Diner In Italy Offers Free Wine To Customers Who Hand In Phones

Ever been at dinner with your friends or significant other and found them glued to their phones? There may be a remedy after all! An Italian restaurant named Al Condominio in Verona is making digital detox possible for its customers, if only for a few hours. The restaurant is offering its customers a free bottle of wine if they hand in their phones before their meal. As per a popular Instagram handle, the restaurant’s owner Angelo Lella came up with this method to encourage the diners to engage in conversations rather than being occupied by their phones.  

“We wanted to open a restaurant that was different from the others,” he said. “So we picked this format – customers can choose to renounce technology while enjoying a convivial moment together. Technology is becoming a problem – there is no need to look at your phone every five seconds, but for many people, it is like a drug … This way they have an opportunity to put it aside and drink some good wine.”

The restaurant is themed around the idea of a condo and the dishes too are named after characters or locations one might find in a residence. The official website reads, “Each guest can choose at the beginning of the evening if they "get rid" of their smartphone to disconnect from technology and fully dedicate themselves to their loved one, their family or to dialogues with their dinner companions without the continuous distraction of notifications or SMS.”

“For those who decide to opt for the "tech free" option, they can store their iPhone in their personal mailbox and will be given a welcome bottle. A valid alternative to the smartphone and an excellent companion for a dinner to live in company. Always in a tech-free perspective, the reviews will be entrusted to paper and pen and can be posted in mailboxes, leaving a personal memory of the first dinner Al Condominio.”

The customers at Al Condominio are given the choice to set aside their phones and place it under lock and key at the entrance. They can keep the box with them but when they show the key to their waiter, he serves them their free bottle of wine. 

“The response has been very positive,” said Lella. “Ninety per cent of customers have opted to leave aside their phones in exchange for wine. It really is a beautiful thing to see people embracing it – they are talking to each other rather than looking at photos or responding to messages on their phone.”