retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

Here's a measure of how the food consuming public has changed.

OpenTable, the online restaurant reservation company, says that "reservations for parties of one have grown nationally by 62 percent, making them the fastest growing table party size."

The study suggests "that the stigma surrounding dining solo may be starting to lift and that consumers are eager to savor unique culinary experiences alone," and notes that restaurants have become far more welcoming to such customers, offering communal and counter seating that go beyond the old "can I order at the bar" paradigm.

While this in some ways isn't surprising to me - I've been eating on my own at restaurants for 30 years and often have taken advantage of my travels to try unique places that I might ordinarily not have access to - I do think that it reflects a broader demographic as well as attitudinal change. It isn't just single dining that has lost its stigma ... it is being single in general, as people wait longer to get married if at all. We also know that the whole notion of "traditional households" has changed. Stigmas are falling all over the place, and opportunities are being created.

These are shifts that food retailers have to not just compensate for, but need to embrace. With Eyes Open.
KC's View: