Author Topic: Dining Alone  (Read 9421 times)

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MrTango

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Re: Dining Alone
« Reply #30 on: March 11, 2013, 02:21:01 PM »
If I were one of the 3-4 group I'd indicate the other person was tjere first amd be really unimpressed with your stategy. It would simply indicate to me that next time the 4 of us were waiting we might be pushed aside to make room for a party of 6 that had arrived later.

I think this is pretty typical strategy.  It is not exactly a first come first served scenario when there are tables of varying sizes.  If I were a hostess I would certainly seat a party of four at a four-top rather than a single person, especially if the next table to open up is a 2-top, meaning the party of four has to continue to wait.

I think the same. As a solo diner, if the place were packed and a four-top opened, I wouldn't expect to be seated there, but I would expect to be seated at the first available two-top and not required to sit at the counter.

Exactly.  It's a matter of managing the flow of the restaurant and optimizing the utility of the tables that are there.

DavidH

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Re: Dining Alone
« Reply #31 on: March 11, 2013, 02:21:23 PM »
I'm puzzled by the different experiences here. 

Most if not all the restaurants I've been to match the party size to the table during busy times.  So if you are a group of 1 or 2, you wait for the next table for 2.  If you are 3 or 4, you wait for the
next table for 4, and so on up the line.  I've never seen it just first come-first served, so that a party of 1 or 2 might end up with a table for 6 when the restaurant is busy. 

Is seating based on time, with no regard to matching table to party size the norm elsewhere?


TurtleDove

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Re: Dining Alone
« Reply #32 on: March 11, 2013, 02:22:42 PM »
Because people put up with it, if the smaller group or singleton protest this treatment they can often get seated first....I've done it several times.

I tip well, I start someone where between 30 and 40 percent and go up or down from there,  if a place treats me like an imposition because I am single, then they don't need my money. Simple as that.  I am not less worthy of decent service because I am alone.


And if this were a chain place  I would be placing a review on Yelp and anywhere else I could as well as alerting corporate.
Hmmm, to me this comes across as SS.  I don't see it at all as treating single people as less worthy of decent service because they are alone.  Not at all.  I see it as the best way to accomodate everyone.  I think it also depends on the quality/style of restaurant.  I would certainly not have the same expectations of an chain sportsbar as I would of a premier steak house.  Generally, if I am expecting stellar top notch service, I make a reservation and go to a fancy restaurant.  Not that I don't get stellar top notch service at some less expensive places, but just the similar principle of complaining that your steak at chain sports bar is not the best.  Well, you ordered steak at a chain sports bar - of course it isn't the best because it isn't a steak house!

Sharnita

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Re: Dining Alone
« Reply #33 on: March 11, 2013, 02:27:48 PM »
2 people (or 1) would get a table that could sit 4 if they had beem waiting longer. The 1 person would not get a table for 12 bet then that might very well get broken down into 3 tables of 4.

bloo

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Re: Dining Alone
« Reply #34 on: March 11, 2013, 02:57:26 PM »
This comment is just referencing the odd logistics that host/hostesses have to work around when seating:

When I was living in NC, my BFF & I went to this microbrewery - www.barleystaproom.com

Awesome pizza and over 100 different beers on tap. We went on a busy Friday night and it was packed with a 45-60 minute wait. After waiting for 30 minutes or so, a hostess approached us (a 2-top) and asked if we'd mind sharing a table with a couple of gentlemen sitting at an 8-top! She explained they were getting death glares from those waiting for tables (no waiting room) and the rest of their party of six had not arrived.

We, being hungry and thirsty exclaimed, "Of course!" and eagerly and thankfully sat down to join them at the opposite end of the table they had. They thanked us for joining them to hopefully spare them any more 'thousand-yard stares' and then we just politely ignored each other. The rest of their party did not arrive until we were halfway done with our food. Their wives and kids were a little surprised but understood after a short explanation and then we went back to politely ignoring each other.

We left before they did, thanking them again, and never had any idea if they'd had a miscommunication over time or if the husbands just wanted to drink beer for hours while their wives shopped.

But hosts/hostesses have so many different variables to deal with when they're trying to accommodate everyone that comes into the restaurant. It may not seem fair to take someone waiting less time and seat them first, or to appear to discriminate against a lone diner or extra large party - but I genuinely believe it's because all those different variables are being taken into consideration. I've worked in diners and 3-star corporate types of restaurants as waitstaff and in bartending. Hard work but better than being a hostess. A lot of aggravation and special snowflakes for not a lot of money. Just minimum wage and possibly tip-out!

