Did you hear? Restaurants are fed up with parties of six hogging the table for hours on end.

They started either charging a large deposit, or only allowing large party bookings outside the dinner rush.

For the food service industry, it’s largely a convenience play. Big parties take longer to serve, and the extra income isn’t worth the hassle (Groups of 6+ made up only 8% of the 2023 reservations booked on Resy).

You know who’s NOT inconvenient to serve? Parties of one.

Online mentions of eating alone rose by 9% YoY. Source: Brandwatch

 

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Eating alone – whether it’s sad, completely fine, or glorified – has divided the Internet for years. But the number of folks who enjoy it, or venture to try it, are steadily growing.

In response, restaurants that traditionally thrive on two- or four-tops are adapting to the shift, adding single-portioned meals, special pricing, and optimized seating.

There are plenty of opportunities to build on this trend. You can:

Help The Diners

Eating at a new place alone can be daunting – it’s helpful to know what to expect.

There’s tons of content reviewing restaurants, but why not build a database compiling the most solo-friendly spots in each city, and save diners the time to read 10 SEO articles? You can even include videos of actual foodies reviewing their experiences in local spots.

AI can be a powerful add here – build a dating app-style UI, have people input their preferences, and “match” them with restaurants from your database. This could be popular among the growing solo traveler crowd.

Help The Restaurants

Offer design services to restaurants that want to cater to solo diners, and help them curate the “party-of-one” experience, from space design to music to lighting. Build them a cozy nook – there’s a science to it.  

As a bonus, add on waitstaff training to make sure their service is considerate for solo diners, like not forcing them to sit at the bar, or assuming they’re waiting for someone (or judging them if they’re wearing an Apple Vision Pro). 

Think Beyond Food

The popularity of solo dining signals that the society is making progress in de-stigmatizing “alone” experiences.

Notably, we’ll see a rise of single-person households in the coming years, which could open up a whole lotta opportunities. 

A quarter of 40-year-olds in the US were never married, and over 40% of them don’t consider marriage or kids important life milestones. 

Globally, Asian countries like China, Japan and Korea have already been moving in this direction for years.

Those who build for the “single-minded” will see big profits. Think: One-person meal delivery services, furniture and home decor for small spaces, pet-related services, self care experiences, and many more. 

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Source: Pinterest

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