Solo Dining Made Easy
Corporate travel can be difficult, with days away from your friends and family, and hours spent in airports on layovers. It can be challenging to keep yourself busy and upbeat, exactly the qualities that your company is counting on you to bring to those all-important meetings you’ve got scheduled. The following is a list of helpful tips for how to effectively manage and use your time while dining alone on a business trip.
Choices, Choices, Choices
Choosing a restaurant is one of the most important things you can do to ensure that you have a good dining experience while you’re alone. Take a second to think about your favorite dining experiences: do you prefer a quiet out of the way place with excellent small plates, or maybe someplace more crowded where you can get in some good people-watching? Many restaurants have live music built into the experience that can be perfect to pass the time while you are waiting in between courses. Whatever is your ideal dining destination in your hometown, treat yourself and try to visit someplace like it on your night out alone.
Of course, at airports and in some small towns there aren’t many options, in which case make the best with what you’ve got.
But the choices aren’t over yet! Once you’ve figured out where to eat and you’re in the restaurant, think twice about where you sit. When you’re alone this small detail can have a big impact on your dining experience. If you’re feeling slightly self-conscious about being alone, that’s completely natural, but remember, you might not be as alone as you think.
There’s no shame in striking up some conversation with the wait staff if they’re willing. People generally enjoy meeting others from different places and hearing about what it’s like there. If you’ve never been to that particular city before, or you have questions about the menu or neighborhood, you can get some good local tips from your server. Make sure to factor their helpfulness into the tip if you think it’s relevant.
There’s also the possibility of talking a bit with your neighbors if the circumstances are right. Of course, you don’t want to force yourself into others’ conversations or be overly friendly, but keep in mind that a lot of people welcome the chance to meet new people. The important thing is to remain positive and outgoing and realize that people like talking about themselves, so be sure to ask good questions and listen.
If you’re not much of a conversationalist, there’s no harm in bringing a magazine or some other reading material in with you and perusing that while you wait for your food to arrive.
Get Out Early
If you’re feeling particularly self-conscious about being alone, asking for the check before you’re finished is a good way to shorten the amount of time you have to sit alone at the table. This way your check will arrive around the same time you are finished eating and you can pay right away and be on your way.
No one likes eating alone in a public place, but if you follow these tips, you can leave feeling relaxed and refreshed. Remember to take home the leftovers for an added treat!
Streamline the Trip
An easy way to ensure that you’re in and out quickly, without wasting any time, is booking car service to handle your transportation. If you’re in Baltimore, you can count on a reliable company like ZBest to be outside your restaurant when your meal is over, waiting to whisk you away to your next destination. Don’t wait time trying to hail a cab or call a ride-sharing service; with car service, all you have to do is tell them the time and place you’d like to be picked up, and they’ll be there, on time, every time.
Consider these tips for dining efficiently while alone during your next business trip!
Photo Credit: Jim Penucci
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