Dateinadash founder, Robert Ryall on being a police officer, the rise of speed dating and Tinder

Dateinadash came about after Rob Ryall attended one particularly poor night of Speed Dating in Clapham. Not many entrepreneur stories start that way but we’re sure many broken heart stories have.

We wanted to know why Dateinadash and speed dating in general are so popular in the UK. We caught up with Rob to ask him about his previous career as a police officer, the rise of speed dating and how mobile dating is changing the way people interact with one another.

1. What inspired you to stop being a Police Officer full-time and put everything into DateinaDash?

When I founded DateinaDash I was working full-time as a Police Officer in South West London. I originally started the business after attending a poorly run Speed Dating event in Clapham and thought I could do a better job of it, plus it seemed like a great way to meet lots of single women!

I didn’t start hosting events to make money and never dreamed it would become a full-time job. I remember the first ever customer I signed up couldn’t pay online so sent me cash through the post and it came in a ‘Thank You’ card, unfortunately for her the event was cancelled and she never did make it! I actually started hosting events whilst still working for the Police, I had to declare it to the job as a ‘business interest’ as it was making a little money here and there but for the most part the first 12 months was just for fun and it was fun!

By 2012 the business was turning over about £500-750 a month and that was hosting 3-4 events a month on my rest days so I figured if I could put all my time into this I could easily make my monthly wage and more. In October 2013 I decided to hand in my notice and focus on DateinaDash full-time.

2. Why do you think people still attend speed-dating events when they can use quick apps like Tinder?

Speed Dating has grown in popularity over the last few years for many reasons. Firstly, it has been exposed to mainstream audiences through high profile shows like Made in Chelsea, First Dates, and Take Me Out. The rise in dating apps also create a buzz for our events – a lot of people are fed up with the casual hook-up culture of Tinder and many people comment that meeting people face to face is a much better way than spending hours online talking through a screen.

Image credit: Robert Ryall

Image credit: Robert Ryall

3. How do you think running DateinaDash has affected you as a person both personally and as a business owner?

I used to have hair before I started running DateinaDash and that really is no exaggeration. It’s a time consuming and often stressful business especially in the early days when you were forever trying to balance numbers and scouring the depths of the internet to find a few blokes to come along for free! Now it’s a little bit easier as we are established and most of our events sell out. As a business owner I’ve learnt so much like negotiating with venues, SEO & tax returns!

4. What is the most difficult part of your job and, inversely, what is the most rewarding?

The most difficult part of running events is relying on people and with Speed Dating you always need equal numbers or it just doesn’t work. So, we often have to rope in a few extras and give away the odd free ticket. I don’t think people realise how much goes into planning and organising these events. The most rewarding part for me is when an event goes really well with a good turnout, positive atmosphere and people are genuinely having a good time.

Image credit: Instagram - @Dateinadish

Image credit: Instagram – @Dateinadish


5. Finally, if you could, what advice would you give to yourself 10 years ago?

I probably wouldn’t have gone to university or joined the police, instead I would have got into the dating market and if I did I’d probably be retired by now! If you’ve not tried Speed Dating before then I would certainly recommend it to anyone as it’s a great way to meet lots of like-minded people and have a fun night out at the same time!

If you want to learn more about Dateinadash or give speed dating a go, be sure to swing by their website!