Phones out: this restaurant in Japan has banned the use of smartphones

This restaurant has a clear premise: eat fast and leave. And this equation does not include the use of smartphones.

Click here to read the Spanish version.
It is becoming increasingly common for cell phones to play an important role in restaurants. Whether to photograph or record the food, to network between courses, or even to consult the dishes on the menu through the QR, these devices can be a real distraction from what you really go to a restaurant: to enjoy the food. Following this premise, a restaurant in Japan has decided to ban the use of cell phones to prevent meals from taking longer than they should.

Kota Kai, owner of a Tokyo restaurant called Debu-chan (which means ‘chubby’ in Japanese) noticed that when people came to his place, they were eating longer because they were distracted by their smartphones. So he decided to time each service to see how long it took customers to start eating (since before they took the first bite, they were engaged with the device).

Seeing that during peak hours, people were crowding into his restaurant, and they weren’t really eating all the time, he decided to ban cell phone use. As Kota told CNN, “one time, when we were very busy, we saw a customer who didn’t start eating until after four minutes,” because he was watching videos on his cell phone while his food was getting cold.

Although those four minutes may seem somewhat exaggerated, apparently, according to Kai himself, when it comes to ramen, you have to eat it fast, because the noodles he uses are thin, only a millimeter wide, and they stretch and spoil very quickly. In addition, he also emphasizes the fact that his restaurant has a capacity for 33 people (apparently large for the area where it is located) and, although there is usually a queue, the owner places great emphasis on the customer bringing a meal on time.

At the moment, few premises in Spain have implemented this ban, but in some Asian countries it is somewhat more common. In fact, in Singapore in 2017, McDonald’s launched a campaign with the slogan ‘Phone off, fun on’.

And you, are you one of those who are always checking your cell phone during meals, or do you put it face down and don’t look at it until you leave the restaurant?