A restaurant is offering the most interesting free meal promotion around — but there’s a catch. One UK restaurant will treat your kids to a free meal if your family can stay off of your cell phones during your restaurant visit. With cell phone usage what it is these days, that might be a tall order, but it’s definitely a great incentive for keeping your dinner device free.
The free meal promotion actually encourages families to talk to one another during their dinner, rather than staring at a screen.
The restaurant, Frankie & Benny’s, offered free children’s meals if everyone in the party put their cell phone in a box. That means you can’t take selfies or post on social media, take phone calls or text anyone during your time in the restaurant.
According to the Lancashire Evening Post, Frankie & Benny’s has no-phone zones at its 250 restaurants in the UK. They decided to run the promotion after polling kids, finding that more than 7 of 10 children wished their parents would spend less time on their phones. Additionally, 10 percent of those polled said they have hidden a parent’s mobile device so they could get their attention, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
Frankie & Benny’s is the first UK chain to try this marketing campaign, though other American restaurants have tried banning cell phone use as well.
Some diners aren’t so keen on the idea, even if it is for a free kid’s meal. Twitter user Felicity Hannah, a freelance journalist, didn’t pull any punches when she tweeted: “Twitter, I wish to rant about Frankie and Benny’s and their breathless new press release about how they are the first UK restaurant to ban mobile phones at family meals… ‘In a bid to get the nation to embrace and celebrate family time, customers heading to Frankie & Benny’s in December will be asked to hand their devices over at family meal times.’”
Indeed, she had a lengthy rant in response to the restaurant’s promotion, noting: “First of all, go to hell. 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.”
She didn’t stop there, either, adding: “Secondly, how dare you make assumptions about why people are on their phones? I frequently take my boys after school, still in the working day. I am expected to reply to work-related emails then. I am not dicking about on Facebook* *there may be some dicking about on Twitter.”
From there, she attacked the restaurant for its unhealthy offerings, sharing: “Thirdly, am I really going to take family advice from a company that offers my children a strawberry milkshake that comes with a bloody doughnut actually wedged into the top with squirty cream? Pioneers of what is best for my children you are not.”
She concluded by noting: “Fourthly (and finally unless I think of anything else), people need to stop policing parents. And doing so as a marketing gimmick when you are a family restaurant is just the pits. And your veggie burger is only okay.”
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