Consider eating at the bar. Many restaurants serve their regular menu at the bar too. No one even looks to see who is dining alone. You may feel less conspicuous.

Disregard what I’ve said in previous blog posts and workshops. Yes, you have permission to check your email, lose yourself in a great book on your e-reader, and browse the tourist attractions on your tablet. Refrain from speaking on your phone in a restaurant. I’m not giving permission for that one! Don’t let your technology consume you though and take away the pleasure of your food. Tweet your friends about how proud you feel.

Get creative. One of my solitary dining experiences resulted in one of my most popular blog posts, Observations During a Fruit Platter and Two Chocolate Croissants. Inspiration hit and I turned over my paper breakfast place mat and scribbled away.

Order dessert. There’s no one to see you so order the triple chocolate cheesecake and eat it all!

“Table for one, please” shouldn’t be an issue. You have the confidence.

Do you have any solitary dining experiences to share? Any tips to add? We’d love to hear them. The comment box is all yours – alone.IM000001 copya_1

About etiquetteottawa

Founder and Owner of the Protocol School Of Ottawa
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6 Responses to Table For One, Please

  1. Angela Sim says:

    Dining alone is a real treat for me in many ways…it’s quiet, I don’t have to worry about the food allergies other members of my family have, and I don’t have to help the kids with their runaway spaghetti noodles, etc… I take the opportunity to read, to “people-watch”, to flirt with the server, to day dream and look out the window (I’m usually in a foreign country when the opportunity arises), to answer emails…etc. I would never pick room service over dining alone…very lonely.

  2. Table for one is an invitation for company.

    Lone diners attract conversation, “Oh, you are dining alone, are you visiting…?”
    Solo guests invite interest,”How are you enjoying that book/Kindle?”

    Solitary is not unsociable, it can say, “Hello…”

    • Great comments Heather. Yes, dining alone can be a great opportunity to meet others. If company is not desired, then that can easily be conveyed too. And you don’t have to share dessert!

  3. Alessandro says:

    Personally I like dining alone. I have no problem at all asking a table for one, both a side or in the middle of the room. I generally spend the time waiting for my order browsing my phone emails and tweets and when the food is on the table I take my time to eat it. What I like of being alone is the fact that I don’t have to talk and it’s completely a “me” time that I enjoy. I don’t feel bad or less because I don’t have a companion with me. I particularly enjoy look at the other people and see hat they do and how they socialize: this is not possible when I share my lunch or dinner with someone else. As usual I agree about your etiquette suggestion: no phone call at all at the table! I’m so happy that you mentioned it because I think that is really bad taste talking at a restaurant’s table.

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