LA restaurant rewards phone-free patrons
August 16th, 2012
06:00 PM ET
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Cell phones often claim a spot on the table in restaurants, sitting right next to utensils, plates and glasses. One restaurant is trying to change that.

Eva Restaurant in Los Angeles offers diners a 5% discount for leaving their phones with the receptionist for the entirety of the meal. The new policy went into effect a bit more than a month ago, according to chef Mark Gold, who runs the restaurant with his wife, Alejandra.

Since then, the chef estimates that 40% to 50% of customers have opted in and ditched their phones.

Read the full story on CNN Money: Restaurant offers a 5% discount to eat without your phone

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Filed under: Bite • Etiquette • Restaurants • Technology


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soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. about

    Woah this blog is wonderful i love studying your articles. Keep up the great work! You know, many persons are hunting around for this information, you could aid them greatly.

    November 29, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Reply
  2. ThinkItThru

    Let me start by saying, I am all for no cell phones at restaurants. In fact, my friends and I have started a policy of setting them all in the middle of the table at a nicer restaurant and the first one to grab their phone picks up the tab for the table. Additionally, I certainly applaud this establishment for attempting to instill some degree of manners back in to dining out but... That being said, I hope everyone has a pass code on their phone and possibly other security measures in place... unless of course you trust the host/hostess and everyone else working at the restaurant to not go thru your phone while you're eating. Talk about risking identity theft or worse... think about how much info is on that phone before you willing hand it to a stranger to get $10 off a $200 tab, might not be the smartest decision.

    August 20, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Reply
  3. Mike

    So why not go the other way. If someone is blatantly disregarding everyone else's desire to a nice meal out without hearing about their personal problems, add a nuisance surcharge to their bill.

    August 20, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Reply
  4. patricia

    My husband decided that he wanted to ban me from bringing my cell phone with me when we go to breakfast; because he thinks we should be having a conversation. It's not like I talk to anybody on the phone by the way- I just check in on Facebook or whatever, but I'm not talking on the phone. That's fine, I decided to respect his decision and leave the phone at home since it meant more to him than me. However, he sits there and reads the newspaper the whole time not talking to me. Weird.

    August 19, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Reply
    • Sisted Twister

      Geezuz brucealmighty woman. Take your d@mn phone to the table until he gives up the newsprint and talks to you. "... out of respect for..." your husband, my left elbow. What about respect for you? Don't be a doormat.

      August 20, 2012 at 7:24 am | Reply
      • Lucy

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        [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5F_OmaLqbE&w=640&h=390]

        STOP Obama's WAR – CALL your senator, CALL your representative, CALL all your friends... Please help us.

        August 20, 2012 at 9:58 am | Reply
    • Maverick2591b

      The newspsper thing is not cool, granted, but do you NEED to check out FB "or whatever" during time together? My wife used to text her kids when we'd go to dinner until SHE had the epiphany: this is OUR time. I don't text or chat or "whatevert" when we're together...I'm glad she respected me enough to decide not to do it as well.

      Besides, it's a sad marriage you seem to have, if a paper and an electronic pain in the a$s gets betwixt you.

      And "Swisted", get the stick out of your as$.

      August 20, 2012 at 8:31 am | Reply
  5. nytw

    Liberals just have to tell people how to live. Hopefully, they will get the message they need to keep their mouths shut after Obama is tossed out of office.

    August 19, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Reply
    • dfw75208

      Don't you believe in the free market? Are you unAmerican?

      August 19, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Reply
    • Sane Person

      No one is telling anyone, anything. If you want a 5% discount, leave the phone with the front desk. If you dont want to do that, dont. Also, Obama doesnt own this restaurant. Sorry, but the entire world does not run using your standard.

      August 19, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Reply
      • Owl96

        If you do not own a phone, you cannot leave it at the desk. So those who do not own one get a 5% surcharge effected. Stupid policy. Doctors cannot leave their phone behind. Doctors get tagged with a 5% surcharge. Stupid policy.

        August 20, 2012 at 8:34 am | Reply
        • archchuzzlewit

          Feel free to not eat at this restaurant. Problem solved.

