According to research from restaurant booking site OpenTable, over eight in 10 (83%) of Brits would welcome a ‘no phone zone’ while 90% said they find it rude to use phones at the table. However, a third of people would ask for a restaurant’s Wi-Fi code before evening ordering a meal, while two in five people said that they wouldn’t go to a restaurant if it did not have Wi-Fi available.
Despite this, however, Brits were found to spend an average of seven minutes on their phones when eating out, with 66% using their phone at the table, and over two in five (41%) posting images of their food on to social media channels. However, just 1 in ten diners admitted that they post meals on social media to ‘give the impression that they lead an indulgent lifestyle’.
Women were more likely to admit to using their phones at the table, with 71% admitting to it compared to just 60% of men.
And yet, while 25% of restaurateurs said that their guests habitually interrupt a meal to take photos, eight in 10 (83%) said they still encourage guests to post updates about their food and site online.
Grace Dent, restaurant critic and broadcaster, said: “I am definitely guilty of using social media at a restaurant dining table and I don’t see a problem with sharing the odd snap of your meal here and there. However, it’s fair to say the trend for ‘food porn’ is impacting on the pleasure of the dining experience. As a result we’re all guilty of forgetting basic social manners.”
Adrian Valeriano, vice president, Europe, OpenTable, added: “It isn’t surprising to see that diners are using their mobiles at the dinner table more than ever….[but] you would be hard-pushed to find an establishment that had a problem with it. However, if diners are serious about wanting no-phone zones, it will be fascinating to see whether restaurants adopt it.”
OpenTable – which has over 36,000 restaurants across eight countries on its booking pages ‒ surveyed 2,000 UK residents in January this year, and also conducted a poll to 250 restaurateurs specifically in March.