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Wine, dine and Instagram me

by George Menexis March 19, 2013
Wine, dine and Instagram me

(Graphic by Jennifer Kwan)

It seems the true meaning of date night has changed in recent years. A night out used to be a means of escape for most people, where one’s company can be enjoyed over a bottle of a restaurant’s finest wine with no distractions. These days it seems like people go from one distraction to another, browsing their smartphones, failing to remember the wonderful, conversation-filled evening they were supposed to be having.

Most are keen on tweeting how their night is going rather than enjoying it; Instagramming their foods and posting their location on Facebook with an endless list of social media responsibilities. This, according to a study done by the University of Essex in England, is directly linked to a decrease in interpersonal connections. In the study, couples who conversed with a phone close by reported lower relationship quality.

Countless examples of technology taking over our social lives have been studied, argued and discussed as companies find different ways to attach us to their products and this is a serious problem. Restaurant owner and chef Mark Gold, who currently owns Eva restaurant in Los Angeles, has come up with an innovative technique to help all who dine at his restaurant avoid that “lower relationship quality” reported by the study.

His idea is simple enough: get five per cent off your bill if you leave your cell phone at the door.

“People have tweeted us, emailed us saying ‘Oh my God, thank you for doing something,’” Gold told the Huffington Post in an interview.

Once the news of Gold’s new concept began circulating, the story went viral. Numerous media stations began contacting him and he had an endless stream of emails from other restaurateurs congratulating him on such a great idea and informing him that they, too, would put forth this initiative in their restaurant.

This idea has me curious and excited for what the future can possibly hold for culinary establishments in the city. Montreal restaurant owners don’t seem to think it’s such a bad idea either.

“I think it’s a great idea,” said Elixor restaurant owner George Prontzos. “I can’t tell you how many people are glued to their phones sometimes.”

Some may argue that because we’ve become so dependant on our phones, taking it away from people would actually worsen their dining experience. At least, that’s what Baton Rouge manager Christina Fegitis thinks about the idea.

“I don’t think it would enhance the dining experience in the least,” she said. “Everyone is so dependant on their phones for business and for pleasure, taking it away from them would probably just stress them out.”

Who knows how life works sometimes. Somebody, maybe very close or maybe hundreds of miles away from Eva, will be inspired by chef Gold and his quest to improve the dining experience. This person will then inspire another and that one another and one day, maybe, the future of the restaurant industry will have been changed forever — a dining revolution. Now excuse me while I go Instagram my sandwich.




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