News – “Why Restaurants Ban Cell Phones” – In 2017, if a meal consumed at a restaurant doesn’t get posted online, did it really happen?

Now that 95 percent of Americans own a cell phone of some kind, opportunistic restaurateurs are encouraging smartphone usage by designing venues and menus with Instagram in mind. Even if they don’t go viral, these photos become free marketing for a chef’s menu or business. Starbucks rode the Instagram trend hard this past year by releasing limited-edition, eye-popping Unicorn and Zombie-themed Frappuccinos; in San Francisco’s Mission District, the Cuban restaurant Media Noche provides Instagram-ready content in the form of its floral-tiled floors.

A handful of restaurant operators, however, are going in the opposite direction and actively discouraging phone use at the table. The marketing ploy here is meant to appeal to diners that remember “the good ol’ days” when a shared meal was about conviviality and real-life conversation — not “the ‘gram.”

“Get off my lawn”. That’s all I hear, here. I’m of the opinion the cameras are one of our species greatest inventions, allowing us to literally capture the past in a still image, saving it for all time. Pictures are the closest thing we have to time travel, so let people time travel with their food in peace. 

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