— -- What would it take to get you to put down your phone during a meal?
Sarah’s Corner Café in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, is offering a deal for people who want to enjoy a meal, and each other, unplugged.
They’ve set up so-called “family recharging stations” at tables where you drop your phone into a basket.
“They let the server know and the server will bring over a basket with old fashioned Hangman and Tic Tac Toe and pencils because those games are interactive instead of coloring, which is solitary,” owner Barry Lynch told ABC News of how the restaurant's phone-free meals discount works.
If families make it through the meal without looking at their phones, they’re rewarded 10 percent off their bill.
“A lot of people are starting to do it and it’s taken on a life of its own,” said Lynch. “I get huge feedback. Massive feedback.”
The idea for the “family recharging time” came to Lynch after observing many of his customers.
“There’s one particular family I knew used to come in on Sunday for breakfast after church. I knew the dad and the mom and two kids and we’d always say ‘hi,’” he recalled. “Every time I went over, one or two of the kids and sometimes the parents would be on the phone. I also knew the dad would commute to New York for work every day, which takes a lot of time. I asked him about that and he said, ‘Yeah, I still do it. It’s so nice to be together and these breakfasts are rare.’ And when he said that, I thought, ‘Oh wow. Something is going on here. I need to do something.’”
Lynch is thrilled by the positive response his phone-free meals have gotten and hopes they continue to enrich his customers’ family time.
“I just thought it was such a shame not to have more time together just to talk,” he said. “Look at my eyes. I’m here with you. How was your day?”