How to host a speed dating event

In addition to creating a pleasant and playful environment, a successful speed dating event will strengthen your restaurant's reputation and improve the likelihood of drawing first time or repeat customers.The first speed dating event took place in California in late 1998 and was inspired by a rabbi who sought to help Jewish singles meet new people and get married.“According to the men that I spoke with, they all informed me that they were recruited by you,” one woman wrote me after the event. At that time, as a single parent of two kids and two dogs, with a full-time job and a home to run, a speed date was all I could manage; all I could commit to.“This indicates to me that they were not seriously looking to meet anyone and they were just there because it was a free evening. To those of you newly looking, or still looking, or in the midst of packing up your bells and staplers, I say: Keep an open mind.Example: “Please plan an event that will enable me, a 56-year-old woman, to participate in the speed dating. I just turned 40 and after reading the age group for your event I was offended.” Over 40 myself, I empathized and promised these people—my people—that I would be the one to turn this ship around. Yes, typing it out makes it sound so much worse than it did in my head, but I wanted so much for this event to happen.I want to be honest and therefore will not crash the event planned for 47-year-olds.” Another woman wrote, “Please tell me what it is wrong with being over 35? I found another “olde taverne” type setting and arranged an event for the 42 to 54 age range. Offering free coupons meant this event would be pro bono for me—it would cost me money, actually. I did not blanket suitable suitors on but instead read every profile in this age range and explored their interests and personalities.

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Throughout my short career as an 8minute Madame, I regularly received e-mails from singles over 40 wondering why there weren’t more events for our age group. But because soliciting the men to pay for the event in this manner would not be appropriate, I offered them a free coupon for the event.Speed dating is designed to give participants the opportunity to go on mini dates with anywhere from 10 to 25 (or more) people in a single evening.Each date lasts between 3 and 10 minutes, giving the pair time to get to know each other while also keeping them from being stuck with a bad match for too long.During the dating portion of the evening, a predetermined group of individuals will stay seated at the same tables throughout the night, while the rest of the participants will move from table to table.When the allotted time is up, the host will ring a buzzer or bell signifying that it is time to move to the next date.

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