With preliminary dates becoming more and more mainstream due to dating apps and the various steps involved in securing that trusty first date, it may be wise for you to take a much more casual approach in meeting that (maybe) special someone for the very first time.
Especially with so many people nowadays looking to hookup and/or extract freebies in the way of meals and goodies from unsuspecting dupes, it's prudent for you to look at the first date as more of a screening process than an official first date to determine if there's a connection.
Many very often become heavily invested in people they've met online without having actually met them in person. You must give yourself the benefit of the doubt and be realistic in the fact that the connection will not be firmly established until you meet face-to-face.
And dating itself is a "luck-of-the-draw" gamble where you're simply not going to make that special connection stick with every single person you date. It's hit or miss–and chances are you won't feel that initial spark that will make you want to pursue a further connection.
Thus it's important to look at the preliminary date as more of an "interview" aka screening process to see if there's a potential for connection rather than "forcing" a connection in pulling out all the stops that you normally would when you have an actual formal date.