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Keeping conversation alive, by James Harris

Phone at table, no conversation

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How is the restaurant industry incentivising conversation?

According to Ofcom, Brits check their phones every 12 minutes and spend more than a day per week online. The report also highlights that the likes of WhatsApp, Snapchat and Skype mean that we’re spending less time talking on the phone.

The report coincides with news from Facebook and Instagram that they’re releasing tools which will limit the amount of time users will spend on their apps. Meanwhile France has gone a step further by banning smartphones and tablets for under 15-year-olds in schools across the nation come September.

So, are we really killing the art of conversation and who’s to gain? Well, despite a third of us apparently feeling stressed without a phone by our side, some savvy brands are riding the media wave perfectly.

Contact Bar and Kitchen in Sydney is now rewarding well-behaved customers that forego their phones with wine, and Drinks Business reports that similar projects in the US and Israel have seen diners offered 50% of a meal.

Will these measures keep conversation alive and will others follow suit? It won’t be long before we find out.


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