Poll: Would You Check Your Cell Phone at the Door for a Restaurant Discount?

This week, our Gilroy Patch site published an article asking that very question. What do you think?


For some folks, the overuse of cell phones in public is an annoyance; others wonder if the handheld devices are breaking down traditional means of communication between all of us.

This week, Gilroy Patch  about a new restaurant in California that is reacting to these modern times, offering incentives for patrons to change their technological habits, at least for the duration of a meal.

The Los Angeles restaurant, called Eva's, gives diners a five percent discount on their bill if they're willing to check their cell phones at the door.

The owner, Mark Gold, said in an interview on a California public radio station that he hopes the effort will bring people's focus back to each other instead of on cell phones.

Once inside the restaurant, a server gives newly-arriving customers the option of handing over their phone during the meal. If they agree, once they finish their food, the to-go containers are coupled with a bill that is reduced by five percent. During the meal, the phone goes into a virtual escrow; once the bill is paid, the phone is returned.

Is this an idea whose time has come?

Last week's Time magazine focused its issue on wireless: "10 Ways Your Phone is Changing the World" Among the findings?

  • 71 percent of India residents say they use their cell phone while at a restaurant. 
  • 70 percent of Chinese residents use their cell phone while enjoying traditional meals.
  • U.S. residents were moderate on the question; 36 percent keep one hand on their cell phone while they eat their meal.

Gilroy's Facebook page solicited local opinion on the idea of whether folks would hand over their phones during a meal for a discount:

Desiree Marie: Nope, if my children are not with me no way! I have a son with major food allergies and you never know what could happen.

Barbara Keating-Wolk: Don't think people would hand over their phones for a discount! Ever notice people with iPhones have to have them on the table at all times? Guilty as charged!!

Barbara Orth: In a heartbeat! I can be disconnected for an hour or so and give my dinner companion my attention.

David Benoit: Yes.

What do you think? Is it okay to use cell phones during a meal? Are we at a point where we can't get by without them, even while eating? Or is this idea of leaving your cell phone at the door a good one, especially with the added-value given of a five percent discount off the tab?

Let us know in the comments. Then vote in our poll.

Mayra Flores de Marcotte August 25, 2012 at 06:37 PM
I agree that its rude to talk on the phone while attempting to have dinner with people you care about (though I find texting even worse!). The ringing of a phone in a restaurant is always annoying. I leave mine in my purse, on vibrate when we go out. If its important, I go outside. Not sure if I would trust a restaurant and all the people working there though. Call me paranoid but no discount will amount to the cost of the phone and the information on it.
randy albin August 25, 2012 at 07:03 PM
yak, yak, yak. why not use your ipod or mp3 instead of yakking on the phone? just go to a discount restaurant and do your business there. where was the world without all of these gadgets and gizmos?
AR August 26, 2012 at 12:13 AM
i'm sure they have already discovered that people are bringing their old dead phones in to get the discount. given the amount of personal info easily transferrable from a phone, you would have to be crazy to let someone walk away with it for an hour
margaret Anderson August 26, 2012 at 07:14 AM
I just make sure my phone is turned off when I enter a restaurant. Handing the restaurant your phone could end up with someone using your minutes. The temptation is too great.
Jeffrey McClanahan, M.D. August 28, 2012 at 12:06 AM
For so many "smart" people with so many "smart" phones it amazes me that no one thought of the revolutionary idea - leave your phone locked in your car. No worries about tempted employees, no temptation to go to the staff and check to see if you got "the call." For all our sakes just cut the umbilical cord. For the woman who thinks that she will be able to save her child from an allergic reaction...here is reality. As an M.D. I can tell you with certainty that if a person has an anaphylactic shock to a substance(food) or other things, there is approximately 1-4 minutes(at the most) in which to respond. That is, by the time you get the telephone call, you have about 2 minutes to call someone who can respond and get to the scene and administer epinephrine. I personally have never seen this occur in my 25 years of experience. As a parent with a child with allergies you do two things, teach you child and provide them with an EpiPen, second you provide them with the I.D. bracelet that identifies them as "at risk." You may think your phone is a defense, but sadly it is nothing of the sort. So, to make the dining experience better for yourself, your partner and all other patrons is something that you can assure by simply not bringing your cell phone into the establishment. Besides, no one wants to hear your conversation anyway.


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