Do you find it annoying when people snap pictures of everything they eat and post them instantly for the world to see?
Or what about those who text and tweet in the middle of a meal?
In a recent article, Fox News declared that the “digital divide is wider than ever ever between diners who talk, tweet and snap pictures mid-meal and those who wish they’d just shut up, shut down and be present.”
Restaurant owners seem to be caught in the middle of this digital divide.
Caught at the center of the discord are restaurant owners and chefs, who must walk the careful line of good customer service for both those who dine under the influence of smart phones, and those who won’t. But as the devices have morphed into an unrelenting appendage for texting, photography and games, more restaurateurs are challenged to keep the peace.
Owners who once relied mostly on “no cell phones, please” signs, increasingly are experimenting with everything from penalties for using phones, discounts for not and outright bans on photography.
However, not all restaurant owners mind the attention.
Some restaurateurs go with the digital flow. Sarabeth Levine, of New York City-based Sarabeth’s, said she’s perfectly fine with people chatting, playing games or even taking pictures. It’s free advertising, after all.
“I’m happy to have our customers,” Levine said. “They come, they tweet, they Facebook, they bring their children. It’s high energy to begin with. I mean, people are noisy even in the way they speak today.”
Some might say that trying to curb cell phone use might be fighting a losing battle as “already, about one in five U.S. adults say they share online when eating a meal with others, and more than a third of teens do the same, according to the 2012 State of Mobile Etiquette Survey for Intel Corp.
However,”a Zagat survey this month found most respondents disapproving of texting, tweeting and emailing when eating out, but a majority accepted picture taking.”
With the advent of new, emerging technologies at our fingertips the seemingly old rules of etiquette do still apply as courtesy never goes out of style.
A few simple mobile and dining etiquette rules like only answering your phone if you really have to, and excusing yourself from the table when you take the call can go a long way.