Sheffield diner’s mobile phone ban sparks debate 

A Sheffield restaurant's policy to ask diners to stop using their phones while eating has set tongues wagging.

Frankie and Benny’s has announced it will ask customers to refrain from using their phones while eating dinner at all of its 250 sites, including at Valley Centertainment, Meadowhall and Crystal Peaks in a bid to get customers talking. 

Valley Centertainment. Picture: Google

Valley Centertainment. Picture: Google

The restaurant chain said it wants diners to focus on enjoying quality time with their friends and family while eating their food.  

Anyone caught using their phones between November 29 and December 7 will miss out on a special offer.

Any customers that put their phone into a lockable box will be rewarded with a ‘kids eat free’ bonus. Diners are not forced to take part if they do not want to.

The unusual move has sparked debate among Star readers with many taking to Facebook to voice their support for the restaurant chain.

Loraine Ellis said: “More should do it. There is no need to be using your phone if out with family or friends, you may as well just stay home and phone them.”

Sandra Allen added: “If you are in company why would you have your phone out? Shouldn't you be talking to one another.”

Jayne Bamford posted: “Good because I don’t let anybody pull there phone out at the dinner table.”

Kelly Harpham said: “Great idea. I’m all for this kind of thing.”

But Rachel Elston disagreed and said: “If I need to use my phone while eating then so be it I'll use it. I pay my bill, no-one else.”

In a statement, Frankie and Benny’s said: "We looked at various ways we could encourage people to engage more at the dinner table, and we've found giving families the chance to part with their devices for a mere couple of hours is a great way to bring them closer and embrace family time."

The decision comes after a study founds 72 per cent of kids wish their parents would spend less time on their phones and more time talking to them.