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L.A. restaurant pays customers to put away their phones

August 15, 2012|By Tiffany Hsu
  • Chef Mark Gold prepares a Sunday supper menu at Eva. The restaurant is now offering a 5% discount to customers who check their phones at the door.
Chef Mark Gold prepares a Sunday supper menu at Eva. The restaurant is now… (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles…)

Ever feel like a dinner out at the local restaurant feels more like a trip to Best Buy, with fellow patrons tapping on their smartphones or taking photos of their meal? One restaurant in Los Angeles is now paying customers to check their tech at the door.

Eva Restaurant on Beverly Boulevard is offering diners a 5% discount on their bill if they dump their digital devices before being seated, according to radio station KPCC. Owner and chef Mark Gold says it’s a tactic to keep distracted dining to a minimum.

About half of patrons have taken Gold up on the offer.

"For us, it's really not about people disrupting other guests. Eva is home, and we want to create that environment of home, and we want people to connect again," he told KPCC. "It's about two people sitting together and just connecting, without the distraction of a phone, and we're trying to create an ambiance where you come in and really enjoy the experience and the food and the company."

In recent years, technology has become unavoidable in restaurants. Diners have turned into food paparazzi, hustling to get the perfect snapshot of a well-plated dish. Others seem to tweet every other bite while reviews on Yelp and Chowhound come harsh and often.

Many restaurants, trying to appeal to a younger crowd in a difficult economic environment, have become more forgiving of plugged-in clientele. Some have even incorporated iPads, QR codes and other digital trappings into their service and menus.

ALSO:

Upscale restaurants are dressing down

Dinner is the theater as food paparazzi converge

Some restaurants serve up iPads for customers to place orders

Follow Tiffany Hsu on Twitter and Google+

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