Table for one: Solo eating on the rise in U.S.

Een Maal, a restaurant in Amsterdam, only has tables for one in its dining space. More Americans are eating their meals solo and the restaurant industry is catching on. (Courtesy Een Maal Facebook)

WASHINGTON — Breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, but it’s not the most social.

Sixty percent of the time, Americans eat their breakfast alone. And often, it’s on the run.

According to a new report from the consumer marketing research firm NPD Group, morning is the time of day when Americans are most likely to down a meal solo. When it comes to snacking, it’s worse: Seventy percent of Oreos, chips and other favorite munchies are eaten when there is no one else around.

The report says overall, a little more than half of what it calls “eating occasions” happen when people are alone. Fifty-five percent of lunches are eaten solo, in large part because so many people are away from home. But it seems that people come together when it’s time for dinner. Only 32 percent of nighttime meals are solo, the study finds.

A couple of factors may be fueling the solo dining trend, including a rise in the number of single-person households.

But whatever the cause, the restaurant industry is taking notice. More eateries offer extra seating for single diners. A restaurant concept in Amsterdam goes so far as to have nothing but tables for one. The design team behind the space plans to try the same concept in New York later this year.

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