Restaurant: Turn Off Your Phone, Get Big Discount

Dennis Faas's picture

One restaurant owner is so desperate to rid his fine dining establishment of annoying smartphones that he's established a new rule: if everyone at a table turns off their mobile device, all pay half price for their meals.

The incentive is the work of Jawdat Ibrahim, a restaurateur based just outside Jerusalem in Israel.

Ibrahim says he got really tired of watching couples enter Abu Ghosh, his fine dining restaurant, and spend the entire meal texting or talking to others. In some cases, Ibrahim says people were so distracted by their phones that they had to ask his staff to re-heat their meals.

In essence, he was tired of watching smartphones kill the romance.

Restaurants Cracking Down on "Gastro ADD"

Ibrahim says he's not a luddite, but insists there's a time and a place for using Facebook, Instagram, or the many other apps available via smartphone.

"Technology is very good," Ibrahim says. "But just when you eat, just especially when you are with your family and your friends, you can just wait for half an hour and enjoy the food and enjoy the company." (Source:

This isn't the first time a frustrated restaurant owner has offered a bonus to customers who ditched the smartphone at dinner time. Los Angeles-based restaurant Eva recently offered customers five per cent off for leaving their mobile devices at the door.

Another LA restaurant, Bucato, actually banned all smartphone use in order to prevent a condition its management team calls "Gastro ADD".

In New York, popular ramen chef David Chang has his staff tear into anyone seen taking pictures of their food. (Source:

But Ibrahim says he thinks positive reinforcement will work better. In fact, he says he tried implementing a smartphone ban, but it was largely ignored by his customers.

Discount a Marketing Masterpiece

So far, the new plan appears to be working. Ibrahim says virtually every person who has visited his restaurant has taken him up on the half-off offer.

Meanwhile, the strategy has been great press for Abu Ghosh. Case in point: this North American website reporting on an Israeli restaurant!

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