With diners increasingly texting or snapping photos while they’re eating out, some restaurants owners are resorting to banning the habit. In their view, meals are for real-life social connections, not social media.
“You walk by a table and there’s somebody playing a video game. Or people made a note they’re celebrating their anniversary and you barely see them speak to each other over the course of the two and a half hour dinner,” John Winterman of restaurant Batard in Tribeca said.
Recent research shows how addicting mobile technology can be: Nearly 50 percent of parents and more than 70 percent of teens say they feel the need to respond to texts and other notifications immediately.
Winterman says people should focus on enjoying each other’s company and the food, not be looking at a phone. At his restaurant, it’s more of an observation than a rule — but others are banning phones outright.
“No cell phones on the table, at dinner, everyone talks … and this is my home … and when you come into my home, my restaurant — that’s how we run our restaurant,” Mario Gigliotti, the owner of Italian restaurant Il Triangolo in Queens, New York.
While it may rub some people the wrong way, Gigliotti thinks putting the phone down and being present is an important step to keeping the restaurant’s atmosphere social.
If you’re single and dating, it may be a policy you want to stick to, regardless of the restaurant’s policy. A recent survey of 5,000 singles from dating group Match found checking your phone regularly on the first date is the number one turn-off for women — and only a quarter of men think it is acceptable.