It’s becoming more and more commonplace – restaurant diners are pulling out their smartphones and tablets as they eat. Whether taking a working lunch or simply staying wired in to social media during mealtimes, we’ve become increasingly reluctant to disconnect. But what impact is this having on the restaurant industry?
Some restaurateurs have implemented a no-phones policy, claiming the devices are distracting and disruptive to service. They cite examples of customers taking a prolonged time to order thanks to spending that time on their phones, as well as taking up servers’ valuable time by requesting their assistance in photographing the food. Stories have also been told of customers who spent so much time taking pictures of their dinner that it became cold, prompting the diners to send it back to the kitchen.
However, some restaurant owners have a different outlook. Customers who are locked in to social media as they eat can only be a good thing, they argue – after all, it’s free publicity! For those who feel that word of mouth is the best advertisement, a customer who Tweets while he eats is a welcome guest indeed.
Only one thing is for sure – the digital revolution is as divisive in the dining room as it is anywhere else!