If you’re the kind of person who hates it when the squad’s all on their phones at dinner, we’ve found a restaurant just for you. This French restaurant ejects customers from their establishment just for using their device.
Petit Jardin, a restaurant in the southern French village of Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert, has banned customers from using their phones while at the table. To enforce the rule, they’ve developed a soccer penalty-like system that their waiters use to warn, then kick rule breakers out. On a first offense, you’ll get whistled at and a server will hold up a yellow card to you. Usually, that’s enough to dissuade people from checking their phones. If, however, they are caught again, they receive a red card and are asked to leave the restaurant.
When that happens, owner Hean-Noël Fluery isn’t worried about losing those customers. “I don’t mind, I’d rather people like that eat in another restaurant – there are three in the village,” he told The Local.
Recently, a survey revealed that 80% of French people use their phones during dinner, according to the Local. However, Fluery argues that his methods herald the French tradition of talking with each other. His rules get people to talk to each other instead, and the whistling even encourages dialogue between tables and across the restaurant. Fluery wants that conversation level to extend to other restaurants as well.
“People accept having to turn their phones off when they go to the cinema or the theatre so why not restaurants?”
Apart from the phone ban, Fleury also doesn’t allow Coca-Cola, ketchup, or mayonnaise in his restaurant, citing a preference for local products as his reason.
Some people have welcomed the new changes, especially families who can bring their kids there to force them to stay off their phones. Some younger customers, however, have left unpleasant comments as a result of how they were treated for checking their social media feeds while at dinner.
Fleury’s rules are a reminder that sometimes, it’s good to put the phone down and spend some time with the company you have. You can always check how many Instagram likes are on your fried chicken photos later.