The History of Speed Dating

As legend has it, Speed dating was first invented by Rabbi Yaacov Deyo of Aish HaTorah, an orthodox Jewish organisation and internet portal, as a way for Jewish singles to meet and find a partner in marriage.  The concept was formulated to provide Jewish singles about 12 dates, each lasting seven minutes.

Rabbi Deyo ran the world’s very first speed dating event at Pete’s Café in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, USA towards the end of 1998. Regular events then got going for many years and interestingly led to the marriage of numerous Jewish couples.

The original format had men sitting on one side of a long table and the women sat along the other, with men shifting one space along every time a bell rang. Guests had to then decide who they wanted to see again. For all the mutual matches, the organisers arranged the exchange of names and contact details.  A website was used to orchestrate this.

It wasn’t long before the world caught on and similar events were run by other religions, organisations, charities and businesses.  The popularity of speed dating was further boosted by its portrayal in shows such as Sex and the City as something that glamorous and wealthy people did. The time saving benefits of speed dating suited the New York lifestyle especially well, because most people decide quickly if they are romantically compatible and first impressions are often permanent.

The concept spread like wildfire across the United States and shortly after, around the English speaking world.  By the early “noughties” speed dating events were being organised in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the UK. Speed dating was now firmly established as a fun and almost rejection free way for singles to meet each other. In the United States and the UK some entrepreneurs used the franchise model to rapidly expand their brands across the country, giving people an easy way to run a profitable business in their spare time.  You can learn more about the leading dating and events franchise in the UK, with territories still available in many locations across the UK, by clicking here. There are franchise opportunities and businesses for sale in many towns and cities around the UK, including Kingston, Bristol, Exeter, Plymouth, Manchester, Birmingham and many more.

By 2001, as many as 100 events were taking place across the United States on any given evening. Allegedly, over a quarter of all New York City bars were hosting a speed dating night at least once a week at this time.

A 2006 study by Edinburgh University in Scotland showed that 45% of the female participants in a speed dating event and 22% of the men had come to a decision within the first 30 seconds. The study also concluded that conversations about travel resulted in more mutual matches than conversations about films.  A useful tip perhaps!

It was in 2002 that the speed dating concept was first picked up by UK-based entrepreneurs and the first event was organised in London. Speed dating hit the news headlines and the dating craze had it’s British rise to popularity, with a blaze of media coverage including newspapers, TV, radio and internet. Nationwide speed dating operations were quickly established, most still trading successfully today.  Numerous amateurs attempted to cash in and jump on the bandwagon, because the apparently low start-up costs of setting up a new speed dating business and seemingly high profitability. Sadly, nearly all of these ventures failed in their attempts due to the difficulty of consistently attracting an equal number of male and female participants to every event, without extensive investment in national publicity, operational and marketing infrastructures, website development and search engine optimisation.

Non-English speaking countries have been markedly slower to adopt the format, but there some examples of events being run in France, Spain and Italy, albeit on a less commercial basis than in the UK and USA. In recent years race/religion specific events have emerged and events specifically for designed for Asian, Muslim, Christian and Jewish singles are very popular in the United Kingdom.

Speed dating is also known as speed dating, speed date or speed dating.

The vast majority of tickets for speed dating events are sourced and purchased via the internet. Having a well listed web presence has now become essential for anyone wishing to establish a speed dating business and is the most significant barrier to entry to the market.

Whist the media coverage of speed dating in the UK has subsided speed dating remains a popular dating medium and has firmly established itself in the dating marketplace. The stigma usually associated with attending singles events has largely subsided and speed dating events continue to thrive in urban communities such as

For another take on the emergence of speed dating you may be interested to read the Wikipedia entry which can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speed_dating

Comments on this entry are closed.