Until now, sales strategies in the restaurant industry have generally consisted of generating a maximum number of tables and paying less attention to people who eat out alone. Times have changed, as has society, and trends in the restaurant industry have also evolved.
In Stockholm, Paris, and New York, it is estimated that more than half of homes are inhabited by single people. In London, this proportion is a third, a figure that only stands to increase in future years, which indicates that there will also be more people eating out alone.
The restaurant Eenmaal in Amsterdam has noted this new trend by becoming the first restaurant for singles. Following an unprecedented business strategy, with individual tables and a personalized service, its reservation diary has been full since it opened. This implies that eating alone is more natural than most people believe, and that this is an interesting niche for further development.
Do you pay enough attention to single diners in your restaurant? More importantly, do you consider people eating alone as a commercial opportunity?
If the answer is no to either of these questions, here are a few tips that will allow you to get the most out of these customers:
Someone that eats alone regularly in your restaurant provides more revenue than a group of ten that visits once because:
– They provide a continuous revenue stream.
– They generate publicity due to word of mouth and will regularly attract new customers.
– They are a great way to make small spaces profitable.
– They are easier to satisfy and turn into loyal customers.
– You will feel the benefits in less time.
To satisfy single diners, you must be able to offer:
#1- A natural environment
Make any customers that dine alone with you feel that you are familiar with welcoming this type of customer. If the server sees that someone has come in alone, make sure they don’t ask if the diner is waiting for someone else, and even more importantly, that they don’t show surprise because that will be equally off-putting. It’s important to provide the diner with a natural welcome and wait for them to explain what they want.
#2- Suitable tables
Set aside strategic tables for single diners. You can place them on small tables or make use of the bar. Of course, make sure you don’t place them in the middle of a large table, near the bathroom, or facing a wall. Use spaces near to windows or little private corners as much as possible. And, of course, let the customer choose! Show them the different areas available and let them decide where they want to sit
#3- Quick service
Service and preparing food for a single diner will require less time and effort than for a table of four. However, that’s no reason for them to settle for second best. The opposite is true. Make sure your servers provide a quick and personalized service.
#4- Create a strong bond with your customer
Single diners are a perfect opportunity to offer a truly personalized and more intimate service than with large tables. Encourage your staff to provide a friendly and tailored service. Single diners don’t want to be disturbed, of course, but they will appreciate receiving special attention in your restaurant.
While this may seem obvious, it’s really important to provide a good wireless internet connection. Today, the majority of single diners will be accompanied by their smartphone, tablet, or computer, and will appreciate being able to use it while they eat.
#6- Small details
It doesn’t cost you anything to go the extra mile to meet a single diner’s wishes. If your customer wants to add a small side salad to their main or wants a hot chocolate instead of a dessert, go the extra mile. This will cost you less than if you were responding to the demands of a table of four and will keep your customer coming back.
You want to turn your diners into loyal customers and make your restaurant their regular eatery. In addition to the strategies mentioned previously, you can create offers on social media, such as those discussed in this TripAdvisor article, or offers specifically for single diners on promotional sites.
Ultimately, single diners are only visiting your restaurant because they like it and not due to social pressure, or the influence of other people. This is a marker of recognition. If you show your appreciation of these by applying the strategies discussed previously, your regular customers will be satisfied and your revenue will increase.