The introduction of smartphones has changed everyday communication. People are more focused on their phones, than looking up and talking to the person standing in front of them. While this was understandable a decade ago- when smartphones were just the latest trend- things need to change now. The need for smartphone etiquette has been growing over the years with people becoming dissociated from reality. It’s no surprise that in-person communication has dwindled while people are waiting for the next push notification from their phones. One would think we need a break, that we need some unwritten social rules. Well, there’s a restaurant in Fort Wort, Texas that’s trying to do something about it. It has one rule for its customers – no cellphones.

Interestingly, there is mounting evidence to show an association between excess smartphone use and stress and anxiety. This is the opposite of what you’d like to experience at your favorite restaurant. This is why several restaurants, bars, and clubs have implemented the no cellphone rule. In certain areas, they are locked up in pouches and can only be accessed during an emergency or after the show is over.

This is an excellent way to deal with a growing problem. Sure, you may not be able to capture all the memories you wanted, but it allows you to focus on the here and now and enjoy the experience. And this is precisely why Tim Love, a chef in Dallas, has a no cellphone rule in his restaurant, Caterina’s. The new Italian restaurant kindly asks people to lock their phones away in small bags while food is served.

Speaking to Paper City, Tim Love stated, “The hostess gives each guest a pouch to put their phone in and the pouch stays with the guest the whole dinner. We’re going to kindly ask them to put their phone in the bag. We’ve already had that happen. Some people forget. They just have their phone in their pocket. We give them the bag. They put their phone in the bag. It’s not a big deal. If you can’t possibly deal without your phone for two hours, this is not the place for you. I mean, people go to movies, they don’t get on their phones.” The main idea behind this no cellphone rule is to create an atmosphere where people can talk to each other. It would help them bond in a world that has turned quite mechanical.[2]

Have an Emergency call? Caterina’s has a Plan for that.
The vibe of the restaurant is why people frequent it. Interestingly, even the waiters serve the meal at a far more languid pace. “At Caterina’s guests will be treated to a multi-course meal. It’s slow dining, or what I like to call analog dining where the entire experience encourages you to slow down. There will be lots of little surprises throughout the meal.” Even Bud Kennedy from the Fort Worth Star has good things to say about this location. “Tables talking to tables- (patrons) making new friends- the vibe is so great.[3]”

And if one were to visit Caterina’s, they would understand that the vision in itself was worth letting go of their smartphones. The private dining room of the restaurant finds itself under a shimmery Art Deco lattice detail. With the vibe being that of the swanky 1940s and 1950s, the restaurant expects patrons to wear sports coats for a gourmet meal. The rest of the restaurant is topped with woodwork and gorgeous tile installations. The modern architecture of the place intersperses with the vintage lighting of the chandelier.