Would You Ditch Your Phone to Get 10 Percent Off Your Restaurant Check?
You might think the only incentive needed to give your cellphone a rest at the dinner table is to better enjoy your meal and engage in conversation with your fellow diners. But a restaurant in Iowa, Sneaky’s Chicken, has sneaked in a little extra motivation: Every Wednesday, customers willing to unglue their eyes and ears from their phones receive a 10 percent discount on their checks.
The restaurant’s general manager, Christy Wright, told the Associated Press that she and her dad, Sneaky’s owner, Dave Ferris, instituted the promotion, in which customers voluntarily put their phones in a box provided by their server, because they couldn’t help noticing that phones were taking their toll on table conversations.
(In a poll we conducted on FN Dish a few months back, most respondents said they “never” turn off their cellphones while eating at a restaurant. “I'm paying good money to eat at these restaurants and will do what I please with that time,” wrote one bristled commenter.)
Wright and Ferris weren’t out to stamp out cellphone use at tables entirely, setting their sights more modestly, targeting willing customers one night a week. "It was just something that we just wanted to see if we could stop for a little bit and have people enjoy each other's company more than their cellphones," Wright told the AP.
Sneaky’s patrons have embraced the idea and loosened their grips on their phones.
One of them, Greta Siebersma, a psychiatric nurse, said she’s often seen couples dining out together, silently staring at their phones, rather than at each other. “You say: 'What's the point? Why are you even bothering to go out?'"