Would you sacrifice your phone for a free bottle of wine while dining?

These days, it seems like nobody can get through a single meal without glancing at his or her cell phone. Picture: Pexels/Wild Little Things Photo

These days, it seems like nobody can get through a single meal without glancing at his or her cell phone. Picture: Pexels/Wild Little Things Photo

Published Apr 25, 2024


You would be hard-pressed to find anyone who thinks it is polite to use your phone at a dinner table, especially while out at a restaurant with someone else.

Yet, our buzzing, beautiful devices often prove far too tempting, especially if we receive a message or want to snap a picture of our beautiful meal.

However, at one restaurant in Italy, going an entire meal without your device pays off, literally.

Al Condominio, a restaurant in the city of Verona, has gained global attention after offering customers a free bottle of wine. The catch? You must hand your phone over before the meal.

Speaking to “The Guardian”, the owner Angelo Lella said, “Technology is becoming a problem – there is no need to look at your phone every five seconds. This way they have an opportunity to put it aside and drink some good wine.”

Several social media users across the world have reacted to the idea with one of them commending the owner for his efforts. “A true man of class, giving away items that would cost money just for the consumer to enjoy their time there,” he wrote.

Another hilariously joked that he needed an owner like that in the office. “Get this man in office ASAP,” he wrote.

In one reply, one suggested that she does not drink but would happily give up her phone for the complimentary reward.

“I don’t really drink. If they gave me a complimentary blunt, I’d happily give up my phone,” she commented.

Another person seemed to agree as he wrote, “I don’t drink wine but that sounds like a great offer.”

Lella explained the idea’s origin.

“We wanted to open a restaurant that was different from the others. So we picked this format – customers can choose to renounce technology while enjoying a convivial moment together,” the portal quoted the owner as saying.

The restaurant is believed to be the first in the Veneto region to adopt such an initiative although there are examples of others in Italy, including Separè 1968, a restaurant which offers vouchers to customers who give up their phones.

A 2018 study published in the “Journal of Experimental Social Psychology”, found that diners were more likely to report feeling distracted if they used a phone during a meal with friends and family. This also dampened their enjoyment of the occasion.

“This research suggests that despite their ability to connect us to others across the globe, phones may undermine the benefits we derive from interacting with those across the table,” the authors said.

When it comes to dining etiquette, we can all agree that checking your phone at the dinner table is one of the things considered to be rude. Here are a few other habits that we think you should learn to stop doing when dining out.

Do not salt your food before you taste it

Do not season your food before you taste it. By seasoning food before an attempt, you send the message to the host or the person who cooked the meal, that you do not really trust their cooking skills.

It is okay to finish your food with a little salt and pepper but try it first to make sure the food really needs it.

Breaking bread

Here is a real bread-and-butter tip. Tear bread into bite-size pieces and butter each piece just before you eat it. Do not butter the entire slice of bread or the entire roll to get it ready for occasional bites during the course of the meal.

Not passing the right way

Food and condiments should be passed around the table anticlockwise, and experts also say that salt and pepper always travel together.

Chewing with an open mouth

This is so obvious but we are just emphasising since people still chew with open mouths. It can be annoying to the person seated next to you.