Should Restaurants Ban Cell Phones?
MONROE, N.C. - Duke's Grill in Monroe may be small, but their no cell phone policy is a big deal. Signs warning customers about the ban appear one, two, three...ten times!
"I don't want to listen to your conversation," says owner Dennis Parker. He says the ban is about respect for fellow diners and service. "You want good service, I wanna give you good service. If you can't communicate with the waitresses, then it's not gonna happen."
The ban not only helps the waitresses, it applies to them. "We keep 'em in our pocketbook, but we don't check 'em or nothing," says waitress Brittany Huey. Her co-worker Raven Guest says, "It (the phone) just distracts everyone."
The owner of Duke's puts his money where his mouth is when it comes to the no cell phone policy. He's asked customers to leave if they won't stop using their phones. "And I'll take their food and I'll throw it away," he says.
Some customers think more restaurants should ban cell phones. Monroe resident Kent Porter says, "It's a great break just to get away from cell phones." For others, it's about priorities. Monroe resident Kelly Poindexter says, "I enjoy coming in here and that overrides being able to use my phone."
Parker says the decision to ban cell phones wasn't made without careful consideration. "(It was a) tough decision because it can impact your bottom line." But the bottom line for him is respect over convenience. He says, "I have a policy. It's no good unless you enforce it."
Duke's banned cell phones 15 years ago. A recent poll of more than 2,900 people showed 48% think restaurants should ban cell phones. 46% said no, but restaurants should intervene if a customer is talking too loudly. And 5% said, no, "it's a free country and I'll talk on my phone if I want to."
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