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According to the 2006 American Time Use Survey, 58% of people in the U.S. regularly eat on their own. Another survey, from Kelton Research, a national polling firm, in 2008, found that three out of four American adults take their meals alone at least occasionally.   From Forbes.com

As the team from Zoko finished dinner the other night I noticed a gentleman in the corner of the restaurant eating alone.  Maybe it’s just my social nature, but whenever I see a table for one I always wonder why.  Maybe he was traveling for business.  Perhaps he was grabbing something quick before going back to the office.  It’s possible he enjoys eating by himself.  Then again , there’s always the possibility that he didn’t have anyone else to eat with.

Don’t get me wrong, eating alone is completely okay and I often enjoy taking some time out of the day to eat in peace.  That being said, nine times out of ten I’d prefer to eat with other people.  As we continued the walk home the topic turned to our first memories of flying alone, traveling alone and eating alone.  While everyone felt that freedom and solidarity is great in moderation, we all agreed that experiencing new places and new food is better with other people.  Not only that, but cooking together is a lot more fun as well.  Cooking with others can not only save you time and money, but more importantly you can learn new skills, acquire new recipes and learn more about your sous-chef in the process.

One thing we talk about a lot is that the bar is one of the few mixing places where almost everyone goes.  Often times they don’t even like the scene, but it’s one of the few places to meet people inside your community but outside of your direct circle.  While not everyone drinks, I don’t know a single person who doesn’t eat.  We like to think of the dinner table as the new bar where people come to shoot the breeze, meet new friends, network and maybe even meet the newest love of their live.

So next time you think about going out to eat with just your smartphone, why not consider using the time to meet a new group of people in your community?  If you’re traveling for business, look up a Zoko where you’re going.  If you don’t have a ton of time, join a grab-and-go Zoko where you bring tupperware and take your food to go.  If you’re new to a community, why not join a Zoko to get the scoop on what to do around town.  If you don’t have anyone else to eat with, we’re pretty sure we can find you people with similar interests who would be happy to share a meal with you.