ETA: I was just perusing their site and it looks like they're down to only 43 types of beer on tap. It's been 12 years since I've been there. Still, 43 is a great selection!
« Last Edit: March 11, 2013, 03:02:05 PM by bloo »

Hmmmmm

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Re: Dining Alone
« Reply #35 on: March 11, 2013, 02:58:46 PM »

I am curious how the reviewer "noticed" a hearing impaired person being "forced" to sit at the bar.  It seems an odd thing to notice since you'd have to see or hear that they were hearing impaired and also know that they didn't want to sit at the bar, but that the restaurant offered them no other choice.

I wondered this too. Or if the person who wrote the review would have thought it was fine to insist a non-hearing impaired person must dine at the counter but a hearing impaired should be seated at a booth or table.

There is one diner in our city I'm aware of that has a sign on the door that states single diners will only be sat at the counter during breakfast and lunch rush hours.  It's their policy. I'm sure there are people who do not dine there because of that policy. But I don't think the policy is rude. My husband hates sitting at counters are bars to eat a meal so would never dine solo there.

I would only think the policy rude if it was not applied across the board.

I personally am ok with a restaurant doing table management based on party size.  There's a small asian restaurant frequent.  They have 2 6 top tables and about 14 4 tops (no 2 tops).  If I were in a party of 6 and waiting for a table, I'd be pretty irritated if I saw them seat a party of 4 or less at one of their 6 tops. And if I were in a party of 4, I'd be perfectly ok with a party of 6 that arrived after us being seated before us if a 6 top came available.

LadyR

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Re: Dining Alone
« Reply #36 on: March 11, 2013, 04:32:11 PM »
I've never seen it just be by wait time. As a larger group I often expect to wait a little longer for a table. If I'm in a group of 6 and there's a group of 2 and a small tabe opens up, I don't expect that table to be empty because my group won't fit there, even though we came first.

On the other hand, we recently went out to a lunch bar place and we had a group of 7, we were told it was a long wait and there were a few other people waiting, no idea for how long. However, 5 minutes after we arrived, a large table freed up. It was a long booth style meant to seat 6-10 and would hav been awkward to sit 2 smaller groups there, so even though we had been waiting the least amount of time, they seated us there. If I had been one of the smaller groups, this wouldn't have bothered me and I beleive they were seated within 5-10 minutes of us.


TylerBelle

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Re: Dining Alone
« Reply #37 on: March 11, 2013, 04:40:00 PM »
I'm on the fence with this. On one side, I can see the restaurant not wanting to give up a table where they can fit in multiple people to just one person, thus seating them at the counter / bar. And on the other, if the patron prefers a table, then should have one, even if they must wait.

I myself don't think I'd mind too much switching to the counter, interesting things to watch if the kitchen is rather open. A drawback though with me is having quite the short legs, and so getting up on one of the stools usually isn't the easiest thing.
Always be on the lookout for wonder. --E.B. White

snowdragon

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Re: Dining Alone
« Reply #38 on: March 11, 2013, 04:51:03 PM »
Because people put up with it, if the smaller group or singleton protest this treatment they can often get seated first....I've done it several times.

I tip well, I start someone where between 30 and 40 percent and go up or down from there,  if a place treats me like an imposition because I am single, then they don't need my money. Simple as that.  I am not less worthy of decent service because I am alone.


And if this were a chain place  I would be placing a review on Yelp and anywhere else I could as well as alerting corporate.
Hmmm, to me this comes across as SS. I don't see it at all as treating single people as less worthy of decent service because they are alone.  Not at all.  I see it as the best way to accomodate everyone.  I think it also depends on the quality/style of restaurant.  I would certainly not have the same expectations of an chain sportsbar as I would of a premier steak house.  Generally, if I am expecting stellar top notch service, I make a reservation and go to a fancy restaurant.  Not that I don't get stellar top notch service at some less expensive places, but just the similar principle of complaining that your steak at chain sports bar is not the best.  Well, you ordered steak at a chain sports bar - of course it isn't the best because it isn't a steak house!

   It's saying to the singles that "you can wait til it's convenient to me, because I perceive you as less likely to garner me that big tip/tab that I want."  Sorry, no, and if you treat me like that I can guarantee you that not only will your tip be significantly less but I will make my displeasure with your policy known. 
    I've seen singles expected to wait not because there were no two tops available - but because the restaurant pushed several two tops together to accommodate a larger group - while the singles who where there first, continued to wait til all of the larger groups were seated.  I've waited 45 minutes for a seat, have one come open, only to see a family group that came in 2 minutes before offered it first - even though it meant rearranging furniture.  Single dinners get shafted an awful lot - I find it SS on the part of the restaurant AND the party accepting preferential treatment.  Voting with my dollars and my feet is my right,  not shutting up about it is a great way to make sure that others don't get the same shoddy treatment. 

