Article by Joanna Sarah-Freedman
In the Instagram world we live in, going out for dinner is too often consumed with snapping photographs and scrolling on our phones.
Before you know it, your food has gone cold and your company is sat there looking miffed and silently wishing they’d just stayed in and had a takeaway instead.
That’s why one Indian restaurant in Kent has introduced an optional ‘phone jail’ where customers can get a discount if they relinquish ownership of their mobiles for the duration of the meal, in an offer running every Monday.
Spice Fusion announced the deal at the start of this month, telling customers: “We love to see people enjoying each other’s company, and because we like to see this so much, we’re offering 20% off food on tables of 4 or more if all diners on the table agree to lock away their phones in a “phone jail” so everyone can concentrate on the important things.”
Customers who sign up to the deal will place their phones in a cage, for which they will have they keys.
But they’ll be strongly encouraged not to touch them at all whilst they’re eating, and to live in the moment instead.
Speaking exclusively to Twisted, Rajeev Gupte, the restaurant’s owner and General Manager said: “We quite often notice, as we people watch in the dining room, more and more people are using their phones – not to speak to someone but checking up on Facebook and sending messages.
“It started to feel like our food, our tables, our venue, was just a transaction, like filling up petrol, even though they’ve made the effort to come to dinner!
“We know from experience that people that aren’t on their phones are better engaged with one another and better engaged with our food … Dinner is better when we eat together! So, we decided to take action.
“Rather than doing a Gordon Ramsay, who banned phones, we decided to incentivise the issue by offering a 20% discount if everyone at the table locks their phones up in one of our table top phone jails.
“We leave the keys with them in case there is an emergency of course!”
Discussing the reception the initiative has had so far, Rajeev told us that people have so far said it was “fun” to say goodbye to their phones for a while.
Although, they added that they had to keep stopping themselves reaching for their pockets.
The phone addictions are real!