There was a time when first dates depended a lot on real social situations. People meet someone new at parties or at work, or overzealous friends and family set people up with other people they know.
But now we have the Internet, social networking, and apps. We have Tinder, which generates about 1.3 million dates a week. People use apps to set up romantic dates, and it’s changing how restaurants work. And many restaurants do not like the change.
Of course, the dislike isn’t universal. After all, some restaurant owners believe that having customers is always a good thing. That’s especially true when they come in on slow days, which has resulted in the term “Tinder Tuesday”, to refer to such daters coming in on slow days. Sometimes the guys even order expensive items to try to impress their dates.
But for most restaurants, the change has been unwelcome. Here are the reasons why restaurants do not like first dates:
- There’s no big dinner. When two people have a first date, it’s all about finding out things about each other. They want to know if they have similar interests or if they’re compatible. So no one’s going to spend a lot of money when they’re not sure about the other person. That other person may even take it badly if you order a big dinner—as if you’re trying to “buy” them or something.
- There’s not a lot of drinking. While each person tries to find out about the other on a first date, they also try to make the best impression they can. And the obvious way to keep from acting inappropriately is to limit the alcohol intake. That’s not exactly going to make restaurants and bars happy either. First dates are all about getting to know the other person. Typical first dates involve a lot of conversation with minimal consumption of drinks.
- They can monopolize a table for hours. When a date is going well, time seems to pass by so quickly. Coupled talk and talk, not noticing that they’re not ordering anything new from the restaurant. All that time represents wasted money-generating opportunities for the restaurant. Sometimes the couple may pay the bill and then linger at the table, drinking water when the conversation flows. In other cases, the restaurant is already closing and the daters don’t notice, and the restaurant staff doesn’t know how to tell them they’re closing.
- The dates can go too well. Sparks may fly between a couple, and in today’s world that means they go beyond hand-holding and a quick kiss. They may start making out right there and then. It doesn’t matter even if it’s not a family-oriented restaurant and only adults are around. Such make-out sessions can offend the other guests or they may feel awkward. These guests may feel so bad they may not return. Some may even record the encounter on their smartphone and you’ll find your restaurant starring in a viral make-out video.
- Late dates can affect the bottom line. Some dates don’t get off on the right foot. So one dater can be late, so the early bird spends the time in the restaurant fiddling with their smartphone—without ordering anything. Again, that wastes the table for the restaurant.
- Bad dates also result in bad tabs. Restaurant workers can easily recognize when dates are going bad. The talk stops, and suddenly they have urgent matters on their smartphones. Or their eyes stray everywhere but towards their dates. They start to look at the exits with extra intensity. Or they go people-watching, looking at other people having a good time with envy, or eyeing attractive people and wishing that those people were their dates instead. When these things happen, daters just stop ordering. They already know the date’s a bust. Meanwhile, happy couples are waiting for a table to be cleared by these unhappy people. And that’s not going to happen quickly. The tip isn’t going to be generous either. There’s no one left to impress
- The modern dating scene has changed the seating. Nowadays many restaurants are shifting from large tables for 4 to smaller tables for 2. That’s because most tables are occupied by couples only, so this makes more sense. But it is extra work for the restaurant since two tables means separate orders and separate checks.
Many servers do not like firdt dates since some people say the same things over and over again while they’re with different people. So when you’re going on a first date in the same restaurant, be nice to the people in the place. Or they may forget themselves and they won’t be nice to you.