More than three quarters of UK diners now find the use of mobile phones in restaurants to be rude and annoying. That’s according to research commissioned by Bookatable, which found that 79% of diners found texting, taking calls and posting photos on social media to be a “ruination” of their dining experience. The survey also found that 46% were too scared to complain, while 12% admitted complaining about fellow diners to the restaurant.
It also found that one-in-four Brits find that the most frustrating thing about restaurant mobile phone use is how it interrupts the flow of conversation at the table. Meanwhile 20% claimed they would visit a restaurant more often if mobile phones were banned altogether, and over a quarter said that Facebook and Instagram posts of friends’ meals were boring. A total of 28% of people surveyed said they regularly updated social media when dining out.
But 40% admitted to feeling inspired by seeing what meals their friends and families were enjoying, with one in five discovering new restaurants and cuisines via social media.
British etiquette expert William Hanson, who has worked with Bookatable to create a Modern Dining Etiquette Guide, said: “Fifty years ago, a group of diners would have bowed their heads and said grace before eating. Today, the new form of grace and food appreciation comes via taking a picture of whatever delicacy is in front of them. If you take a photograph, take one shot quickly and then put the phone away. You can post it on Instagram and have a quandary as to what filter shows off the truffle foam in the taxi home later.” Joe Steele, CEO, Bookatable, added: “Mobile phones are now crucial parts of our social and professional lives so it’s interesting to see a split between diners who are frustrated with the ‘always on’ approach to eating out and those who like to discover new places to eat and enjoy through their social media feeds.”