How would you like the promise of a phone-free dinner table for Mother's Day?
That's what Beefeater is serving up to diners this Sunday, on account of the fact that 54% of people in the UK said that the constant checking of phones at the dinner table is the most likely cause of a dinner time argument.
Launched to coincide with Mother's Day, the steak chain has taken the bold move of creating 'phone free' areas in response to research that outlines behaviour that can ruin family outings. Consequently, a 'No Phone Zone' will be introduced at Beefeater sites this weekend to ensure diners give Mums their undivided attention.
Top of the table on the list of family outing-ruiners was 'constantly checking phones at the table', which 54% listed as the single most likely thing to cause an argument. The second and third most likely argument starters were a family member being underdressed or scruffy for the occasion (28%) and family members having earphones constantly plugged in (18%).
Conversely, 'family conversation' is rated as the single most beneficial aspect of a good day out, with nearly two-thirds of respondents suggesting that just having a nice chat is the best bit of a family outing.
Beefeater guests will be able to book a 'No Phone Zone' table for Sunday 6th March and those in the zone will reportedly have to hand their mobile phones to staff 'as a deposit' when they arrive. Hawk-eyed Beefeater staff will patrol the 'No Phone Zone' and have the right to move guests who do not comply with the new rule. Harsh.
The 'No Phone Zone' will be trialled across sites this weekend, with a view to making the areas permanent if they are well received by diners.
Sarah Tinsley, Head of Marketing for Beefeater said; "There's no denying the huge benefits our smartphones provide us, but there is a time and a place for their use and, especially on Mother's Day, we think we can do without them for an hour or two. Mums don't ask much of us and rarely even let us spend any money on them – so the least we can do is give Mums our undivided attention. We hope this small adjustment to our setup enables a few more families to add some seasoned conversation to their meal."
I blooming love this. Well played, Beefeater. But we'd love to hear your thoughts on this story. Are phones at the table a cause of meal-time disagreements in your household, and would a phone-free zone in a family restaurant appeal to you? Come and join the debate on our Facebook page or leave us a comment below.