Would You Agree To Put Your Phone Away At A Restaurant For A Discount?

Yes, yes, we know: You just need to check the score of the game really quickly or maybe your sister-in-law finally put up some new pictures of the baby. And oh, let’s just take a second to Instagram this artfully designed plate! But come on, do you really need to have your phone out at the restaurant? Perhaps a little incentive would convince you to put it away, like the 5% discount an L.A. eatery is offering to diners for not using digital devices at the table.

KPCC radio in L.A. says the owner and chef of the establishment is just trying to get people to stop being so distracted, by way of ditching their phones before they’re even seated. For those patrons who want the deal, they simply check their phones at the door.

Apparently half of the restaurant’s diners have taken the plunge so far.

“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,” he said. “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.”

Fancy that, actually interacting in person with your company and the surroundings! And hey, you can always tweet about the amazing salad later. That news will hold.

LA restaurant offers discount for dining without your phone [KPCC]


Edit Your Comment

  1. chiieddy says:

    Actually, my husband and I use our phones to look up facts to supplement our discussions. For example, if we were wondering how FIFA handles the Isle of Man as an entity. It’s easier to look it up. :-)

    • RandomHookup says:

      Nothing better than trying to determine if a specific U-17 tournament cap ties a player to a particular country and if he’ll be able to file a one-time switch.

    • Anne Noise says:

      Right there with you, my friends and I are fully able to both dick around on our phones and have a conversation at the same time. We’re rarely just browsing Facebook or whatever, we’re reading about what we’re talking about, haha. Technology!

  2. Torchwood says:

    So, is it a true 5% discount, or did the owners raise the prices by 5% and then giving a 5% discount?

    • Coffee says:

      This was my first thought as well. Is it a 5% discount or a 5% surcharge? Big difference.

    • wwwww says:

      You save either way~

      Pretend the food is $100. A straight 5% discount = $95

      Raise 5% then give 5% discount = $100 x 1.05 = $105, then x 0.95 = $99.75

      either way you save :D

  3. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    Um, no. It’s not the fact that I need my phone out, it’s that I don’t want to leave my phone at the front where people might steal it, or use it, or any number of things.

    And then, aside from that, it’s that I would like to be able to answer my phone if someone calls. The article doesn’t say whether it requires everyone in the party to hand over their phones to get the discount. What if there was an emergency? I don’t have kids, but the potential is still there.

    Also, we use our phones to supplement conversation. We frequently discuss topics that require some on the spot research, and we like being able to google things right away as we’re discussing them.

    • JollySith says:

      Then don’t take the discount.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        Thanks, you’ve been so helpful.

        • pitawg says:

          Don’t worry about Jolly…
          It is possible with the NFC devices, one could place a single tag/disc/phone in the bin at the front of the restaurant, and being so close to all the other phones, the NFC tag will be picked up by any/all that are able and pull down from a web site any code they want to install on others phones. This flaw might get fixed, or might just be the first. Can be worse than skimmers at the ATM. This could be a very big problem with payment systems through the phones.

          Speaking of payment, how will they pay their bills with their phone if they do not have it at the table? I guess this place will not be taking part in mobile payment systems until this practice is done away with.

        • regis-s says:

          He has a valid point. If you absolutely can’t be without your cellphone for the duration of your dinner keep it and pay full price.

          I’d have no problem turning it off or not answering it while I’m eating. It’s not likely I’m going to be giving it to them to hold though. I guess I’d be paying full price too.

  4. Applekid says:

    Ha, I’ll show them, I use analog devices at the table. Sure they weigh 80 pounds and sound like a clock factory, but they’re not digital.

  5. dolemite says:

    No, because my phone is never out anyhow. But if it means a discount, I might pretend I’m one of these inconsiderate people.

  6. Mr. Spy says:

    I don’t need my phone. But no. As Torchwood says, they probably just bumped up the price 5% anyway. And really, it’s just putting my phone at risk of being stolen or accidently being given away. And with my phone, a lot of password and a lot of personal information. Possibly even credit card information.
    Besides, I just wouldn’t want to. I like my phone.

  7. TheMansfieldMauler says:

    So do you get the discount if you don’t have a phone in the first place? Or do they just assume everyone has a phone?

    Also, it’s none of their business how people “connect” and other hippie crap they’re spewing. If someone enjoys the company of another person who is constantly messing with a phone, that’s their business and their decision. This fantasy that people will somehow rediscover each other after 30 minutes of no phone shows a childishly simplistic view of interpersonal relationships.

