‘PUT YOUR PHONE AWAY!’ And that’s an order. Restaurant chain bans mobiles in a bid to get families talking

A family dining at Frankie and Benny's

A family dining at Frankie and Benny's - Credit: Archant

Frankie and Benny’s is taking drastic measures to stop families from sitting in silence scrolling down their phones at the dinner table - they’re banning them.

Frankie and Benny's restaurants are baning phones

Frankie and Benny's restaurants are baning phones - Credit: Archant

Frankie and Benny’s has become the first family restaurant in the UK to ban devices at the dinner table.

The chain has two restaurants in Ipswich, as well as others in Bury St Edmunds, Haverhill, Colchester and Braintree.

In a bid to get the nation to embrace and celebrate family time, customers heading to Frankie & Benny’s in December will have the opportunity to hand their devices over at meal time.

Devices will be stored in designated ‘no phone zone’ boxes at the dinner table. Plus, there’s an incentive for families to take part. Frankie & Benny’s are offering ‘kids eat for free’ for those willing to put family time before screen time. There will also be activities of offer such as colouring kits to help families reconnect.

According to a survey undertaken by Frankie and Benny’s of 1500 parents and children, 56 percent of British children said they would like to have more conversations with their parents.

And the guilty parents admit that on average they spend a whopping 106 minutes every single day checking their handset.

Most Read

One in ten children (8 percent) even admitted to hiding their parents handset in a desperate bid to get their attention.

According to the results, Norwich was the most addicted city, where on average residents spend 130 minutes a day checking their phone, compared to people in Brighton who only spend 95 minutes on their phones a day.

Parenting expert Susan Atkins, said: “I am delighted to see Frankie & Benny’s are leading the way by banning screens at the table.

“We live in a busy, fast paced 24/7 digitally connected world, unless we consciously plan not to be.

“I love the idea of families sitting together, eating and chatting together away from their screens, and not just nagging each other.

“Children spell love T-I-M-E and by putting away screens parents are sending the message that their children are important to them and that can only be good for family time.

“Parents are role models in everything that they do and in everything that they say, so by managing their own screen time parents are teaching their kids by example about when and where technology use is appropriate.”

A spokesperson for Frankie and Benny’s said: “We want family to come first when you step into a Frankie & Benny’s - and even more so around Christmas.

“We looked at various ways we could encourage people to engage more at the dinner table, and we’ve found giving families the chance to part with their devices for a mere couple of hours is a great way to bring them closer and embrace family time.

“Especially with the added incentive of the ‘kids eat for free’ offer at such an expensive time of the year.”

The campaign runs from 29 to 7 December, and depending on success and customer reaction, Frankie & Benny’s will rolling it out for longer.