Q: Would it damage my reputation if I implemented a ‘no mobiles’ policy inside my restaurant? On some nights I have spotted up to 12 people on their phones at any one time and I’ve even received one or two complaints about it. What should I do?
A: This is a tricky one this as personally I think its rude to take or make calls in a restaurant; I see nothing wrong with taking a call out in the hall or car park but I personally object to people inflicting their conversations on others. The problem is that it’s a side effect of the technological revolution and other people don’t feel the same. The complaints you’ve had suggest a ban might be beneficial, but only if the majority agree and it won’t undermine your business.
Before making any quick decisions, I suggest you conduct a survey amongst your customers and see how many object to people using phones; offer a prize draw incentive to encourage response. Ask whether a phone ban would stop punters coming; or potentially would it encourage them?
The survey will tell you the likely impact; if it is worthwhile to ban mobiles, then include a discreet message on the menu that states it is due to popular demand that you have made the restaurant a phone-free zone. Then, publicise the fact locally that you are a mobile free zone, as it may open you up to a new group of customers.
Of course it also comes down to what you think; if you don’t find it offensive or you feel that the people who have complained are just a pain then of course you leave as it is.
This feature first appeared in the February 2014 issue of hotel owner.