The Choose A Restaurant Dance

We have all been through it.  That long drawn out dance of figuring out where to eat which inevitably ends up in frustration and a restaurant only one of you probably wanted to eat at.  Simply avoiding this is a good start to great dinner and/or date night.  You’d hate to start date night on such a foul topic.  I’m going to give you my favorite ways to figure out where to eat based on the number of people you have.  Remember that when you are in a bigger group people tend to be less picky, people change their thinking from “I want to eat this” to “I could eat that”.

Picking for larger groups (4+)

This can seem tricky but there are a couple of methods to handle this.  The first approach is the random yelling of places until you get to some sort of quasi consensus on where to eat.  This works with groups that are generally not picky at all.  Whenever I’m in this sort of situation I adopt the thinking “I’m an adult, I can find something to eat no matter where we choose to go”, and thus far in my life this hasn’t been an issue.  Most restaurants cater to all sorts of different tastes and everywhere is cautious of allergies.  There is also the “big board of elimination” method.  Here everyone puts 1 (or more) restaurants on a list and taking turns each person eliminates 1 place from the list until only 1 place to eat is remaining.  This method has the advantage of allowing everyone to get their absolute worst options off the table.  There are several mobile apps that have this ability.  You create an account, link with the people you are eating with and choose a method to pick a restaurant.  These are handy if this is a recurring event like lunch for the office every Friday or something like that.

Picking for 2 (or 3)

This is a lot different than picking for a group as everyone is much pickier and usually less willing to compromise on what they want to eat.  The mindset being “there’s only a couple of us, surely we can find SOMETHING that we both want.”   This isn’t all that crazy but often ends up with the overly used comedic bit of…

“what do you want to eat?”
“anything is good”
“How about X?”
“No, I don’t feel like that.”
“What about Y?”
“No, not that either.”
“What about Z?”
“I don’t know, maybe?  What was the first one again?”

Avoiding this is always a plus in my book so here’s a few ways to do this.  The first is to require a new suggestion.  The first person offers somewhere to eat, if the second person doesn’t want it then they have to suggest a place.  This goes back and forth until you agree on something.  This is my choice for picking where to eat with my wife (the baby doesn’t currently get a vote in the matter as she’s a tyrant and will take over the entire process anyway.”  The strategies listed above will also work with some slight variation.  Your version of elimination board might be for the first person to pick 4 places to eat, second person eliminates 2 and the first person gets to choose from the remaining 2.  This is a quick way to run that type of choosing.


Susan Black also writes about how to improve credit score and for Medium