Restaurant rewards customers for turning off their phones while dining.
Brad Williams, a Chick-Fil-A operator in Suwanee, Georgia has come up with a new idea he hopes will encourage diners at his restaurant to put down their phones while dining and enjoy the company of their family or friends with them for a meal.
According to Inside Chick-Fil-A, Williams says the team at his restaurant wanted to provide a sense of community for its customers, and a place where family and friends can come together and share some quality time with each other. Recognizing that many diners are texting, talking or surfing the web on their cell phones as they nibble on their food, Williams says he got to thinking about how his team could reduce the distractions of cell phone use, not only for those using the devices, but for the patrons around them as well.
Thus the “Cell Phone Coop” was born. Williams places a small box on the tables in the restaurant, and challenges his customers to place their phones and tablets in the box, heretofore known as the Coop, while they enjoy their dining experience. Guests that can successfully leave their phones in the box for the duration of their meal will receive a free Chick-Fil-A Icedream. The phones must remain untouched for the entire meal to receive the award.
Williams says, “The challenge has completely taken off. We have families who aren’t successful the first time and come back to try again. We even have people asking to take the boxes home with them! Our whole community is talking about it.”
Nationally, the challenge has not yet been made available at all Chick-Fil-A restaurants, but over 150 of the locally-owned stores are requesting boxes to take up the challenge in their facilities as well.
The challenge may have some health benefits also, despite the extra calories in the dairy-treat award. An article on the Huffington Post says research has shown use of cell phones while eating leaves you incapable of enjoying your food, can lead to damage in romantic relationships, and may contribute to feelings of depression. Other studies have shown that while the phone is distracting you, you may tend to eat more than you otherwise would. And no one wants to sit next to the loudmouth talking business on his phone while you are trying to enjoy your meal and conversation.
Chick-Fil-A recommends contacting your local operator to see if your favorite restaurant is participating in the challenge. Not while you are eating, of course.