Is anyone else annoyed by the rampant use of cell phones in restaurants? We’re not really annoyed when people at other tables use their cell phones – who cares if they’re chatting away, checking their emails or updating their Facebook status in the middle of the main course – it’s when the offender is sitting at our table that we get a little flustered. Never mind the fact that we’re sometimes the offender at our own table.
The rude dining habit even spawned a trend called “phone stacking,” in which each diner at a table stacks their cell phones face down on top of each other. The first person to reach for his or her phone during the meal has to pay the entire dining bill.
Now, a California restaurant is trying to curb cell phone use by offering customers a five percent discount on their bill if they voluntarily surrender their cell phones to their server. “A little less than half” of the restaurants’ diners accept the offer, but the real winner here is the restaurant. They’ve received more media coverage and attention for this marketing ploy than they could have ever imagined.
MARKETING LESSON: With a little creativity (or, in this case, a simple offer) you can turn consumer bad habits into a great marketing tactic.