          August 20, 2012 at 10:31 am |
  6. HateFonez

    New construction restaurants should consider wall coverings that block freqs in the cellular bands. This is perfectly legal in the US, unlike jamming. Businesses can jam cell phones in some countries. Sometimes I wish it were legal in the US.

    August 19, 2012 at 11:51 am | Reply
    • DRnobody

      Yeah, but then you run the risk of blocking a call to someone's "on call" surgeon who now cannot be reached to perform a lifesaving operation.

      August 19, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Reply
      • With Respect

        Out of fairness to that kind of necessity, the restaurant could post a sign stating their call-blocking technology is in use. The surgeon can eat somewhere else.

        August 20, 2012 at 7:26 am | Reply
  7. SixDegrees

    I'd definitely consider buying one of those cheap burner cell phones just so I could carry it in and get the discount. I never use a cell phone, but there's no way I can get rewarded for that, I guess. Bottom-end phones seem to be around $10; I could make this back in a couple of meals.

    August 19, 2012 at 4:18 am | Reply
  8. Dennis

    Maybe the restaurants could show a little class themselves and unplug the wall-to-wall televsions.

    August 19, 2012 at 1:32 am | Reply
    • Moliana

      You should try eating somewhere other than sports bars.

      August 19, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Reply
  9. John M.

    The restaurant should just double its prices and then offer a 50% discount for anyone who leaves their cell phone at the desk. The price stays the same for anyone who doesn't want to sit near a cell phone yakker, and the yakkers will all stay away regardless. In effect, the rule becomes, "Yes, you can use your cell phone, but we will double the price of your meal."

    August 18, 2012 at 8:06 pm | Reply
    • Kareen

      I like that!

      August 18, 2012 at 11:36 pm | Reply
  10. md22mdrx

    Worst part is if you have to work at ANY business with a drivethru ....
    You'll realize just how many people are driving and talking/texting in this country. They can't get off the phone for 2 seconds .... and this goes for all levels of drivethru .... from fast food to banking to pharmacy.

    August 18, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Reply
  11. Sherri

    Great! It is so sickening to see these stupid people walking around with their phone in their hands, like they are going to miss some important call. For heaven's sake, put the thing away. You look stupid. Putting it on the table is dumb. Talking on the phone, while at a restaurant is extremely rude. Excuse yourself and go to the lobby or something. It is rude to other customers, and very rude to the person you are with. Ban cell phones in restaurants and movies. Ban them while driving. Why are so many states afraid to make this law? They hem and haw and say it's illegal to use them in a work zone. I saw a great bumper sticker yesterday. You are driving a car. Not in a phone booth or beauty parlor or a restaurant. (in other words, no talking on phone, no applying makeup while driving etc. DRIVE NOW. TALK LATER.

    August 18, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Reply
    • JimK2450

      Sherri...

      LOVE the bumper sticker. Here’s a few that I’d like to include:

      Grocery stores: SHOP NOW-TALK LATER
      Restrooms: GO NOW-TALK LATER
      Schools: EX-CELL NOW-TALK LATER
      Elevators: THIS IS NOT YOUR PERSONAL PHONE BOOTH
      Theaters: WATCH NOW-TALK LATER
      Churches: PRAY NOW-TALK LATER
      Golf Courses: PLAY NOW-TALK LATER
      Business signs: BUY NOW-CELL LATER

      The most common thing/response I seem to hear is: “Oh nothing…what are YOU doing?” And I’m really not interested in hearing about what Mary said Marsha said about Bob last night! Remember the old phrase: “Mr. Johnson, I have a personal call for you.”? It seems that there’s no such thing as a “personal” call anymore! Another phrase/expression: MYOB. Kinda hard to do THAT now-a-days! And now it seems that I’M the one that’s in THEIR space when THEY get a call!

      August 19, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Reply
    • Bitter, party of one

      Sherri, the phones will not be banned 'til enough people are killed due to their use. Same reason stop lights are installed at intersections: because the number of people killed was higher than the local politician was comfortable with.

      Seriously, because it's infringing on our freedoms to ban them. No one wants to tread there. Same as the abortion issue. What politician really wants to be the one to successfully push that law thru and p!ss off the voters who disagree with them?

