The U.K.’s Frankie & Benny’s restaurant chain has become everyone’s grumpy father/Luke from Gilmore Girls. The eatery, which serves American-Italian food, has “banned” phones from the dinner table. By doing so, the chain hopes to help customers “celebrate family time.”
Between November 29th and December 7th, Frankie & Benny’s customers will be asked to place their devices into the “no phone box” placed on their table. If patrons resist the urge to check their phones, their table will receive a free kids’ meal.
It’s important to note that giving up one’s phone is not mandatory.
According to Insider, the chain decided to try out their “no phone box” idea after the restaurant ran a survey and found that 72% of children wish their parents would spend less time on their phones. The same survey found that 70% of kids believe their parents use their phones more than they do.
However, like the angsty teens we all are, this new suppertime rule has not gone over well. Frankie & Benny’s customers have taken to Twitter to whine about the no-phone injustice — even though this is simply a trial run, and again, it’s not mandatory to participate.
“First of all, go to hell,” U.K.-based journalist Felicity Hannah tweeted. “I am not handing over a device that cost £700 new to your staff so I can sit and eat fries that taste of oil that hasn’t been changed in too long.”
Hannah then went on to berate the restaurant chain for assuming that parents are on their phones for unimportant reasons. She then wrote that she would never take advice from a place that serves kids “a strawberry milkshake that comes with a bloody doughnut actually wedged into the top with squirty cream.”
Some echoed Hannah’s outrage.
A desperate marketing gimmick. And what about those family selfies that they gladly "like" and have hitherto promoted?— Chris Shaw (@The_ChrisShaw) November 28, 2018
Mobiles are a fact of life - they should be embracing them, not banning them in a cheap promotional shot...
So Frankie & Benny's want to ban mobile phones from their restaurants but yet they encourage you to order and/or pay on their app 🤔🤔🤔🤔 why have an app if you're going to ban phones??? #gmb— Chan (@vamplacey) November 29, 2018
Well said! I am sick of hearing about technology being bad!— Not sure yet (@susanwclayton1) November 29, 2018
When my son was in the service I had my phone by my side incase he got the chance to call for a second or two. I also have elderly parents that may need me at a moments notice.
But others reminded Hannah, if you don’t like the rule, don’t eat there.
Omg lol, how can one be so fired up about this. Noone is forcing you to eat there.— 🌷 (@eeeegn) November 29, 2018
No one is forcing you to take the free meal. So not policing.— 🇺🇸i love tweeting (@idiliguntarguta) November 29, 2018
such a visceral reaction to a free plate of chicken tenders pic.twitter.com/fMglQfD4O4
Frankie & Benny’s told Insider that they would keep the promotion going if customers responded well. But after seeing how upset some patrons have become, we wouldn’t be surprised if the “no phone box” is simply a flash in the pan.