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A restaurant in Los Angeles offers diners a 5 percent discount if they leave their cell phones at the door—Kipp wonders if such a policy makes good business sense?

August 16, 2012 3:41 by

Are you guilty of ‘distracted dining’? You know, you have sat down to a well cooked dinner with an old friend. It has been a while since the two of you met so you decide to go somewhere nice. The food has arrived and just as you are about to sink your teeth into that juicy piece of meat: BUZZ. Your phone is lying face down on the table, vibrating. Should you pick it up? Your finger goes to the ‘silent’ button but just before you can press it, you wonder what if… What if it is that client finally calling to seal the deal? What if it is your boss asking about a pressing deadline? Before you know it, you have turned the phone around and accepted the call. You mouth ‘5 minutes’ to your companion and you know he doesn’t mind but your dinner has already been disrupted and it probably will not be the same ever again.

If you are anything like us, then the above describe too frequent an occurrence in your life that it probably takes some time to realise it is odd behavior. If you find yourself rationalising, ‘everybody does it,’ well then you are so far down you are in need of professional help.

Or perhaps, if you dined at Eva Restaurant which offers those diners who are willing to leave their cell phones at the door a five percent discount of their bill, well maybe then you could enjoy the pleasures of an un-plugged meal. The policy came about as a result of owner and chef Mark Gold’s desire to ensure his diners enjoyed their meal and connected with their families and friends.”For us, it’s really not about people disrupting other guests. Eva is home, and we want to create that environment of home, and we want people to connect again. It’s about two people sitting together and just connecting, without the distraction of a phone, and we’re trying to create an ambience where you come in and really enjoy the experience and the food and the company” says Gold.

So how popular is the offer? Apparently, quite-according to Golf ‘a little less than half take advantage of the deal’ but no one ever complains.

Ever the fan of being disconnected, Kipp thinks it is a great idea, perhaps more restaurants should implement it. Then again, would banning cell phones from your restaurant actually harm your business in the long run? After all, cell phones are tools not only to receive calls, but also a way for customers to take pictures of their meal. These pictures of a tempting meal will find their way to a social network, whether it is Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, where it could make like-minded people want to make a trip down to your store. On the other hand, a cell phone can also be a tool for check in to a place on foursquare or can be used to avail coupons.

Then again, perhaps diners may associate a no-cell phone policy with richer conversations and come back just to relive those tech-free minutes. Kipp’s a bit divided on this one. What do you think? Do you think there is a place for such a policy here in the Emirates? Or do you think restaurants stand to lose out if they embrace this?

1 Comment

  1. chaz on August 22, 2012 5:45 am

    wow, families going out to eat and having to talk to each other without the phones going off?
    It will never catch on here!


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