Frankie and Benny’s has announced a new ‘No Phone Zone’ promotion, which will see a free meal offered to diners who hand in their phone before eating.
Staff at the chain will “encourage” diners to put their phones in a special box before being seated. The promotion comes after research by Frankie and Benny’s found that 10% of children have tried to hide a parent’s mobile phone in order to get attention from them, and twice as many said their parents prefered to be on their phone than talk to them.
The survey which was responded to by 1,500 parents and children, also found that over a quarter of parents admitted they checked their phones during family mealtimes, while 23% did so while their child was talking about their day. The chain’s 250 restaurants said they would roll out the promotion permanently should it be a success.
Retail analyst, Steve Dresser was skeptical of the campaign however, taking to Twitter to say: “I bet it’s to prevent customers complaining via Twitter/Facebook at their table over an inexplicable wait time when there are only 7 customers in the restaurant.”
A Frankie and Benny’s spokesperson said: “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.”