Walk into just about any restaurant — it doesn’t matter the price or quality of food — and you’ll see many diners constantly fidgeting with their phones, if not ignoring their table mates altogether while they tap away on their screens. McDonald’s may be the last place on Earth you’d expect to care about this decrease in human interaction, but some Golden Arches franchises are trying to get customers talking to each other again.
McDonald’s Singapore recently launched a “Phone Off. Fun On” campaign that allows customers to stash their phones in a locker while they eat.
Customers visiting the restaurant can place their device in one of 100 lockable drawers in the large transparent cabinet.
McDonald’s promoted the new locker in several Facebook videos over the last several weeks, showing a bunch of kids taking their parents’ phones and locking them in the cabinet.
One parent notes that it’s a “good idea,” allowing people to have “family playtime.”
“Give your mobile a time-out this weekend with a family playdate at McDonald’s,” the company said in another post. “There’s no better way to enjoy a few hours of fun with the ones you love most.”
Linda Ming, director of McDonald’s Singapore brand communications and cusomter care, tells CNN the initiative is part of the company’s efforts to “advocate family togetherness and encourage families to spend quality time together.”
The program follows a survey conducted by McDonald’s in Singapore that found 98% of adults use their mobile phones when with family, including some during meals.
The fast food giant says it will gather feedback on the Singapore test before deciding if the program should expand to other areas.