Dining Alone – (Re-thinking how I felt last night)

I often dine out alone, especially when I am exploring my surroundings. But Friday night, something happened to me that really made me re-think all the changes currently happening in my city; where the visitors outnumber the locals most nights in the downtown area.  I tried to have a quick meal at a restaurant, and when I asked to be seated, I was told that there was no table available but that I could sit at the bar if I wanted to. There was basically no room at the bar and the manager had to either allow me to sit at the table for four, right in front of me, or ask me to leave.

A the end of the exchange, someone who said that he was the manager made it pretty clear to me that he was making a business decision by asking me to leave. This was a Friday night, the restaurant’s busiest night, he was not about to let me sit at a table for four.  Are people dining alone not allowed to eat out on Friday nights? When a restaurant manager can easily turn away a person dining alone without thinking about possible consequences to his actions, we have a serious problem on our hands.  I need to mention that there was nobody else waiting to be seated.  I kept asking myself shouldn’t there be a minimum of tables for two at every restaurant.

There are dozens of restaurants in downtown Delray.  All things being equal, the quality of the service given to patrons is what makes the difference between the average and great restaurants. I ended up walking down the street to another restaurant called “The Office” where the waiter was nicer than most. His name was Anthony.  I made sure that he knew that I was very pleased with the service there.

This might not mean anything to most people, but there is something very wrong about what happened last night. As an urban explorer, I explore cities for what is beautiful about them, as a designer, I look for what needs to change. What kind of person would I be if I did not talk about the things that are difficult to talk about? Imagine a restaurant with no handicap bathrooms… someone had to fight for what we now take for granted. By the way, the name of the restaurant is Sazio (in downtown Delray). All I could say last night was: Shame on you Sazio!  I let myself feel victimized.

This entire incident does not make business sense either.  How many potential customers can a restaurant loose after a former patron, a resident of the city use social media to shame them? Let’s think about it. For one, I will not go there again, and anybody with the right amount of followers on social media can destroy the reputation of a restaurant. Actually you just need one well connected person and the damage is done.

They might not lose too many customers if they are lucky… But I don’t think they should be that lucky. It will all depend on what I do next. It could also depend on what I ultimately learn from this experience.