Cafe Offers Discount To Families Who Can Go A Whole Meal Without Using Their Phones

by Megan Zander
Image via Facebook/Sarah's Corner Cafe

Cafe offers families a 10% discount for not using their phones while dining

Most of us are guilty of spending way too much time on our phones, even when we really should be focused on what’s going in right in front of us. Sarah’s Corner Cafe in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania knows this, so they’re offering families an incentive to put down the phones and focus on each other while dining out. The cafe offers a 10% discount to families of four or more that can go the entire time they’re there without looking at their phones.

Cafe owner Barry Lynch started the policy on February 20th, and tells ABC News it’s been hugely popular with his customers. “A lot of people are starting to do it and it’s taken on a life of its own,” he said. “I get huge feedback. Massive feedback.”

Because Lynch knows that it’s not easy to keep young kids entertained while they wait for school or to get tweens and teens to open up about their day, the cafe offers ways for families to connect while they wait for their food to come. Once you alert your server that your table is taking on the no phones challenge, they bring games to the table designed to foster communication. “They let the server know 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,” Lynch explains.

The idea for a “family recharging time” discount came to Lynch after seeing so many of his customers more connected to their devices than to each other, even though they viewed going out to eat as “quality time.” “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,’” he said. “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.’”

It’s easy to underestimate how much we use our phones. It’s not just checking email and Facebook. So many of us use it while eating out to take selfies or post a photo of our amazing looking meal on Instagram. I’m certainly guilty of letting my kids play a game or watch a cartoon while they wait for their food to arrive (or even during the meal if I’m being honest). Trying to earn this discount is a good reminder that we’re spending good money to eat out with people we love, and they deserve to be the focus of our attention while we’re there.While the sign claims that you must be eating in a family of four or larger to qualify for the discount, Sarah’s Corner Cafe clarified on Facebook that they will honor the discount for families of all sizes. This ensures families with only one child or a single parent with one or two children aren’t excluded from the 10% discount.Lynch is ecstatic over the positive reaction the sign and policy are getting, and hopes it continues to encourage families to pay attention to each other over their phones. “I just thought it was such a shame not to have more time together just to talk,” he said. “Look at my eyes. I’m here with you. How was your day?”