Reservation for two… anybody? The site matchmaking lone female travelers who dread eating out alone

Reservation for two… anybody The site matchmaking lone female travelers who dread eating out alone

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UPDATED:

15:51 GMT, 24 April 2012

Eating out alone can often be awkward for women who are
forced into making a reservation for one while traveling on business.

But Invite For A Bite, a two-month-old UK-based website, offers a matchmaking-type service that aims to connect solo female travelers with one another in order to dine in the company of other women.

Cressida Howard, from Gloucestershire, launched the virtual
meeting space after hearing a BBC radio segment about how much women hate eating by themselves while traveling.

New friends: A website called Invite For A Bite offers lone female travelers a meeting space where they can pair up with one another in order to avoid dining alone

New friends: A website called Invite For A Bite offers lone female travelers a meeting space where they can pair up to avoid dining alone

Ms Howard, who admits she had never even sent a text message
prior to creating the website, told CNN
that as a regular business traveler herself, this was 'the site I wanted to
join but couldn't find.'

The website invites women from around the world to post the
details of where and when they would like to eat out as well as offer any
preferences or special requests. Other women can then respond to the postings,
striking up a conversation with like-minded others.

The founder said: 'I'm hugely encouraged by the response
I've had from women.

'One example is a message I received from a lady in Germany
who wrote “I just remember myself on my latest travels for work sitting in a
restaurant alone and would be so happy if those times were over!”'

Clever: The site is an exclusive space for women as its founder believes that adding men would turn the meetings into potential dates

Clever: The site is an exclusive space for women as its founder believes that adding men would turn the meetings into potential dates

Catharine Curran, an associate professor of marketing at the
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, is just one female traveler who has experienced
the uncomfortable nature of being forced to eat out alone while on a business
trip.

She said: 'When I first started traveling, eating alone was
the most difficult part. Many of us adapt by eating very early, sitting at the
back of the restaurant, bringing a book, or simply ordering room service.'

Ms Howard said that male travelers do not seem to
experience the same type of problems.

'My husband happily walks into any place in any city for a
drink or some food,' she said. 'Why do I scurry in and act like a lunatic'

Founder: Cressida Howard, a woman from Gloucestershire, came up with the website after hearing about how much women hate dining out alone

Founder: Cressida Howard, a woman from Gloucestershire, came up with the website after hearing about how much women hate dining out alone

Men have been banned from the website in order to ensure
women feel comfortable while building new friendships.

'As soon as you introduce the idea of men and women meeting
for meals, it becomes almost impossible to distinguish it from a dating site,' Ms Howard said. 'This is simply not what most women want when they are
traveling on business.

'My husband happily walks into any place for a
drink or some food. Why do I scurry in and act like a lunatic'

'They simply want to unwind and have a bit of a laugh or a
chat with another woman without worrying that it might be taken the wrong way
or that they are putting themselves at risk.'

While it is clearly stated on the site that it is a
women-only space, safety concerns are obviously raised in any type online
meeting scenario including Invite For A Bite.

Ms Howard urged women to 'exercise normal caution when
meeting people they don’t know.'

She added that women can 'check out people's profiles before you
meet them and anyone can be reported or removed from the site before or after
an event.'