As circumstances in my life have evolved, I have had the opportunity to dine alone several times recently. If you have never experienced this wonderful situation, I highly recommend you give it a try.
There are several advantages to dining alone.
You almost always get a table. Party of one–come on down! Often, it is in a remote corner of the establishment where you will feel comfortable with your dining experience knowing no one else can see you. This is often called Loser’s Corner in the restaurant business. But for those of us that like privacy when we eat, you can’t beat the ambiance. We are winners!
Sometimes, though, you might have to sit outside. perhaps in the alley.
And if things are really tight, you might end up here. On the bright side, if you need extra napkins, the roll is right there.
Another advantage is that the meal goes faster. It takes the chef less time to prepare one meal. He has fewer burgers to flip so the food arrives quickly. Also, there is no annoying dinner conversation to slow one down. It’s hard to talk and chew at the same time, and quite frankly, if you do that, then that’s probably another reason why you are dining alone right now anyway. You can still carry on those remarkably entertaining conversations in your head, without spewing croutons across the table.
You don’t have to worry about that awkward moment when the waitress asks if this will be separate checks, or if she doesn’t ask, sets the bill down between you and your dinner date leaving the two of you to glance between the check, each other, and pretty much any other point in the restaurant which would be less uncomfortable.
The bill is lower since you’re only paying for one. The tip is lower as well. Have I convinced you this is the way to go, yet?
But it’s not all fun and games. It can still be awkward if you order the lobster. Especially if you are at Burger King–have it your way apparently does not include surf and turf. And if you order the most expensive meal, will you get lucky tonight? Your hand starts to tremble in anticipation. You drop your lobster in the butter. There’s a lot of pressure there if you order the lobster. If your wrist is sore, or you have a headache, you might want to stick with the salad.
But if you are prepared and dine modestly, the evening can be delightful. Prepare some jokes in your head to entertain yourself. Other patrons in the restaurant will be envious of you laughing to yourself and making them wish they were dining with you. At the cool table! Don’t be rude and ignore yourself while texting on the phone. After all, if you had someone to text, you wouldn’t be sitting there alone anyway.
And if your restaurant has televisions, you have the choice of seats around the table to have the view of whatever TV you want!