Everyone knows that speaking with your mouth full is disgusting. It’s equally true that people talking loudly on mobile phones in public places is obnoxious. Put the two together and you literally have a recipe for gastronomic disaster, and restaurateurs are taking note.
Rather than banning mobile phones in its swanky upscale restaurant, however, one Los Angeles establishment is offering customers a five percent discount if they check their cellphones at the door. A tasty incentive.
The plan was cooked up by Eva Restaurant owner and chef Mark Gold, quoted in Dvice as saying, "Eva is home, 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 ambiance where you come in and really enjoy the experience and the food and the company."
According to a 2011 Intel survey entitled "Mobile Etiquette," most U.S. adults (81 percent) said they felt mobile manners were deteriorating, while 92 percent said they wished people would practice better mobile etiquette in public. Survey respondents had also pegged their pet peeves as texting or typing while driving a car (77 percent), talking on a device loudly in a public place (64 percent), and having the volume too loud in a public place (55 percent).
Instead of completely banning cell phones at the table, however, Gold rewards those who choose to ring off voluntarily, a novel and rather more positive policy.
It also seems fitting for a restaurant to offer a carrot rather than a stick approach.
True, five percent is hardly a significant amount, but it will be interesting to see what people’s response to the system is, and whether a significant number take Gold up on the offer of a more quiet dining experience.
What do you think, readers? Is mobile etiquette ruining your appetite? Should it be banned at the table, or incentivized to stay off the menu? Is Gold’s tactic condescending or brilliant?
Let us know in the comments…