Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Wait, Restaurants Are Supposed to Charge Your Phones Now?

Posted By on Tue, May 6, 2014 at 1:00 PM

click to enlarge Image courtesy of Shutterstock
  • Image courtesy of Shutterstock

I've been there, losing track of how much I've been using my phone and finding that I'm under 5%, and God forbid that I'm without access to the outside world until I can get back to a power outlet. I think everyone with an energy-draining phone has been there. However, what are you supposed to do?

Apparently, people ask restaurants to charge their phones for them? This is actually a thing? Perhaps this trend hasn't made it to Tucson yet, but Eater wrote about a Facebook post from their Chef of the Year, Brendan McGill, of Hitchcock on Bainbridge Island, Washington, where he discusses the perils of trying to please power-hungry customers:

People waving their dead iPhones at bartenders is becoming epidemic. A service you might provide to a friend or regular has become an expectation - busy service staff who already have plenty to worry about are also expected to juggle a full bar's dead phones. Folks seem to be taking less responsibility for their personal devices and their respective batteries.

Should we pull a David Meinert and make some groundbreaking policy, say, a $5 menu charge for using our well-stocked electrical charging station? Or do a Canlis and bring guests a charging pack on a platter, with only one to hand out at a time? Alternately, simply decline to charge people's phones.

The strive to provide excellent service raises the conundrum: if your server is messing around with your phone, they're not attending to your more dining-related needs, nor those in the rest of their section. The classiest joints seem to be aiming to take the tech out of dining: no photos, no cell phone talking in the dining room.

So, what do we think?

Some places are probably more apt to provide such a service than others (casual bar with an extra outlet in a public area?), but is this really what we expect now from sit-down restaurants? Like McGill mentions, shouldn't we take some responsibility for ourselves and our battery needs?

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