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May 25, 2019

Restaurants’ cell phone gimmick encourages families to actually talk to each other during dinner

November 28, 2018
Franki & Benny’s, an Italian-American chain restaurant in the United Kingdom, has implemented a deal regarding cell phones — prompting skepticism from social media users. (DGLimages / Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Welcome to the phone-less zone.

Children will get free meals if their parents put their phones in a box while eating at Frankie & Benny’s, an Italian-American restaurant chain with 250 branches in the United Kingdom. The gimmick has led to skepticism from social media users.

The “No Phone Zone” promotion will take place from Nov. 29 to Dec. 7, according to BBC.

The idea was prompted by a recent survey which showed 23% of parents checked their phones during family meal time, or even worse, while their children were talking about their day.

The survey, which polled 1,500 parents and children, also revealed that 10% of kids have tried to hide their parents’ phone to get some attention.

“We looked at various ways we could encourage people to engage more at the dinner table, and we’ve found giving families the chance to part with their devices for a mere couple of hours is a great way to bring them closer and embrace family time,” a Frankie & Benny spokesman said.

The promotion won’t be enforced, but will be “actively encouraged” to patrons — and become a permanent deal if it’s successful.

Some feel the restaurant chain has ulterior motives.

Twitter user Steve Dresser thinks it’s “to prevent customers complaining via Twitter/Facebook at their table over an inexplicable wait time.”

“If you need a restaurant to give you rules to adhere to before you speak with your family during a meal, you’ve got bigger problems,” tweeted another.

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