Chick-Fil-A’s Mobile-Free Dining
Aiming to encourage more face-to-face interaction while dining, US fast-casual restaurant chain Chick-Fil-A is offering customers "cell phone coops" in which to stash their mobile phones at 150 of its eateries.
The coops come in the form of branded cardboard boxes, which seal shut to keep technology out of sight and out of mind, enabling individuals to enjoy each other's uninterrupted company as well as the food. Groups that manage to enjoy a full meal without retrieving their phones are rewarded with complimentary ice creams for their commitment to the initiative.
A number of chefs and restaurateurs are promoting similarly minded concepts that prioritise the enjoyment of food and company above screens. In the UK, Michelin-starred restaurant Turner's and many Gordon Ramsay eateries have taken this idea a step further by banning mobiles from their establishments altogether.
However, this tech-resistant approach is a risky one to adopt when trying to attract connected millennial diners, or the Foodstagram generation looking to feed their social media streams with visually appealing images.
Technology can often enhance the dining experience – see Future Family Dining, Destination Dining and KFC Encourages Digital Dining for more on how digitally rich spaces can deliver entertainment, relevant information and human engagement. For more on how amateur and experienced food photographers are helping to elevate plating and presentation in the culinary realm, see Food Presentation Trends.