We’ve all gotten awfully attached to our phones, haven’t we? It’s a double-edged sword for chefs and restaurant owners, as well – on the one hand, who doesn’t secretly crave a little extra publicity from a fan that saw fit to snap a photo of your creation and tag your restaurant on Instagram? But on the other hand, maybe you just want to foster a relaxed and communal atmosphere where people can connect over food, but every time you look out all anyone’s doing is connecting over Wi-Fi.
So what’s a person to do? At one Los Angeles restaurant, desperate times call for desperate measure: in this case, a kind of bribery. Eva Restaurant is making headlines for a new policy that offers a 5 percent discount to any diner who’s willing to check their phone at the door.
In a radio interview, Eva Restaurant owner Chef Mark Gold said that the motivation behind the discount is simply getting people to be a little more present:
“It’s about two people sitting together [and] just connecting, without the distraction of a phone, and we’re trying to create an ambiance where you come in and really enjoy the experience and the food and the company,” Gold tells Southern California Public Radio.
Five percent is a pretty small discount (not even covering tax), but it seems to be working: the report states that just under half of Eva’s customers are actually cashing in. Then again, maybe it’s not even really about the discount at all. Maybe we’re looking for an excuse, however thin, to absolve us from the expectation of being available and on-call 24 hours a day. Maybe it’s not such a bad idea.