Online dating is starting to change the way restaurants do business

Couple on a dateCourtney Carmody/FlickrThe restaurant hates you.

When you meet your Tinder date at a restaurant, it’s normal to be concerned with what they think of you.

Should I have tucked my shirt in? Did I drink too much — or not enough?

At that moment, it’s less likely that you’re concerned about how the restaurant staff feels about you.

But if a recent Washington Post article is any indication, the restaurant has plenty of feelings about you being there.

The Post article, by Lavanya Ramanathan, explains why restaurants (at least in the DC area) “hate” your first dates. Ramanathan reports that people on those blind first dates end up lingering, sometimes even after they have paid the bill, disrupting the regular flow of customers.

The article also outlines two key ways restaurants have changed their business strategy to cater to increasing numbers of online daters:

1. Some restaurants have reconfigured their dining rooms. For example, when one Washington restaurant owner redesigned the space, he got rid of booths and replaced them with tables for two. At another restaurant, he added some two-seat nooks in the bar area so that couples don’t end up sitting for hours at a table.

2. Staff has to linger when customers on dates overstay their welcome. “We’ve been closed for an hour sometimes,” one general manager told Ramanathan, “and they’re still sitting there. It’s a big faux pas to say, ‘Hey guys, we’re closed.'”

The article does highlight some ways in which online daters are helping restaurants’ business. For example, some customers will order pricey drinks. Others will show up on weeknights, which are typically pretty slow.

Plus, you’ve got to imagine that it gives the restaurant staff some serious entertainment.

Read the full article at the Washington Post »

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