Frankie & Benny's in Kent issues phone ban in return for kids eat free deal

by Lauren Abbott

A restaurant chain is banning mobile phones at its tables in a bid to get diners to 'embrace family time'.

Frankie & Benny's, which has eateries across the county including in Medway, Maidstone and at Westwood Cross in Margate, is requesting that visitors hand over their devices when they sit down to eat.

The move is in a response to a survey conducted by the company which revealed that 72% of children said they wished parents would spend less time on their phones and more time talking to them.

Parents will be asked to put their phones in boxes at the table
Parents will be asked to put their phones in boxes at the table

Designated 'NO PHONE ZONE' boxes are being placed at restaurant tables from now until Friday, December 7 and Frankie & Benny's says it is offering families an incentive if they take part.

Those willing to put their mobiles into the boxes for the duration of their visit will be able to take advantage of a 'kids eat free' deal.

Waiting staff will also be handing out games and colouring kits to give families some activities to enjoy together.

More than 1,500 parents and children nationwide were spoken to for the restaurant's survey with 56% of youngsters saying they didn't think their parents really listened to them.

A spokesperson for Frankie and Benny’s, said: “We want family to come first when you step into a Frankie & Benny's restaurant - and even more so around Christmas.

“We looked at various ways we could encourage people to engage more at the dinner table, and we've found giving families the chance to part with their devices for a mere couple of hours is a great way to bring them closer and embrace family time.

“Especially with the added incentive of the 'kids eat for free' offer at such an expensive time of the year.”

Frankie & Benny's is asking diners to hand over devices when they come in
Frankie & Benny's is asking diners to hand over devices when they come in

Parenting expert Susan Atkins, said she is delighted to see a restaurant chain encouraging a screen ban at the dinner table.

“We live in a busy, fast paced 24/7 digitally connected world, unless we consciously plan not to be. I love the idea of families sitting together, eating and chatting together away from their screens and not just nagging each other.

"Children spell love time and by putting away screens parents are sending the message that their children are important to them and that can only be good for family time."

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