TurtleDove

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Re: Dining Alone
« Reply #39 on: March 11, 2013, 05:03:01 PM »
Voting with my dollars and my feet is my right,  not shutting up about it is a great way to make sure that others don't get the same shoddy treatment.

You absolutely have the right to do this!  I was just stating my perspective that a restaurant managing the flow of patrons is not, in my opinion, treating single diners shoddily, and depending on the restaurant, they are not catering to single diners anyway so while they might not be pleased that you are unhappy with their practices, they are not likely to change them. 

For the record,  used to travel for business several times per month and would often dine out alone.  I never got the sense that I was being treated shoddily because I was alone.

snowdragon

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Re: Dining Alone
« Reply #40 on: March 11, 2013, 05:12:09 PM »
Voting with my dollars and my feet is my right,  not shutting up about it is a great way to make sure that others don't get the same shoddy treatment.

You absolutely have the right to do this!  I was just stating my perspective that a restaurant managing the flow of patrons is not, in my opinion, treating single diners shoddily, and depending on the restaurant, they are not catering to single diners anyway so while they might not be pleased that you are unhappy with their practices, they are not likely to change them. 

For the record,  used to travel for business several times per month and would often dine out alone. I never got the sense that I was being treated shoddily because I was alone.

  And other people feel differently.   That does not make them wrong ( or you) it's likely just a difference in how the restaurant approaches it.  There are a good many restaurants that I have been to that the difference in service for singles and groups is noticeable ( longer waits to order, no drink refills, not offering the dessert[or wine] menu, ect) .  If you haven't experienced it _ I want to know where you  are going because the ones I have been to have been blatant about it- and it starts at the door, with the way folks are seated. 
   

TurtleDove

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Re: Dining Alone
« Reply #41 on: March 11, 2013, 05:16:10 PM »
If you haven't experienced it _ I want to know where you  are going because the ones I have been to have been blatant about it- and it starts at the door, with the way folks are seated. 
   

Generally it would be the hotel restaurants, which were pretty nice, or other nice restaurants in downtowns nationwide.  An expense account allowed me to really wine and dine myself :)  I can't think of a time I've dined alone at a sitdown restaurant when at home, although I certainly wouldn't be opposed to doing so, I just haven't. That sucks that you have been treated poorly - I never was!

CluelessBride

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Re: Dining Alone
« Reply #42 on: March 11, 2013, 05:17:09 PM »
Because people put up with it, if the smaller group or singleton protest this treatment they can often get seated first....I've done it several times.

I tip well, I start someone where between 30 and 40 percent and go up or down from there,  if a place treats me like an imposition because I am single, then they don't need my money. Simple as that.  I am not less worthy of decent service because I am alone.


And if this were a chain place  I would be placing a review on Yelp and anywhere else I could as well as alerting corporate.
Hmmm, to me this comes across as SS. I don't see it at all as treating single people as less worthy of decent service because they are alone.  Not at all.  I see it as the best way to accomodate everyone.  I think it also depends on the quality/style of restaurant.  I would certainly not have the same expectations of an chain sportsbar as I would of a premier steak house.  Generally, if I am expecting stellar top notch service, I make a reservation and go to a fancy restaurant.  Not that I don't get stellar top notch service at some less expensive places, but just the similar principle of complaining that your steak at chain sports bar is not the best.  Well, you ordered steak at a chain sports bar - of course it isn't the best because it isn't a steak house!

   It's saying to the singles that "you can wait til it's convenient to me, because I perceive you as less likely to garner me that big tip/tab that I want."  Sorry, no, and if you treat me like that I can guarantee you that not only will your tip be significantly less but I will make my displeasure with your policy known. 
    I've seen singles expected to wait not because there were no two tops available - but because the restaurant pushed several two tops together to accommodate a larger group - while the singles who where there first, continued to wait til all of the larger groups were seated.  I've waited 45 minutes for a seat, have one come open, only to see a family group that came in 2 minutes before offered it first - even though it meant rearranging furniture.  Single dinners get shafted an awful lot - I find it SS on the part of the restaurant AND the party accepting preferential treatment.  Voting with my dollars and my feet is my right,  not shutting up about it is a great way to make sure that others don't get the same shoddy treatment.

In general, I look at it more like when you put in your name, you are on a list for a 2-top (1-2 people) or a 4-top (3-4 people) not just any table. Otherwise everyone ends up waiting longer in the end. And large groups often have a reservation, which means they were there "first" even if they weren't in the restaurant. And sometimes its about knowing you have a large group and a bunch of tables near each other that could be pushed together and scattered individual tables that will open up soon.  Since you can't push the scattered tables together, it minimizes the overall wait time to seat the large group. It also frees up more bar/waiting area space for other people waiting.  I have often witnessed odd seating choices, but a few minutes of assessing the situation usually allows me to come up with an efficiency/logistical explanation. So in *general* I support this policy in restaurants - even if it means sometimes I'm the one waiting longer.

