Table for one – OpenTable reveals rise in dining solo

 OpenTable reveals reservations for one have grown by 110%, in the last two years

– 87% of those surveyed said they would eat out alone

– 42 % of UK diners said they would dine solo because they enjoy time on their own

– Only 7% of Brits would negatively judge someone they saw dining alone

– OpenTable experts share the best restaurants for solo dining

– Psychologist Judi James gives insight into the change in attitude towards dining alone


London, 9th July 2015… Not so long ago the thought of dining solo was to most a rather daunting prospect, with consumers opting to scoff a sandwich at their desk or order a takeaway for one in the privacy of their own homes, rather than taking the plunge and dining out at a restaurant alone.


However, according to new research by OpenTable, the world’s leading restaurant booking service; it appears the stigma surrounding dining solo may be starting to lift. OpenTable statistics reveal that single cover reservations have more than doubled in the last two years; growing by 110%, the fastest growing reservation party size.1


Further diner research2 has revealed that 87% of Brits would have no problem dining out solo. With the majority of the UK leading a hectic lifestyle of fast paced careers, socialising and dating, 42% of Brits say that the biggest motivation for dining solo is the chance to enjoy some quality time alone. The people of Brighton come out as those who love time on their own the most (52%).


The poll of 2,000 went on to reveal that the people of Wolverhampton are the most likely to dine out alone, with 76% admitting they already have.  Residents of Gloucester are yet to embrace the new trend, with just 27% admitting they have booked a table for one. Additionally, the research showed that those over the age of 55 are 22% more likely to dine out alone compared to younger diners (18-24).


Southampton came out as the city most worried about embarrassment, with 75% admitting this would be the reason they wouldn’t dine solo. Though, they needn’t feel embarrassed as just 7% of Brits said they would negatively judge someone they saw eating out on their lonesome.


But what exactly is there to do if you book in a dinner date with yourself? Well, 46% of those surveyed said they would pass the time by reading a book, and surprisingly only 36% said they would play with their phone, showing a real desire to switch off and enjoy quality ‘me time’ when dining alone. Women (5%) are almost twice as likely as men (3%) to pretend they are waiting for someone to join them.


Brits who do dine solo appear to shun social interaction, with just 5% stating they would call a friend.


Judi James, one of the UK’s leading psychologists and body language experts, comments:


“It is no surprise that eating out alone is fast becoming an attractive idea. In a world where we are constantly in conversation with colleagues, clients, friends and family, either face to face or via social media, people are increasingly craving solitude. As a result, societal attitudes towards solo dining have changed and much of the stigma has been shed. Eating out alone is now viewed by many as a liberating, rather than lonely experience.”


Mike Xenakis, Managing Director, OpenTable, comments, ʺRestaurants across the globe are increasingly accommodating the rise in dining alone by installing clever solo seating arrangements, such as; extra bar seating, counters where customers can watch chef’s work and single window seating, to enjoy a view whilst eating their meal.”


By looking at which restaurants are driving the growth in single cover bookings, paired with insight from restaurant experts, OpenTable has selected a roundup of some of the best restaurants for solo dining:


Arbutus Granite bar area where diners can enjoy eating solo
Bentley’s Oyster Bar & Grill The marble-topped bar at Bentley’s is ideal for solo diners
Blixen Bar dining options overlooking the kitchen, an excellent spot for solo diners.
Bocca Di Lupo The counter by the exposed kitchen is a favourite spot for solo diners as they can watch the chefs at work
Busaba Eathai The long bar with stools is perfect for dining alone
HIX Soho The bar at Hix Soho is a popular spot for solo diners
L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon The bar area facing the chefs is often used by lone diners so they can watch them cook while they eat
Lima Floral Lima’s bar with individual stools is perfect for dining alone
Randall & Aubin The window seating is a favourite for single diners as it permits you to watch Soho’s comings and goings over a plate of seafood
Riding House Café Solo diners can dine in comfort at Riding House Café’s large bar area, equipped with comfy armchair style bar stools
Tsuru Bankside The small tables are perfectly formed for solo diners