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Sydney restaurant restricts mobiles

Contact Bar and Kitchen in Woolloomooloo has taken a stand against people using their mobile phones when they come in for a meal.

It’s telling diners to check their devices at the restaurant door so that they can enjoy their conversations uninterrupted.

It’s one of the first restaurants in Australia to ask customers to hand over their device before sitting down to dinner.

The diner isn’t actually banning phones. What it’s doing instead is getting guests to talk to each other rather than post to social media and ­respond to emails.

“They think about it twice and feel a little bit naked in the first minutes but they get used to it really quickly,” restaurateur Markus­ Stauder told the Daily Telegraph.

Contact Bar and Kitchen head chef Marco Giuliani said it means that diners are actually enjoying their food when their phone is not on hand.

“They’re talking about and discussing what they are actually having,” Giuliani told the Daily Telegraph.

Other Sydney restaurants are taking a similar approach.

For example, Chapter Five Espresso in Redfern has had a no wi-fi policy for the last three years.

And at Jasmine Greens cafe at Umina, there is a sign declaring it has no wi-fi to encourage conversation.

Restaurants around the world are taking even more radical steps.

Petit Jardin in the south of France has banned phones completely. Waiters there blow a whistle and showing diners a yellow card for the first infringement. When the they get a a red card, the diner is asked to leave.

Other venues across the globe run Mobile Free Monday, or Reconnect Tuesday. Some are offering diners discounts of up to 25 per cent if they leave their phones in a box.

Social researcher Mark McCrindle says it’s a good initiative for restaurants.

“I think it is meeting a real need, we rely on these devices but they control us more than we control them,” McCrindle told the Daily Telegraph.

“Spending time in a restaurant is about that social­ connection but screens get in the way.”


10th July 2018