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Is Your Table a Tinder Date?

tinder date

Yeah, that’s a Tinder date

No app has affected the Food & Drink Industry’s revenue quite as completely as Tinder.

Awkward first dates tend to order the high-margin cocktails that cover all the low-margin farm to table produce and lovingly raised livestock. If things go well after the introductory cocktails, they’re likely to order high-margin wines by the glass and several courses of high-margin appetizers. If things go poorly, the (not always) young couple cash out and dial up another date for the restaurant down the street and repeat the whole process.

Tinder’s impact on the restaurant industry has been profound.

So if you’re a bartender or a server, and you suspect you’ve got an awkward couple on your hands, here are a few hints they might be on a Tinder date.

The walk in/walk out

Tinder daters never arrive together, but instead meet each other at pre-selected spots. The standard behavior is to walk in, nod to the host or hostess and take a few steps into the dining room to scan for someone who looks like a photo taken in low light. Throw in the selfie-angle that accentuates the chin and other positive secondary characteristics and it can be tough to pick their date out of the crowd. So they walk back out and check their phone.

They ask the name of the restaurant

After walking up to a building with a big sign on it, and then pushing their way through a door with the restaurant’s name on it, they’ll still ask the name of the restaurant. It’s just nerves and a need to be validated. They’re really asking if their hair looks good or if they have something stuck in their teeth. Be patient. Let them know it is indeed “that place with those martinis on Instagram” their date asked if they knew.

“Just water for now”

They’ll wait to order a drink until their tinder date arrives. They may even wait a few minutes after the date arrives. They’re leaving open the possibility they can say they’re “just going to the restroom” and escape out the back door or window.

“I’m just waiting for a friend”

Something about this statement never sounds true. As in, no one really says this if they are waiting for a friend. What they’re really saying is “yes, I’m sitting here with no drink and shoes I don’t wear that often. I’m feeling like this was a bad idea. I should have just stayed home and drank myself to sleep while watching Bojack Horseman which is really good once you get into it, even if none of my friends like it.”

“It’s nice to meet you!”

No one greets a friend with this sentence. Things are about to get interesting.

Drink-Chicken

This is the world’s most awkward drinking game. The rules are simple. The potential couple orders a round and then finishes at about the same time. Now they’ve reached a decision point: Stay or Go? The game begins when the server comes to get their order:

“Are you going to have another?” the first one says but actually means ‘So do I look enough like my profile? Even at this angle and in this light?’

The second one answers “I will you if you do.” This of course means ‘I’m still evaluating your overall appearance, speech patterns, and body language – but will hang out a little while longer.’

Meanwhile, the server stands at the table and asks “Should I give you two a minute to decide?” Which means ‘for the love of all that is holy or unholy just order that damned cocktail we posted on Instagram.’

Jack Hott

Jack Hott has more than 20 years experience in the hospitality industry. Along the way he’s flipped burgers, tossed pizzas and spilled a lot of wine on white table cloths.

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