However, it does sound like in your case single diners are receiving shoddy treatment. And voting with your feet is absolutely your right (ans a smart thing to do!).* Writing to corporate is also your right. Complaining quietly and politely is also your right. Making a scene to get seated first would be rude, and so I hope that's not what you mean by "not shutting up about it is a great way to make sure that others don't get the same shoddy treatment."

*It's worth noting that policies that discourage a (non-protected) group from patronizing a business are also within their right and are basically the business side of voting with their feet. It may or may not pay off.

miranova

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Re: Dining Alone
« Reply #43 on: March 11, 2013, 05:20:02 PM »
I have eaten lunch alone with a book dozens of times in my life.  I have never been asked to sit at the bar.  I've been asked if I would LIKE to sit at the bar(as an option) but it's always been phrased as "would you prefer to sit at the bar or at a table?"  I have never even felt the slightest bit of pressure to choose "bar" and until this thread it never occurred to me that maybe they wanted me at the bar.  Then again, I simply don't feel that I'm "depriving" the restaurant of a single dime.  I'm there to spend money!  If I'm seated at a two top, that is no different than a group of 3 seated at a 4 top, which the restaurant will happily do all day long.  If I "take" a table that the couple behind me could have used, the only thing that will happen is that the couple may have to wait a bit longer for their table.  To which I say..... so?  I was there too, I waited for my table.  The only way it would actually cost the restaurant a DIME for me to have a two top is if the couple behind me gets annoyed and leaves.  Otherwise, they are actually ahead because they are getting revenue from the 3 of us, and if they hadn't been willing to seat me at a table, I would have left and they'd only receive revenue from 2 people (the couple behind me).  And that is assuming that the couple behind me were both planning to order a full meal with appetizer and a glass of wine, as I often did when dining alone with a book.

Really, the only way the restaurant could ever lose money by being willing to seat single diners at tables is if people in line get impatient enough to leave.  And really, if your restaurant is so busy that you have people lined up at the door, you are doing fine in the revenue department, unless people are staying for hours and ordering nothing, which is a completely seperate topic having nothing to do with single diners.

Edited to add:  I do get a little annoyed at the attitude that every party  MUST be a maximum money maker or they are rude.  The whole point of dining out is to order what you like, and we won't all like the same things.  Not every table is going to be full of people who all want alcoholic drinks, apps, entrees, and desserts, eats as fast as they can allowing you to turn over the table as quickly as possible.  I can't get behind the idea that it is in any way rude not to offer the restaurant a maximum revenue table every time you walk in the door.  Some tables are bigger money makers than others, that's part of the deal.  My husband and I usually have a glass of wine when we are out but we recently took a few weeks off drinking. We went out to a nice dinner but only ordered iced teas.  The waitress actually made a comment about how we "weren't going to have too much fun tonight huh?" since we didn't order alcohol.  I found it highly rude of her to even comment.  When did restaurants/servers get the idea that they are entitled to a high ticket at every single table?    The very idea that it might be considered rude for a single person to eat at a table because they don't spend as much as a two person table is not something I can ever get behind.  Etiquette does not dictate that I insure that the restaurant receives as much revenue as possible.  That might be their policy and their business model, but is not really the same thing as etiquette.  If that's their policy they can have it, and I will stay away when I'm alone and even when I'm not.  But I'm not rude for wanting a table at a restaurant that offers that option.  Even IF they will make less money on me than on a couple.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2013, 05:42:32 PM by miranova »

Sophia

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Re: Dining Alone
« Reply #44 on: March 11, 2013, 05:38:47 PM »
I wouldn't have a problem with the example of the posted sign saying singles had to sit at the bar.  But, the second class treatment in the OP upsets me.  I'd probably call during say 3pm when the Manager was likely to be there, and not busy.  I'd say that I had been interested in trying the diner, but not any more thanks to the review. 

As a former frequent business traveler, I have eaten solo a lot.  The only time I had trouble was when I was actually meeting my boyfriend.  We'd planned on meeting at X time (very early end of dinnertime) on a weekday.  I was in college and I had been out running errands beforehand and I was done early.  At one point I realized I could drive for 10 minutes, spend 10 minutes at home, then drive 10 minutes back.  Or I could take a book in and wait.  I told the person at the front desk (probably a manager) that I was here ridiculuously early to meet my bf for dinner.  Could I have a table and a drink or water and wait for him?  i.e.  I didn't need actual service until bf got there. 
The waiter was horrible and patronizing.  As if I were making up the boyfriend, and won't I really just rather order now?