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This Restaurant Will Pay You Not To Use Your Phone At Dinner

Sometimes it’s nice to have your smartphone at dinner, staring at the screen the entire time and avoiding the human travails of conversation and eye contact. But this Los Angeles-based eatery has had enough, and is offering discounts for phone surrender.

The idea, Southern California Public Radio reports, comes from owner and chef Mark Gold: “We’re trying to create an ambience where you come in and really enjoy the experience and the food and the company.” And if you look around most restaurants in 2012, you won’t see a lot of people enjoying the company for more than 10 minutes at a time. The modern meal is plagued by under-the-table peeks, scattershot table texting, check-ins, and, disquietingly often, the presence of phones laid out on the table the entire time. The phones sit there, pulsing, buzzing, flashing, alongside the silverware.

Gold is only offering a 5 per cent discount in exchange for your phone at the door, which, yeah, isn’t very much — although at his restaurant, which serves entrees like $US45 Wagyu beef with béarnaise sauce, it could add up. But he says a little under half of his patrons are already taking him up on the deal, likely out of a mix of frugality and digital self loathing.

Would 5 per cent do it? 10 per cent? How much is ruined social interaction at the table worth it to you? [SCPR via FoodBeast]


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