Can you resist the urge to use your phone? That's the challenge Gerry Sarmiento, owner of Mezzanotte Ristorante and Piqueo in Cypress, posed to diners in this e-newsletter Monday. To sweeten the deal, Sarmiento offered those who took him up on his challenge, 20% off their bill for the evening. The catch? The entire table had to participate.
Houston news station KPRC caught wind of the promotion, asking Sarmiento his reasoning behind the discount:
We see quite a few families who come in and they don’t talk to each other. The kids are texting, everyone is checking Facebook...We figure this Christmas time, why don’t we give some kind of incentive to see if people can have some family time, some real quality time
The Cypress restauranteur is offering the discount again today. Whether Sarmiento will extend the promotion throughout the holidays is up in the air. Updating Facebook statuses, taking pictures of one's meal for Instagram and Twitter is apart of today's culture for better or worse. Some restaurants have tried to restrict diners from using their phones, while others completely embrace the concept to their advantage as free advertising. For Sarmiento, the policy is working both ways for him: free publicity for no phone usage and offering old-fashioned quality time for customers.