Author Topic: Dining Alone  (Read 9173 times)

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MissBrit

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Dining Alone
« on: March 11, 2013, 01:13:03 PM »
A new restaurant opened in my town this week that is an upscale 50's style diner. I went online to a popular restaurant review website out of curiosity to see what people were saying about it and one review caught my attention. The reviewer had noticed that a woman who was hearing impaired and dining alone was being "forced" (the reviewers punctuation and word, not mine) to sit at the bar when she had requested a table and reviewer thought that this was poor customer service.  I mentioned this to a friend because it seemed rather rude to me too but my friend said people dining alone should always sit at the bar and that is what it is there for.  I personally think it completely depends on the circumstances (how busy the restaurant is, tables available, medical issues, etc). What say you, e hellions? Was this rude?

MariaE

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Re: Dining Alone
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2013, 01:17:08 PM »
I agree with you. I regularly eat out alone, and have only been seated at the bar if it's busy.

What was your friend's reasoning for this "rule"?
 
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Twik

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Re: Dining Alone
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2013, 01:17:45 PM »
I often dine alone. If I were "forced" to sit at the bar, I would never patronize that restaurant again. It is one thing to say, "There are no tables open right now - would you like to eat at the bar, or shall I put you down to wait for a table?" If it gets me eating quicker, I'm all for it. However, to say, "It doesn't matter what tables are free - you're single, and you're not taking up one of our precious tables," is extremely rude service.

The bar is for people to drink. While you may get food there in many restaurants, that is a secondary function. If I'm taking up a bar seat and drinking soft drinks with my meal, that also is a loss to the restaurant.
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."

Wulfie

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Re: Dining Alone
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2013, 01:17:59 PM »
Yes, it is rude.  I sometimes dine alone and do not like the chairs at most bars/counters. I am short and having to perch on a chair where my feet don't touch the floor is really uncomfortable. I would walk out if that was the rule/only place I could sit.

ACBNYC

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Re: Dining Alone
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2013, 01:19:24 PM »
I think it's rude. Bars aren't for solo diners--they're for people who want to sit at the bar. Bar stools are usually uncomfortable for me; if I'm dining alone, which I do frequently, I prefer a table.

I don't see one person taking a two-top any differently than three people taking a four-top, if the restaurant's point was not wanting to have empty seats.

WillyNilly

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Re: Dining Alone
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2013, 01:20:41 PM »
I think it does depend on how busy the restaurant is (and if sitting at the bar is physically possible - a person in a wheel chair for example might not physically be able to sit at the bar). Tables are generally considered "2 tops" or "4 tops" etc meaning they can seat 2, or 4, or how ever many people. Having empty seats in a super busy restaurant is not cost effective, so parties should be seated at the smallest appropriate table size to maximize space.

But of course the bar is not always feasible. I'm not sure what being hearing impaired has to do with the story, but perhaps something to do with how the server approaches and communicates with the customer is better at a table then at the bar, hence the customer insisting due to their disability they needed a table.

Ultimately though a restaurant can't "force" a customer to sit anywhere, as the customer can always decide to simply leave. I do think its fine for restaurants to have policies on how small a party can be at a table during busy times though - their business, their rules.

Twik

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Re: Dining Alone
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2013, 01:21:51 PM »
I should mention that, while I have never had a problem with being hit on, some women may feel that being alone at the bar makes them a target for men who are, to use an old phrase, "wolves". Not to mention the awkwardness of purses, etc.

It is unfortunate that many restaurants and servers see single people (particularly women on their own) as second-class diners.
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."

Twik

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Re: Dining Alone
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2013, 01:23:37 PM »
I'm not sure what being hearing impaired has to do with the story, but perhaps something to do with how the server approaches and communicates with the customer is better at a table then at the bar, hence the customer insisting due to their disability they needed a table.

The bar area tends to be noisy, often with music playing, and people speaking very closely. I can see it would not be ideal for a person with a hearing impairment.
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."

Surianne

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Re: Dining Alone
« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2013, 01:24:21 PM »
How odd.  I usually offer (or sometimes even ask) to sit at the bar because I don't mind it, and chatting with the bartender/other patrons can be fun.  But if I were required to just because I was single (and there were free tables) I'd be pretty annoyed and insulted.

ACBNYC

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Re: Dining Alone
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2013, 01:25:29 PM »
I should mention that, while I have never had a problem with being hit on, some women may feel that being alone at the bar makes them a target for men who are, to use an old phrase, "wolves". Not to mention the awkwardness of purses, etc.

It is unfortunate that many restaurants and servers see single people (particularly women on their own) as second-class diners.

I moved into a new apartment years ago and the first night took myself out to a pizza place with a book as company. The server came up to me and said..."what, did your boyfriend break up with you?"

I've rarely been that insulted, but at the time I had no spine so I didn't say or do anything. To boot, he couldn't have known, but I was in my new apartment after separating from ex-DH.  >:(

MariaE

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Re: Dining Alone
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2013, 01:26:07 PM »
How odd.  I usually offer (or sometimes even ask) to sit at the bar because I don't mind it, and chatting with the bartender/other patrons can be fun.  But if I were required to just because I was single (and there were free tables) I'd be pretty annoyed and insulted.

Agreed. Besides, a single person sitting at a 2 top is no more "wasting space" than 3 people sitting at a 4 top. ... Unless the odd one out there would be required to sit at the bar too?
 
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WillyNilly

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Re: Dining Alone
« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2013, 01:30:35 PM »
OP can you clarify something for me?

I read the op and thought of the bar as more like a diner counter since its a "50's style diner", not an actual 'stand around and drink alcohol' bar, but more like the counter area in a diner, where people go primarily to eat. Sure the coffee station, and yes the alcohol are behind it, but its primarily for eating. Clearly other posters are reading it as more of an alcohol centric bar rather then an eating counter.

Sharnita

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Re: Dining Alone
« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2013, 01:32:21 PM »
Actually, I don't think it matters what kind of bar it is, neither is de facto seating for singles.

WillyNilly

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Re: Dining Alone
« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2013, 01:38:12 PM »
Actually, I don't think it matters what kind of bar it is, neither is de facto seating for singles.

Well I think it makes a difference for example in response to Twiks answers. A diner counter is no louder then a dining table, as they are usually right next to each other, without so much as partition between them. Also a diner counter is not the kind of place men are hovering look to pick up women - people are just sitting there eating.

Either way is a physically different experience, but the social and atmosphere differences aren't really there.

Amara

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Re: Dining Alone
« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2013, 01:41:48 PM »
I always want a table, and I do not want the table next to the servers' station or the entrance to the kitchen. I've got sufficient spine to tell the hosts/hostesses that too. If need be, I am happy to wait. But if I was refused a table and directed to the bar I would spread my experience far and wide both online and in real life. Dining alone does not equal outcast.