    • Mambru says:

      People go outside without phones??? my monocle just popped out

    • Three Foot Roo says:

      I agree completely. Also, yes, being on the phone while the server is trying to help you or yelling into your phone is rude, but I fail to see how simply messing around on a phone can possibly disturb other patrons. If you’re staring at the person at the next table and feeling “disrupted” because they’re checking the sports scores, kindly up your Ritalin dosage. “And then he was fiddling with his napkin! And then he was cutting his food! And then she was looking in her purse! I couldn’t enjoy the ambience!”

    • MarkFL says:

      I don’t think the idea is to protect other people at the same table from the rudeness of people who spend most of their meal on the phone. Instead, I THINK THE IDEA IS TO PROTECT THE PEOPLE AT THE NEXT TABLE WHO DON’T WANT HEAR THE LOUD CONVERSATION OF SOMEONE DISCUSSING THE RESULTS OF THEIR HERPES EXAM WHILE THEY TRY TO ENJOY THEIR OWN MEAL.

      Also, although I have never worked in food service, I am positive there are people who take calls in the middle of placing their order in the middle of a busy restaurant and then get snitty if the server goes to take care of someone else who isn’t wasting the staff’s time.

      • TheMansfieldMauler says:

        I think you missed an entire paragraph of the article above. The one starting with: For us, it’s really not about people disrupting other guests…

        • Three Foot Roo says:

          Then what’s the point? If I’m not disrupting anyone, then why the fuck do they care what I’m doing at my table? I come to restaurants alone sometimes; am I then exempt from the rule or am I required to stare creepily at other patrons instead of entertaining myself? Can I read a book? How, by their own standards, is that less antisocial than reading Facebook?

        • MarkFL says:

          Yes, I did overlook that. But then the restaurant is also missing the point.

          The fact is that many people are exceptionally rude and obnoxious at the dinner table at home, and this is surely NOT the atmosphere they want to recreate. In theory, being in a public place sometimes promotes good behavior, at least with some people.

      • Three Foot Roo says:

        But anybody who yells about the results of their herpes exam on their phone would do so to their dining companion as well. There is no evidence that an asshole with a phone turns into Miss Manners without it. (There are, I believe, studies that eavesdroppers are more inclined to listen to phone conversations than face-to-face conversations because of the frustration of only hearing half the conversation, but although that’s annoying, that doesn’t exactly make it the phone talker’s fault. There’s no reason a person shouldn’t be allowed to have a phone conversation of exactly the volume and content that they’d be entitled to be having a public face-to-face conversation.)

        • MarkFL says:

          There are people who are loud in face-to-face conversation, but many people much louder on the phone (cell or otherwise). I’m not sure why — maybe they have a bad connection and speak louder because they think the other person can’t hear them, or more likely they just forget where they are and that there are other people around.

          They won’t be Miss Manners, but they can at least be rude without going to 11.

  8. dicobalt says:

    I don’t mind it as long as people aren’t being louder than they would be talking to someone across the table from them. People with volume control problems on their voices don’t need to be on the phone to be annoying.

  9. redskull says:

    What I don’t get is when I’m in a restaurant and I see 4 people at a table and all 4 are diddling with their phones, not saying a word to one another. Are they texting each other? If not, why the hell did they come with anyone?

    • MarkFL says:

      I wonder if those people see the irony of ignoring their friends at the table so they can communicate with Facebook friends they have never met in person.

  10. Back to waiting, but I did get a cute dragon ear cuff says:

    Looking at the menu and pricing, something tells me this is mostly a publicity stunt. (In Los Angeles, Never!!)

    When you are getting ready to spend $100 plus for 2 for a nice (in theory, never been there) dinner, my guess is that a $5 discount is not going to really sway your choice of eatery.

  11. daemonaquila says:

    Nope. My phone doesn’t leave my side. I especially would not put it in a stranger’s hands. For a couple buck discount, I’m going to hand a $500 phone to a restaurant employee? That’s nuts. Depending on whether I liked that restaurant or not, I’d either avoid them or make a point of using my tech at their table – full laptop style.

    • inadequatewife says:

      Not handing over my phone or other digital devices either. But then again, I have manners and (1) turn the volume to vibrate when I’m in a restaurant, (2) don’t actually answer the phone unless it’s a perceived emergency, (3) talk in a normal volume voice, no louder than I’d speak to someone at my table.

