This Restaurant Will Reward Your Family for Surviving a Phone-Free Meal

phones at the table

You know that expression "There's no such thing as a free lunch"? Well, one restaurant is offering a nice discount ... but there's a catch. Sarah's Corner Cafe in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, is willing to take 10 percent off a family's meal as long as they're dining while free of electronic devices. So, just how much are those gadgets worth to you?


Here's how the deal works, according to what owner Barry Lynch told ABC News: 

"They let the server know [they're putting their phones away] and the server will bring over a basket with old-fashioned Hangman and Tic Tac Toe and pencils because those games are interactive instead of coloring, which is solitary," he explained.

device-free dining discount

It's a sweet concept, as quality family time definitely seems hard to come by these days. Plus, many kids don't get the chance to play those simpler games that their parents enjoyed as kids. 

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Lynch explained to ABC how the idea came to him:
There's one particular family I knew used to come in on Sunday for breakfast after church. I knew the dad and the mom and two kids and we'd always say 'hi.' Every time I went over, one or two of the kids and sometimes the parents would be on the phone. I also knew the dad would commute to New York for work every day, which takes a lot of time. I asked him about that and he said, 'Yeah, I still do it. It's so nice to be together and these breakfasts are rare.' And when he said that, I thought, 'Oh wow. Something is going on here. I need to do something.'
Even with the best intentions of ignoring our phones and focusing on our kids, for many of us, hearing the ping of a text or email elicits a Pavlovian response. We must look now! And, of course, because our children mimic our behavior, the next thing we know, they're pulling out their own devices. 

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You can try to have a "no phones at the table" policy, but for a working parent, it's all too easy to violate that rule and then feel like a hypocrite. And, if we're being completely honest, sometimes these gadgets are absolute sanity-savers -- for parents, as well as for their fellow diners.

If you've got a fussy kid who is on the verge of a tantrum because her mac and cheese isn't coming quickly enough, you know the almost lifesaving benefit of being able to hand over that device and avoid a complete meltdown -- and the side-eye (or worse!) from everyone seated near you. 

So, while this is a lovely idea in theory, I have a feeling it's not going to fly with parents of young kids who are just looking to enjoy their meal in peace. But, if the potential discount is enough of an incentive to put that phone on airplane mode for a few minutes and give your family your undivided attention, it's definitely a good thing. 
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