Chick-a-Fill’s “Cell Phone Coop” Challenge Reveals Cool Phone-Free Dining Perks

Mar 02, 2016 06:00 AM EST | By Mark Jason Alcala

Technology has been amazing in bringing convenience and comfort into our modern lives. However, the constant ringing of phones and message alerts can be a distraction at times, that people don't get to enjoy the little things right in front of them - like a good meal and conversation with family and friends. With this in mind, known restaurant chain Chick-fil-A wants its patrons to put down their cell phone and enjoy a tech-free meal for a change.

The family-oriented restaurant chain recently announced it is offering a "Cell Phone Coop" in some 150 stores according to an article by Sarah Whitten on CNBC. This is actually a box for families to leave their mobile devices during the meal and spend quality time with their loved ones. To encourage a tech-free family bonding over meal time, Chick-fil-A even offers a free Chick-fil-A IceDream cone for families that can finish their meal without picking up their phones.

Brad Williams, Suwanne, Georgia Chick-fil-A operator, came up with the idea after noting the Americans spend an average of 4.7 hours per day on their cell phones, probably more than the total number of hours they spend interacting with family members.

Chick-fil-A joins a growing list of restaurants nationwide that encourages cellphone-free dining by offering promo rates. An article by Rob Polansky on WFSB  notes that Lebro's Restaurant in Getzville, NY offered a 10 percent to families that manage to stay cellphone-free during meals. Similarly, Iowa-based Sneaky's Chicken was reported to give a 10 percent discount if diners hand over their phone and talk to each other instead according to Khushbu Shah's article in Eater. Sneaky's owner Dave Ferris implemented the promo after he noticed a decline in conversation among people preoccupied with their phones.

According to Williams, the cellphone-free challenge is well-received. A lot of families who failed the first time came back to give it a second try. Some families even jokingly asked if they could take the boxes with them at home.

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