On restaurants and smartphones.

Earlier this morning, I came across this article which a friend had re-posted on Facebook, and while funny did actually make me sit up and think. It’s about a restaurant in New York who’s manager wanted to know why their reviews had gone down.

It turns out that the reason is smartphones, or at least the people who use them. Not that people who use smartphones are more prone to complain; they are, but that’s another story, but rather that people waste so much time playing with them, texting, taking sefies, and so on.  People would come in, and then play with phones, they’d open the menu, and then play with phones instead of decide what to eat. When the food arrived, they’d take photos of it, and their friends… and then complain it was cold… and so on.

Now I don’t think that my friends are in this dynamic, but we do use phones a lot in restaurants, and so I thought I’d think of some guidelines for courteous use. I think, to be honest that most of us try, but then again, we don’t complain much either.

When you first arrive, then if you need to wait, then see if you can get a menu to look at. In one of my favourite restaurants that my friends visit regularly, if there is more than a few minutes wait, they give you a pager and often vouchers for money off at their cocktail bar downstairs. Otherwise, when you are seated, wait until you’ve decided what to eat before checking in and taking photos. It makes the waiters’ lives easier, and saves embarrassment if you change your mind and decide to go elsewhere.

Don’t take selfies and group photos while the staff are buzzing round the table. It slows them down and can be annoying for other diners. Wait til they’ve gone.

If you want to photograph your food, fine, but don’t spend 20 minutes uploading it to Facebook on a slow connection and then moan that your food’s gone cold in the meantime… if the connection is slow, then upload it later.

It is NOT (and I can’t emphasise this enough) the job of the waiting staff to help you connect your phone to a wi-fi access point. If they wanted a tech support role, they’d be working in IT, or more likely be an unemployed IT worker like the rest of us…

Anyway, it’s an interesting article, and shows how times change… and how sometimes smartphones are not the universal benefit people think they are. Read it!

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