A restaurant in the US is offering diners a discount if they can make it through their entire meal without looking at their phone. The Pinellas County restaurant has put out baskets on each table for customers to leave their phones in. For those who manage to avoid looking at their gadgets for the entire meal, there's a 10% discount.
The restaurant says that 80% of customers are rising to the challenge, and it's encouraging them to spend more quality time with their family.
It's not the first cafe to try this approach. Back in 2013, the Bedivere Eatery and Tavern in Beirut started offering a 10% discount for diners who agreed to leave their mobile phone at the door.
Other restaurants have been experimenting with a host of unexpected charges to bring out the best in their customers.
Some are sick of people booking a table and then not showing up. They say a typical rate of no-shows is around 5%-20%, and can cause major issues for those restaurants that don't get much of their custom from people walking past. To combat this, a number have introduced no-show fees. Customers have to leave their credit card details when they book, and are charged anything from £30 to £80 per head for no-shows. Others have gone even further, and ask diners to choose their food and pay for it at the time of booking.
All-you-can eat buffets often have an issue with people loading up their plate, and then failing to get through it all. The Taza Indian Buffett in Dundee was sick of throwing away around 94 stone of uneaten food each week, so it started issuing a four-inch square piece of card with menus. Diners are now warned that if their leftovers don't fit within the square, they will face the fine (and no stacking is allowed).
Other restaurants have problems with customers lingering. People & Co restaurant in Gurgaon in India came up with a solution with an unusual pricing structure. It started charging by the minute instead of for the specific dishes eaten. It admitted it only suffers when speedy eaters with big appetites come through the door
Meanwhile, others struggle with rude customers. In 2013, a cafe in Nice started charging rude customers extra. The owner erected a sign saying that customers who rudely demanded "Un café" would be charged €7. Those asking for "Un café s'il vous plait" would pay €4.25, and those who managed to say "Bonjour, un café, s'il vous plait" would be charged just €1.40. The owner said he hadn't had to enforce the extra charge - because the sign had been enough to put people on their best behaviour.