SINGAPORE – Many people often lament that family members are more interested in their mobile devices than in a conversation with each other at the table.
But a fast-food restaurant chain is asking customers to put their gadgets aside, a move that echoes efforts past elsewhere.
McDonald’s Singapore has launched an initiative to get diners to put their cell phones aside so they can spend more time interacting with each other at the table.
To do so, the fast food company said on Monday (October 16) that it had installed a cell phone locker at its Marine Cove outlet in East Coast Park, so customers could store their devices during meals.
The restaurant’s first “Phone Off, Fun On” initiative aims to promote family ties, said McDonald’s, which also surveyed more than 300 parents on the prevalence of device use. mobile during meals.
“Based on our findings, we believe these new initiatives in our restaurants will inspire families to rediscover quality time together,” said Linda Ming, director of brand communication and customer service at McDonald’s Singapore.
In the September poll, 60% of parents agreed that using mobile devices during family time reduced their interaction with loved ones.
Additionally, 58% of parents said they feel unhappy when another family member uses a mobile device during family time.
Three-quarters, or 75 percent, of parents said they were ready to have better self-discipline by staying away from their mobile devices during time with family.
More than two-thirds, or 69%, of these parents and most children (72%) are used to using their smartphone during meals.
McDonald’s Singapore said it is also experimenting with table service at the Marine Cove branch. Customers can opt for this when placing an order at the self-order kiosk. The trial aims to give parents more time to care for their children, the company said.
Asking diners to put away their mobile devices has been done in the past.
In 2014, four final year students from Nanyang Technological University launched a campaign involving 13 restaurants called Put It On Friend Mode.
Under it, diners would commit online to having a meal without a phone on a given day and receiving a benefit – such as a reduction on the one-for-one food or drink bill – at the restaurant.
The Manhattan Fish Market also had a program called Unbox, which required diners to put their phones in a box. If the box remained closed at the end of the meal, each guest would receive a $ 5 voucher.