These Aussie Restaurants Are 'Banning' Phones On Mother's Day
A number of eateries across Australia want diners to not only celebrate their mums, but to do so without the distraction of gadgets.
Close to 50 restaurants have joined reservation website OpenTable's #DiningMode challenge, which encourages patrons to take part in a "digital dining detox".
The 'detox' involves willing customers putting their phones down at the dinner table to focus their energy on their mothers, with incentives provided in return.
The dining reservation app has also given participating eateries coasters that feature "conversation starters", one restaurant owner told 10 daily.
"There are great questions for mums like, 'What would be your dream job if money didn't matter?' and 'What's a day you wish you could re-live?'" said Vesna Linzer, who co-owns Surfers Paradise eatery Brooklyn Depot.
"Sometimes we don't know these kind of things about our parents because they often don't speak about them or we're too busy to ask," she said.
Participating restaurants are offering special items for those going phone-free, ranging from complimentary beverages to exclusive Mother's Day meals.
With two teenage daughters, Linzer said getting her restaurant involved in the promotion was a no-brainer.
"My children are starting to recognise the point when their phones are taking over their lives, but marking out a specific time for conversation is important."
OpenTable's Senior Restaurant Relations Manager, Tim Domelow, said dining trends have "evolved" due to people's extensive use of digital devices.
"#DiningMode is being launched for Mother's Day however it reminds us all -- in an increasingly connected world -- to be present in the moment when spending time at the dining table with our loved ones," Domelow told 10 daily.
Roughly 90 percent of Australians own a smartphone, according to Deloitte's latest Mobile Consumer Survey.
The research found 39 percent of Aussie smartphone users think they use their phones too much, with 26 percent of those respondents usually successful in limiting their use and 34 percent trying but not succeeding.
Linzer said she "won't judge" diners at her restaurant who've committed to going phone-free whipping them out to take photos or even make calls.
"You'd be surprised how even over a meal, people are still on their mobile phones, ignoring the other person. But we'd never enforce this as a rule.
"When I welcome customers that day, I'll simply mention the conversation starters and encourage them to use them."
If you're up for the challenge, participating restaurants can be found on OpenTable's website.
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