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Texting during dinner: Is using a phone in restaurants rude?

October 15, 2012|By Tiffany Hsu
  • A sign at the Hamilton Street Cafe in Albany, N.Y., advises customers about cellphone policy at the restaurant.
A sign at the Hamilton Street Cafe in Albany, N.Y., advises customers about… (Mike Groll / Associated…)

Sick of being served a meal at your favorite restaurant against a backdrop of wailing phones, pulsating texts and gabby fellow diners? So are most other patrons.

On average, 61% of American diners surveyed say it’s inappropriate for restaurant customers to text, email, tweet or talk on their mobile phones while eating out, according to a new report from Zagat.

That’s down slightly from the last two years, when 63% of customers surveyed said phone use was a concern.

Patrons are the least lenient in Connecticut, where 71% deemed such phone use to be a faux pas, according to the survey. Atlanta diners are most accepting -- just 49% said they think it’s in bad taste to use mealtimes for communication.

In Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Miami, 58% said they feel the same, compared with 52% in Chicago and 62% in Chicago.

But the foodie establishment is generally OK with one aspect of mid-meal mobile behavior -- photo-snapping.

Overall, 85% of customers surveyed said they think shooting so-called foodie porn is fine in restaurants. After all, how else is the self-respecting Yelp, Instagram or Facebook user supposed to populate an online profile?

Still, as many restaurants begin to work iPad ordering systems and other technology into their workflow, one restaurant in Los Angeles recently began paying its patrons to check their phones at the door.

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