Price discrimination markets in everything

Parents who give up their phones during dinner will be rewarded with free meals for their kids at one U.K.-based restaurant chain. For the first week of December, Frankie & Benny’s is running its “no-phone zone” campaign in an attempt to improve family interactions at the dinner table.

The promotion was announced following a study that the Italian restaurant chain ran earlier this year, where they studied the dinner table behavior of over 1,500 people. And the results were staggering—almost a quarter of the parents admitted to not only using their phones during mealtime but that they did so while their kids were talking about their day.

Here is the full story, via Tadd Wilson.


An attentive parent generates positive externalities for all people in the restaurant. A child being attended means less crying, screaming, jumping on the tables, property damage......which the rest of people will be very thankful for it.

So, it's nudge to ensure parents keep their little barbarians in check =)

Sort of - the trick that I have seen parents use over the past decade is to plop a 2 or 3 year old in front of a tablet. The idea being that those little barbarians are mesmerized by the screen, and of course, that sort of behavior seems to stick as they become slightly older barbarians.

The smart phone culture is a mystery to me. There's a school bus stop up the street from my house, which I pass by from time to time while the children are waiting for the bus. Without exception, all of them are staring down at their smart phones. There's no conversation among them, and they don't get too close to each other. I have watched them walk to the bus stop, and they don't talk to each other then either. Why is it that this generation is more interested in people far removed than people right in front of them. Much has been written about millennials avoiding intimacy. But it goes well beyond intimacy: it's avoiding actual human contact. It's as though virtual contact via the smart phone is preferable to the real thing. I understand that anxiety is a common condition for many young people. I don't mean the type of anxiety one feels when preparing for an exam, but debilitating anxiety, the kind that prevents them from being in a crowd, or sometimes from even leaving the house. I know young people with that kind of anxiety. It's going to take more than a free meal to fix what's wrong with our culture.

On the other hand, I had a girl who, in the middle of our first sexual encounter, I was inside and loving it, she had her phone ring, it was her other boyfriend, and she did not let me either cuddle with her or sleep the night over afterwards but urged me to go home ASAP, and as I was leaving down the apartment stairs, I met him coming up (we said nothing like two ships passing in the night, though I had met him before as a supposed old friend of hers). Will this relationship last? (It didn't).

Personally I prefer using a smartphone to interact with my close friends rather than interacting with strangers with pointless small talk. However, I already know I can interact with strangers just fine if needed, and know I don't need the practice, which might be needed for some with anxiety. I do think that using a smartphone to check Facebook or talk to other people while already with acquantainces or close friends is excessive and should be discouraged.

Presumably these families, whilst interacting at the table, will notice just how fucking shite Frankie and Benny's food is.

"They're prisons Jerry. Man-made prisons. You're doing time! You can forget going out with your friends, because it's dinner time. And you know what you do at dinner time? You talk about your day! How was your day today? Did you have a good day today or a bad day today? Nah uh haha....."

- Cosmo Kramer

I wonder if getting rid of cell phones increases table turnover, generating more business than they would otherwise, potentially paying for the discount?

Why try to make other people talk to each other? Let'em do whatever as long as they eat at your restaurant and give you that sweet profit.

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