      August 20, 2012 at 7:40 am | Reply
  12. jillmarie

    It's a nice gesture. I'm sick of people being so attached to their phones. We've become too accessable. I know my cell phone has helped me when I'm in an emergency, and can't say I want to forgo it, but how many holidays do you spend watching people with their thumbs all over their phone.
    It's common courtesy- I'd like to see this done in movie theaters, too! I'm sick of having to ask people to lower their phones because I can see the illumination and it's distracting fro the movie I paid to see!

    August 18, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Reply
  13. JEN

    When are they going to offer a discount for parents to leave their screaming children at home?

    August 18, 2012 at 9:44 am | Reply
    • Courtney

      Yeah, because all kids are always screaming right..... I'd like a discount everytime I get stuck next to loud patrons who have consumed too much, or just think that everyone else thinks they are as important as they feel.

      August 18, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Reply
    • md22mdrx

      I would have liked to give a discount to this one "couple" at Applebees ....
      They (well, SHE) were speaking pretty loudly. It was a OBVIOUS "first date". The thing was ... it seemed as if it was an obvious "hook-up" situation. He couldn't care less about what she was talking about. She couldn't stop yammering about how much of a drunken whore she was .... with quotes like "Last Tuesday was the first time I've shown up sober for class ... EVER!". He obviously had no respect for her and was watching his watch the whole time .... just putting on this charade of a "nice dinner" for the obvious payback later. Being Applebees, that shows you what he thought of the whole situation. The only thing he talked about was how much his friends talked about her .... and he didn't state any details. It was pretty obvious it was more like "cheap date" and "easy score" kinda talk, but she ate it up. But ... I don't want to make it sound like the guy was 100% a jerk here. It was quite obvious that SHE was in this for the free meal and hookup too. I almost wanted to interject with the whole "It's obvious what you both want, get out of here and get to it!" quote, but that would be rude.

      It WAS entertaining though!!!
      Deserved a discount for entertainment alone ....

      August 18, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Reply
      • SixDegrees

        Do you have her phone number?

        August 19, 2012 at 4:15 am | Reply
  14. Katherine

    I wish they didn't have to offer that initiative. I used to work at a 5 Star Relais et Chateaux property, and I had a guest come in and spend the entire evening on his iPad. We served celebrities and guests could drop $500+ on a bottle of wine, and homeboy thought it was acceptable to be on Facebook while having his foi gras.

    August 18, 2012 at 12:05 am | Reply
  15. realoldguy

    But what about my taxes? Are those librils going to raise my taxes? Doesn't anybody care about my burdens?

    August 17, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Reply
    • jeannie869

      No, we don't –

      August 17, 2012 at 11:59 pm | Reply
  16. Truth™

    It's pretty sad that restaurants have to reward people for exercising common courtesy.

    August 17, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Reply
    • Brenda

      I couldn't care less if someone was talking on their phone in a restaurant. I'm not having dinner at Buckingham Palace.

      August 17, 2012 at 11:08 pm | Reply
    • jeannie869

      Finally, it's so annoying to have to listen to someone else's conversation because they literally yell into their phones. If I'm paying top dollar for a meal out with my friends at an expensive restaurant, the last thing I want to hear is a telephone going off. As far as I'm concerned they could confiscate the phones at the door and give them back when the customer leaves because so many people don't have any idea what common courtesy entails.

      August 17, 2012 at 11:57 pm | Reply
      • lastofsane

        Now if only movie theaters would institute such a policy.

        August 18, 2012 at 8:14 am | Reply
  17. Yeah Buddy®

    Nice gesture, but 5% doesn't even cover tax on the meal. Make it 15%, the server gets 20% for the full bill, of course, then watch how your business takes off.

    August 17, 2012 at 6:42 am | Reply
    • VladT

      ........and then some people will claim that 15% is not enough, so what's your point? They are offering a discount they don't have to in exchange to actually pay attention to the people you are currently having a meal with. 5% off for better manners seems fair to me

      August 17, 2012 at 8:08 am | Reply
      • bigreenize

        Precisely.

        August 17, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Reply

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