Where Do You Want to Eat?

Where Do You Want to Eat?

by Susan Neuhalfen

Ugh. It happens every time.  When two or more are gathered together, and you’re hungry, the question inevitably comes up: “Where do you want to eat?” Chances are, the variety of personalities involved make the question so much more complicated than it needs to be.

There’s the picky eater who can’t have MSG, mayo, or anything with sunflower oil …

There’s the dieter who really wants that burger but must go somewhere with a healthy menu …

There’s the naysayer who has no great ideas but just wants to poo-poo everyone else’s ideas …

And there’s the indecisive person who just doesn’t care but is hungry and therefore a little testy ….

Which leads us to the first rule of restaurant decision-making: If it’s at all possible, don’t wait until you’re hungry to decide. Once you’re hungry, you’re irritable, and that makes for an unpleasant experience for everyone. If you know you’re going out to dinner, and every once in a while we all do, here are a few things to do to prepare:

  • Keep a list of restaurants you want to try. There are lots of lists and map apps on the phone, and when you pass a restaurant put it on the list. That way when the questions come up, check the list and make suggestions to the other guests.
  • Keep coupons and gift cards in an easily accessible place to help you make the decision (purse, car, kitchen drawer). Something may be about to expire, and you want to use it.
  • Check YELP for reviews and see what’s in the area. Bookmark the restaurants that interest you and refer to the list when you need to.
  • Join the app Open Table. It is an online reservation service that helps patrons earn points after reserving/dining at one of their member restaurants. These points may be redeemed for discounts at other member restaurants.
  • Go to Zomato.com and get the reviews and menus in order of highly recommended to least recommended. It’s always good to double-check what YELP has and see if the reviews agree.

These four ideas will help you to narrow down choices, but there is still the problem of getting everyone to agree on a restaurant. Here are a few ideas to make the actual decision a fun process:

  • Pick 3 – Take the top three restaurants, and everyone gets a vote. Top vote getter is the winner. Let people vote anonymously (names in a hat), so no one feels pressured to vote with a friend.
  • 5-3-1 – If there are just two or three of you, have one person pick five restaurants, another narrows it down to three and the last picks the best one.
  • Let the Wheel decide  – go to Wheeldecide.com and let the wheel decide for you.
  • Follow the Leader – put a list together of the friends or family members you usually eat with. Once someone has chosen the restaurant, his/her name goes to the bottom of the list, and it’s someone else’s turn to choose. Yes, include the kids!

You aren’t going to please everyone so just accept that now. The main objective is to make it enjoyable, so everyone has a pleasant meal.

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