I have a dream restaurant — I think it would be a spectacular hit. Feel free to take this idea and run with it as I don’t have the time nor the energy to start a restaurant — I do have this idea, however. It doesn’t particularly matter what kind of food is served, really. This idea is more about the atmosphere in the restaurant.
Imagine people arriving at this restaurant and waiting to be seated. The mâitre d’ greets the first group of people waiting to be sat and tells them, “Everybody please hand over your phones and tell me your names. He takes everybody’s mobile phone and attaches a small note to the back of each with the name of the owner. The phones are then taken to a separate room, out of sight of the general sitting area.
In the room, a person monitors the phones. When one of the phone rings, he looks at the name and answers, “Jack’s phone, this is Greg at (insert the name of the restaurant here — does it really matter?)” He then determines if the call is important or can wait and if it is sufficiently important, he pages the head waiter to get Jack. Jack excuses himself and comes to the room to have the conversation with the person who has called him.
Absent entirely from this restaurant is the following : people talking on their phone while eating (particularly when that person is in mixed company), people checking their e-mail, and of course — a group of people who in theory have come together to eat lunch but in practice are oblivious to the presence of each other because every single person is staring at their phone and playing a game in which they are crushing candy. Of course, the only thing they are really crushing is valuable time. I write this from the perspective of someone who has wasted far too much time on mind numbing games like this one — but I try to keep it to the subway and not when I am in mixed company.
Would a restaurant like this work? More importantly, would you be interested in dining in a restaurant like this?