Restaurant chain Frankie & Benny’s is banning mobile phones from the dinner table in a bid to get families talking again.
The week-long experiment in all of its 250 outlets follows a study that shows seven out of 10 children wished their parents spent less time on their phones and talked to them more.
Mums and dads appear split over the move, with many backing the company while others insist they will not be giving up their devices.
Anyone who does agree to hand over their mobile will have it placed in a box for the duration of their meal and their children will eat for free.
The No Phone Zone scheme is optional but Frankie & Benny’s, which is the country’s first restaurant to launch the project, hopes its diners will enter into the spirit and embrace traditional family dinnertime again.
The campaign has received a mixed reaction. One person in agreement tweeted: “A great idea. I’m guilty of being on my phone when I should be enjoying others on a higher level. Way to go Frankie and Benny’s.”
Another said it was a “smart move”, while a third added: “I for one think this is a fantastic idea, too many kids buried into their tablets at dinner these days.”
Their sentiments were echoed by someone else who wrote: “This is an absolutely fantastic idea! Everyone should celebrate family time, not have their head stuck in a virtual world playing candy crush at the dinner table!”
I love how Frankie and Benny’s are trying to promote family time by banning mobile phones at the table but…what if you want to pay via the app ? #FrankieAndBennys
— PandaDorkAmy (@Panda_Dork_Amy) November 29, 2018
A great idea. I’m guilty of being on my phone when I should be enjoying others on a higher level. Way to go Frankie and Benny’s.
— Rosaria Vento (@rosaria_vento) November 29, 2018
Smart move: A British restaurant chain (Frankie and Benny‘s) asking diners to handover their phones to celebrate family time pic.twitter.com/usgxwAzETF
— Jimmy (@A_Rizvi110) November 29, 2018
Restaurant chain Frankie & Benny’s are offering free kids meals for families who give up their phones before dining, encouraging them to spend family time together, I for one think this is a fantastic idea, too many kids buried into their tablets at dinner these days #smmcit https://t.co/Xkhh3kPNry
— Jack Kiely (@JackKiely14) November 29, 2018
But not everyone is happy. One disgruntled customer wrote on Twitter: “Frankie and Benny’s banning mobile phones, absolutely not a good idea. It’s our choice if we want to use mobile phones or not.”
A second said: “Frankie and benny’s are not getting their hands on my phone.”
And a third posted: “Another reason not to visit then. All for table manners but seriously, how dare you?”
Frankie and benny’s are not getting their hands on my phone #frankieandbennys
— Shaun (@SonicGroove69) November 29, 2018
Frankie and Benny’s banning mobile phones, absolutely not a good idea. It’s our choice if we want to use mobile phones or not.
— (@anmollofficial_) November 28, 2018
Frankie and benny’s banning mobile phones for “family time” is ridiculous from a restaurant that recently introduced paying from your phone at the table, via the app, in a way to speed up your exit.
— Emma (@Emmapaige13) November 29, 2018
A poll found that about one in 12 children have tried to hide their parent’s handset in a bid to get more attention from them.
Fifteen per cent of kids said they believed their mum or dad preferred to be on their phone than talk to them.
The No Phone Zone starts in restaurants today and runs until December 7.
Should families give up their devices at mealtime? Leave us a comment on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix and let us know what you think!