      I eat in restaurants alone when I travel, and I’m not giving up my e-reader which I enjoy using while I’m waiting for my food, and also while I’m eating. Maybe, in the restaurant’s mind, I’m not entirely focused on their food while I’m reading, but for me, it’s nice to have the downtime and enjoy my book.

    • John from Huntersville says:

      It’s also my right to make a point by repeating every sentence you speak on your cell phone or read your laptop screen out loud so everyone can know what you’re reading.

  12. Anne Noise says:

    “Eva is home, so blah blah blah…”

    If it’s home, I would have my phone next to me at all times. People are free to have their attitudes about phones being rude or whatever, but among my group of friends, it is not.

  13. balderdashed says:

    If I wanted “an environment of home” as the chef claims to be encouraging, I’d eat at home. It’s one thing if the guest at a nearby table is talking on a cellphone nonstop, but somebody discretely checking their email or a sports score doesn’t bother me in the least. I don’t even care if they’re watching a video or listening to Pandora, if they have earbuds and I can’t hear it. I’m also dubious about checking a cellphone at the door, since a phone can cost $400 or $500 (I hope the restaurateur has good insurance), not to mention the potential for data being lost or compromised. Most likely the owner’s real interest was in coming up with a gimmick that could net some free publicity for his restaurant; in that sense (only), he had a good idea.

  14. Misha says:

    And… what if I don’t HAVE a smart-device to gate-check (and therefore wouldn’t be disrupting other diners with one to begin with)? Am I actually being penalized for still living in 2001?

  15. Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

    I’m alway amazed when I go into a restaurant and there always are two or three assholes nearby who absolutely must be on the phone having what are obviously inconsequential conversations. Why can’t they simply put down the damn phones and enjoy their meals (and let me enjoy mine)? If they want to text or dick around with there phone… fine. As long as they do it quietly.

  16. Paul in SF says:

    I don’t need the restaurant to force their beliefs on human interaction on me. Just cook and serve the damn food already.

  17. ARP3 says:

    Seems like overkill. A person discretely checking a message or looking something up is fine. A person who can’t ever order or makes the waitperson wait for them to decide because they won’t stop playing with their phone and look at the menu is not.

    Phone calls should be taken or made outside or somewhere else.

  18. SmokeyBacon says:

    Well, I would have no problem not using my phone but no way in hell I would leave it at the front – that is ridiculous. And what about people who just don’t have a phone or don’t bring it with for some reason – do they get the discount too? I don’t take my phone out of my purse, so they would not even know I had it unless I take it out to use it – if that doesn’t happen do I get a discount too?

  19. AzCatz07 says:

    I’ve been trying to break my gf of this habit. She is completely addicted to her phone. She’s getting better about it, but I can’t stand when people are sharing a meal with me and whip out their phones.

    One time we were out to dinner, and she kept going on her phone, despite my asking her several times (nicely) to stop. She assured me she was just browsing the net, as if that made it any better. I finally picked up my plate and moved to the next table. That led to the biggest argument we’ve ever had, although we laugh about it now. We’ve come to a bit of a truce about it, but I still think she spends way too much time playing on her phone.

  20. psm321 says:

    For 5%? No.

  21. energynotsaved says:

    I hate phones. I’m a huge fan of this idea. I’d pay 5% more to go to a place where phones were not permitted.

  22. SilverBlade2k says:

    I hope this idea catches on and more chain restaurants do this.

    This would be the first first restaurant I would go to on a date, just so that the girl can’t ‘suddenly’ get a call from a date rescue service to get her out of a bad date without feeling guilty about it.

  23. ScandalMgr says:

    Better just to set up a Cell Phone Jamming Device, with a prominent warning that it’s in use so On-Call Doctors (and other professionals) can stay away.

    That’s a win all around.
    1) Dickheads who must be on their phone won’t come near the place
    2) Professionals whose job depends on the phone won’t come near the place
    3) the restaurant will save the recurring 5% hit by just buying the jammer once, benefitting its bottom line.

  24. limbodog says:

    I just can’t fit it in my pocket when sitting down.

  25. Bort says:

    But i don’t have a phone so i have no trouble not texting during dinner, but how do i get the no phone use discount?

  26. Snullbug says:

    So now we’ve reached the point where we have to, in essence,pay people not to be annoying orifices.

  27. tinyhands says:

    Can I have the option to pay an extra 5% to take away everyone ELSE’S phone? Mine isn’t the one that bothers me.

  28. Kuri says:

    No, because I had another device I sometimes play on, while conversing, at the table, and it ain’t a phone.

    Do this in movie theaters and we might talk.