The rising wave of solo diners thronging eateries nationwide has not gone unnoticed by local restaurants.
“Yes, I think there are more solo diners nowadays. In our restaurant, we tend to get more female solo diners for lunch and more male solo diners after work, ” says Giuseppe Lioce, the head chef of local Italian restaurant Nero Nero.
Alicia Lim, owner of Alison Soup House and Kampung Contemporary Dining also says she has also noticed an increase in solo diners at her restaurants over the years. “Yes, we do get a mixture of solo diners who are male and female. Generally, I think they are between the ages of 25 and 35, ” she says.
According to the restaurant owners, they fully realise that solo diners are often there to enjoy quality ‘me’ time and they try to accommodate their needs as best as they can.
“The demographics of solo diners is pretty wide for us. However, what’s common among all is that they are probably looking for some uninterrupted ‘me’ time.
“Our service team is trained to engage in conversations with guests, especially solo diners. At our bakery, we make sure that we engage our guests, whether it is by remembering their names, or their previous orders, or the interaction we last had with them. That being said, we are quite tactful as some solo diners dine alone precisely for that quiet time, ” says Marcus Low, owner of the popular Table and Apron and brand new Universal Bakehouse.
Lioce says he has realised that many solo diners actually spend more money than some parties of two – especially diners who are feeling particularly indulgent.
“There are two kinds of solo guests. There are some guests who enjoy something light like a simple pasta and maybe a light appetiser but we also have people who come here for only one dish, but it’s a heavy dish – something more like a ribeye steak or lamb shank, so they don’t eat starters but they eat a full main course. Sometimes if they have a glass of wine, they end up spending a lot, ” he says.Although most restaurants do not have seating for single diners, restaurant owners say they do not feel that solo diners take up unnecessary space. Instead, they are often happy that solo diners pick their restaurants as it shows that they are comfortable dining there.
“Each customer has their right to eat a proper meal in the restaurant regardless of whether he or she is dining alone or in a group. I dine solo in restaurants quite often as well and it’s considered my ‘me’ time. So when I see solo diners choosing to dine and have ‘me’ time in our restaurant, I’m very happy, ” says Lim.