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A Discount for Turning in your Smartphone at Dinner? Sign us up!
If only movie theaters, concerts, and other popular areas for cell phone annoyances could follow suit…
A bribe. An incentive. A discount. A plead.
It could be called many things, but there’s one word that definitely fits the description of a Los Angeles-based restaurant’s new cell phone policy: Innovative.
Diners at Los Angeles’ 40-seat Eva Restaurant are now being given the option to turn in their cell phones before being seated at the restaurant. And, in doing so, patrons earn themselves cold, hard cash for not responding to texts, checking into location-based services or, worst of all, talking on their phones during their meals: A pleasant five percent discount on the bill.
But here’s the kicker: The reasons for the restaurant introducing the cell phone abandonment plan aren’t what you might think at first.
“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,” said restaurant owner (and chef!) Mark Gold in an interview with the radio station KPCC. “It’s about two people sitting together and just connecting, without the distraction of a phone, and we’re trying to create an ambiance where you come in and really enjoy the experience and the food and the company.”
With 88% of all Americans owning a cell phone – according to the latest stats from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project – one could argue that having a handheld device at the dinner table is the new norm.
“I’m guilty of it as well,” Gold said. “When [my wife and I] go to dinner it seems like the cell phone is part of the table setting now. Every table you look at, it’s a wine glass, the silverware and the cell phone,” he joked.
Approximately half of the restaurant’s patrons have taken Gold up on the offer.
We, however, much prefer the solution mentioned by Digital Trends’ Trevor Mogg: Phone Stack. Once seated, every person at the table uses their phones to create a great, Jenga-like tower. First person to grab their device during the meal, for any reason, pays the bill.
By David Murphy, PCMag