Dining demographics are changing, and restaurants are adjusting to accommodate their new needs. People are heading out to eat alone in greater numbers each year. New research from the NPD Group proves that nearly 60 of meals eaten out are consumed by lone diners rather than pairs or groups. Snacking alone still tops the list, but breakfast and lunch also occupy a large percentage of the meals.
While chain and independent restaurants are slowly catching up to this changing trend, grocery stores were the first to adapt. They started stocking single size portions of pre-cooked food long before seating changes arrived in popular restaurants. Of course, the most popular restaurants are rapidly redesigning their dining areas to make solitary guests feel more comfortable. Fitting in smaller tables and expanding bar areas makes more efficient use of space as a larger percentage of diners are heading out alone.
These diners are also looking for shorter wait times too. This has resulted in a rising popularity of fast casual restaurants offering high quality dishes with a quick turnaround. Other casual dining establishments are reaching out by offering reading materials and expanded menu options for hungry patrons who show up all by themselves.