An Irish entrepreneur who grew tired of Tinder and traditional blind dates has launched a new service to help single people meet prospective partners.
Mairead Loughman (32), from Mullingar, has recently brought Table For Six nationwide.
The service matches six single women or men (and also caters for LGBT groups) who dine together, having been matched by Mairead herself.
Similar services are in operation in cities such LA and San Francisco.
“I was single myself for a long time and I was sick of Tinder and all types of Irish dating really. Last January I decided to try everything and I realised quickly that for most things I needed a ‘wing-woman’,” she told Independent.ie.
“So I started thinking OK what is a civilised [way to meet people], that takes a bit of the pressure off?
“I was already in the matchmaking business and from talking to people it was clear that people find it hard to meet others who are outside of their social circle.
“The one thing I have noticed is that there are a lot of people who attend the nights and stay friends, so at the very least they are increasing their social circle.”
Ms Loughman has been running Table For Six nights since last November but recently brought the service nationwide with meet-ups in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick and a number of other towns.
College students are also catered for at a student-friendly rate.
“We are already booked out through May so it has taken off,” she said.
“It’s very relaxed, I send a list of ‘ice-breaker’ questions to get things started but often they wouldn’t even be needed.”
If you dine with someone you would like to see again but are too shy to say so on the night Mairead will help connect you in the follow up to the date night.
Taking the plunge to setup on her own, running the company full-time, was a risk but one that seems to be paying off.
“I left a successful job working full time in event management and it is all self-funded as there aren’t many grants in this area. But the ‘business of love’ is a big area at the moment, and it’s a lovely area to be in.
“When I started out I had no idea how to build a website or graphics or anything like that so I self-taught myself online.”
To attend a Table for Six event it costs €50 per ticket which does not include food and drink on the night. A fine dining option is also available for €70.