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Are cell phones slowing restaurant service?

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In the October issue, editor Michael Sanson discussed an anonymous Craiglist post concerning rude customers on cell phones who greatly interrupt and slow restaurant service. He asked readers how they deal with cell phone use in the restaurant. Here are excerpts from some of those who wrote.  

There is only one reason people take pictures and that is to preserve the moment. A chef should be honored that someone feels the dish he created is worthy of sharing through photography. A manager should also be happy that people are having such a good time that they would  want to take pictures and keep the memories of their visit. If service is slowed for a few minutes, then so be it. And finally, servers should embrace this practice even if it does cause slower turn around because happy people tip more.

Bill Quigley
General Manager
Ponderosa Steakhouse
Dearborn Heights, MI

It’s mandatory that Cafe di Scala’s front of the house staff keep their phones tucked away during business hours. As for customers, we’ve placed a sign near the front host stand that outlines a few of our house rules. At the very top, we politely ask our guests to refrain from using their phones along with a few other requests such as “no sunglasses, no ranch and no ketchup.” We’re a tiny-refined Italian eatery situated within an 1880 Victorian house that strives to deliver a superb, memorable and uninterrupted dining experience.

Anthony Lemmo
Cafe di Scala
Des Moines

I was very happy to read your article from the September issue regarding your experiences in Chicago pertaining to superior service levels. I stress these same issues at our staff meetings every month. I plan to copy it and disburse it to our 300 employees.

I’m a complete service snob and unfortunately many restaurants omit the basic fundamentals of cleanliness and personality. It drives me crazy, but I’m glad to read from you there seems to be an upswing with the thought process. Finally, people are realizing that the front-of-the-house has to succeed along with the back of the house and its famous chef.

Matt Frey
Bub’s Burgers and Ice Cream
Bub’s Cafe
Bub’s Catering
Lucy’s Bakery
Carmel, IN

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