Tables-for-One on Valentine’s Day Is a Growing Trend, According to OpenTable
Dining out alone on Valentine’s Day might seem like an easy way to double-down on an already forlorn situation, but according to the reservation site OpenTable, the popularity of dining alone is increasing — yes, even on Valentine’s Day.
From 2014 to 2018, OpenTable says that party-for-one bookings in New York City increased by a whopping 80 percent. The well-known online reservation company admits that single-seat bookings only make up a “small percentage” of reservations overall. Still, there are likely plenty of other reasons why that’s the case beyond the stigma of dining alone. For one, it’s significantly easier to get a table for one on the fly than a table for a larger group. And speaking of which, dining alone tends to be a more off-the-cuff decision in general.
Meanwhile, an even more interesting trend that OpenTable pointed out was that on Valentine’s Day in 2018 (which fell on a Wednesday, mind you), table-for-one reservations in New York City were up 33 percent over the previous year. Again, we’re dealing with a very small number of total reservations — OpenTable says that “solo reservations made up less than 1 percent of total bookings on Valentine's Day in 2018” — but still, having that 33 percent stat locked and loaded seems like a solid way to boost the confidence of other wannabe Valentine’s Day solo diners moving forward. (So go get your booking in now!)
On top of these stats, the Wall Street Journal pointed out that some restaurants actually have a special appreciation for tables for one. To them, it can demonstrate that a diner wants to devote their entire focus to the food instead of schmoozing with colleagues or bickering with a significant other. “The way we approach it is that when we have a solo diner, it’s more of an honor than anyone else,” Andrew Kuhl, the dining-room manager at Eleven Madison Park, was quoted as saying. Exactly. It’s not that you can’t find other people to dine with; it’s that you prefer the company of food!