Solo Diners Eat Out Week is celebrated from February 1 to 7 every year. It is a week specially created for people — single, independent, and strong people — to eat at restaurants. Solo Diners Eat Out Week was celebrated by Amanda Cohen, New York chef, at her restaurant Dirt Candy. During this week, which is close to Valentine’s, she comes up with wonderful options for single diners. The idea is that singles feel less punished for choosing their lifestyle. From this, more restaurants joined in to make Solo Diners Eat Out Week special.
History of Solo Diners Eat Out Week
In the early 19th century, there wasn’t any stigma attached to solo dining. It was seen as something only the rich could do, as they needed to pay for a private room to dine in the restaurant. Communal dining back then was the standard, and people who could afford a more expensive price for privacy would dine solo.
After the American Civil War in 1865, luxury restaurants started coming up in the country, and slowly the stigma related to solo dining began to build. These restaurants removed the communal dining tables and created private seating areas for families and couples. Place settings were reduced to two, and that became the minimum number that restaurants expected when customers came. Dining that always required a companion was normalized.
In 1894, restaurants developed a policy where women eating alone or “lone women” as they called it would not be allowed into a fine dining restaurant. Even if they were a group of women, they would not be allowed in. Only when accompanied by a man, did they have the right to be admitted inside. By the 20th century, many women started protesting publicly against this due to sexism and restaurants finally discarded their lone women policy. This was especially because many women started working and became financially independent. This harsh stigma against women eating alone however started to change by the 1980s as more and more people began dining solo and restaurants had to become more accommodating of them.
Solo Diners Eat Out Week timeline
Abraham and Sarah host a meal for three strangers who arrive at their tent.
In China, restaurants that popularize fine food are established.
“The Canterbury Tales” by Chaucer mentions an English Restaurant.
Single dining is actively discouraged.
The stigma against solo dining disappears, and it becomes a fashionable thing to do – in some restaurants, it increases by 62%.
Solo Diners Eat Out Week FAQs
What is the best way to start solo dining?
Start off by eating meals in your comfort zone. First-time solo dining is easier for breakfast or at noon, where it is not a strange thing. Go to a coffee shop or for a pub lunch to ease yourself into the idea.
Should you book dinner ahead for solo dining?
Book a table if you can, and don’t be startled to hear “JUST for one?”
How do you tell a restaurant you’re a solo diner?
Make your booking for a table for one and then they will know. It is especially important for dining at night.
Solo Diners Eat Out Week Activities
Make a list
List your favorite restaurants that you plan on visiting during this week. Remember, you need to be comfortable with the menu and the atmosphere.
Plan your outfit and what to eat
It’s important to get your outfit ready before you start out on a solo dining adventure. Make sure it's comfortable to eat in. Also, look online to see what’s on the menu so that the choices don’t overwhelm you.
Post on social media
Post your solo dining adventure on social media and share it with your followers. Who knows, it might inspire your followers as well!
5 Fascinating Facts About Solo Dining
It is becoming more socially acceptable
According to a study, 78% of people reported that eating alone has become more socially acceptable.
Solo dining is trendy across the world
There is a special name for solo dining in South Korea called ‘hon bap,’ which means “eating alone.”
It’s a popular Instagram hashtag
On Instagram, there were 23,000 posts using the #solodining hashtag last year.
Japan is world-famous for solo dining
Due to Japan’s decreasing population and the rise in single-person households, many people prefer to eat alone.
Online bookings for solo dining jumped 160%
The online restaurant reservation service called OpenTable reported that between the years 2014 and 2018, ‘table for one’ bookings jumped 160%.
Why We Love Solo Diners Eat Out Week
You can eat literally anywhere
You no longer have to settle on a place that your friend/companion can come to. Just go to any restaurant you like.
You become more independent
Solo dining helps you become more independent. You no longer need to depend on someone else’s company to go and have a nice meal out.
It’s an adventure
From deciding which restaurant to go to, planning an outfit, and then to the experience of dining alone. It can all be very thrilling!
Solo Diners Eat Out Week dates