Chick-fil-A is challenging customers to put down their phones and offering a special treat for those who do: ice cream. In an effort to promote disconnecting from technology, the fast food chain is now offering free cones to families that are able to go a whole meal without picking up their phones.
Over 350 locations are participating in this initiative, which Chick-fil-A is calling the "Cell Phone Coop" Challenge. The name stems from the small white boxes, that resemble chicken coops, that are placed on the tables for people to store their phones while they eat.
"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," said Brad Williams, the Chick-fil-A owner in Georgia that started the challenge. "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."
Williams decided to propose the challenge after he realized that a "no technology at the dinner table" rule at home worked to bring his family closer together. With the amount of time that many Americans spend on their smartphones, which is often over four hours a day according to an Informate Mobile Intelligence study, it's no wonder that setting rules is one of the only ways to force ourselves to disconnect.
"The challenge has completely taken off," Williams told Inside Chick-fil-A. "We have families who don't make it the first time, either because they ended up texting or something else, but then they come back in to try it again. Now we even have people asking to take the boxes home with them!"
So next time you're at Chick-fil-A, resist the temptation to Instagram your chicken sandwich and focus on the company around you... it just may pay off in the form of a delicious sweet treat.