Restaurants are made for extroverts.
Packed together to maximize and monetize floorspace, human beings lick, bite, suck and swallow substances. Concrete floors and factory-style ceilings amplify sound purposely because loud restaurants sound crowded and (restaurateurs say) crowds lure crowds. By the same logic: lines. Joining this queue makes me cool by association, popular for seeking something popular.
Introverts hate that. We loathe sitting thigh-to-thigh with strangers, shouting orders through a din, wolfing (however slowly we might eat elsewhere) to hasten our escape, unable to taste anything because crowds overload our sensory capacities. I say this having written many restaurant reviews and a book about introverts.
But what if a new kind of restaurant welcomed only loners? Catering to our desires, avoiding our aversions, geniuses could strike it rich courting our hitherto-shunned market share. Losses on "wasted" floor-space and non-word-of-mouthiness would be gained in niche-market status and long loyalties.
Here are some tactics they could try:
• Start with a clever name. The possibilities are almost endless.
• Program the reservations list such that all parties are parties of one.
• Each table is not just a table for one but a dreamy private hideout.
• The only exception is a discreet, curtained Peekabooth, designed (by me) for introverts choosing (or forced) to dine together, yet apart.
• Diners may borrow an array of fun objects during their meals.
• Unable to ask how we're doing or whether we're enjoying our meals, robotic servers silently take and deliver orders via clickable menus installed in their chests.
• Each menu item can be customized because we're individuals, not kale-swilling conformists.
• When tables need cleaning, servers become bus-bots.
• If an introvert-restaurant becomes so popular that lines form outside, each person in line is loaned a roadworker's helmet, vest, and tool because, nope, we cannot be seen waiting in lines.
All illustrations © 2017 by Anneli Rufus.