BRINGING back old fashioned values is top of the menu for a Leamington restaurant.
Darren Yates and wife Laura, who have owned Auradaze Japanese for more than two years, have had enough of diners concentrating more on their phones than on their dining companion.
So in a bid to help reintroduce some dinner table conversation the couple have implemented a ‘no phone policy’ in their restaurant on Bedford Street – and even ask people to leave if they refuse to put down their phone.
Darren told the Observer: “This restaurant only seats 12 people, so if a phone goes off then everyone can hear. This is one of the reasons we had to implement this policy.
“When people are eating it is a time for them to connect face to face, not be facebooking, tweeting and texting. It’s only a few hours out of the day without a phone.”
And many diners have embraced not having their phone to hand during dinner.
On review website TripAdvisor – which the couple had issues with last year after the site falsely reported they had closed – there has been a positive reaction to the policy.
One visitor said: “This restaurant is unique in a very good way. Expect a great meal and to talk like a human being – mobile phone gazing is banned.”
Another review said: “The restaurant focuses on good food and conversation and gives you a place to fully relax with no phones allowed.”
But not all are as happy about the phone ban.
Darren – who is also the restaurant’s chef – said: “In one case there was a 60-year-old man who I asked to take his call outside. He refused so I told him the meal was on me and asked him to leave.
“I don’t immediately ask people to leave, I give them the chance to put their phone away.”
Despite some customers disliking the policy, the couple say the response to their phone ban has been mainly positive and they will continue to welcome diners who embrace their phone-free philosophy.