The Solo Treatment Challenge
A business traveler, dining alone at a restaurant, sometimes
challenge refers to the experience of being treated differently at
challenge refers to the experience of being treated differently at
restaurants because one is dining alone.  The initial sign of trouble
sometimes occurs when a bubbly hostess tips her head to the
side, makes a phony pout, and squeaks, “Are you here all by
yourself?”  This announcement often reaches diners in hearing
distance.  As a result, another common aspect of the challenge is
the pattern of pity, hanging from the faces of people, dining with
their families, friends, or business associates.  The hostess leads
the solo business traveler on a grand tour of the restaurant,
passing many comfortable booths and pleasant dining
environments, inevitably arriving in the secluded area, reserved for
single lepers, closest to the music of pots and pans and broken
glasses in the kitchen.  Given that no one wishes to spend much
time with a leper, the lack of service once seated is not surprising.   
The business traveler should expect to be spoken to after groups
of diners.  Once the order is taken, the solo eater should expect a
rushed meal .  The server, anticipating that groups tip more than
singles, may produce a check before the solo traveler’s entrée.  
Thus, the dining experience of a business traveler, experiencing the
solo treatment challenge, leaves much to be desired.