The Short of It
In continuing its trend to offer more family-friendly amenities, a Chick-fil-A franchisee in Georgia started a "family challenge" in which customers are encouraged to place their cell phones in a white box during their meal so they can share more quality time with their loved ones.
Could you make it through an entire meal without using your cell phone?
That's the question Chick-fil-A restaurant owner Brad Williams had after watching a mother of two spend an entire meal on her phone, ignoring her kids in the process. Williams decided to tackle the issue head on by creating the Cell Phone Coop Challenge.
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"We really want our restaurant to provide a sense of community for our customers, where family and friends can come together and share quality time with one another," Williams said. "But as we all know, technology increasingly demands more of our time and can be a big distraction, even while we're eating. This got me thinking about what we could do to reduce this distraction during meals."
Here's how it works: Williams places a Coop—a small Chick-fil-A box decorated with wire that he printed locally and designed using ideas he found on Pinterest—on each restaurant table, then challenges his diners to put their cell phones inside for the entire length of their meal. If they make it to the end without trying to fish them out, guests receive free ice cream!
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The rules, printed on the side of the coop, are as follows:
1. Turn all family cell phones to silent and place in this cell phone coop.
2. Enjoy your Chick-fil-A meal and each other distraction free!
3. After the meal, let Chick-fil-A know that your family has successfully completed the challenge and each of you will receive a small Icedream cone.
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Williams started placing the coops in his two restaurants in mid-January, and he says there's more "conversation and chatter" now. And while it's currently not available at all locations, more than 150 Chick-fil-A restaurants across the country are now offering the Coops.
"The challenge has completely taken off," said Williams. "We have families who aren't successful the first time and come back to try again. We even have people asking to take the boxes home with them!"
What do you think; could you do it?