Mobile phone etiquette in cafes and restaurants

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Mobile phone etiquette
Close up of hip young woman using phone in cafe

Mobile phone etiquette may be considered old-fashioned common courtesy, but is it making a revival? Is it a matter of being considerate of others, or being a bit more more self-aware rather than permanently #selfie aware? Here’s some simple guidelines to basic common sense when using a mobile phone when dining…

Have you’ve been annoyed at one point or another by someone not practicing some basic tenets of mobile phone etiquette? Mobile phone etiquette is probably just basic old-fashioned common sense; it’s a matter of being considerate of being a bit more socailly-aware rather than only ever social media aware.

bondi chai Some coffee shops and restaurant offer free wi-fi and encourage social media interaction by offering incentives for mobile check-in, instagramming and reviews on the spot. In many cities, a growing number of restaurants accept payment via smartphone. Some even provide plates to shield the phones from crumbs and spills and keep a supply of smartphone charges on hand for customers to borrow. But in contrast, some cafés and restaurants ask customers to refrain from cell phone use while eating as a matter of policy.
You can follow or dismiss and of these mobile phone etiquette tips for cafes and restaurants:

– Mobile phones should be turned off or placed in silent mode whenever you are in a café or restaurant. Switch the phone off completely in a fine dining restaurant. The less formal the restaurant, the more casual you can be with your mobile phone.

– Consider the sort of place you’re in – not every place delivers #foodporn. Be discreet in taking food pictures; definitely do not use a distracting flash.

– In more traditional phone etiquette it’s not acceptable to place your mobile phone on the table. It’s more acceptable to leave it on the table during lunch on a workday when you’re expecting an important call but not on the evening or the weekends with family or friends.

– You shouldn’t answer your phone in the middle of a meal, the best option is to ignore it or turn it off so calls go directly to voicemail. Inform your dining companions if you’re expecting an important call. Answering a call at your table, while now widely accepted as “normal” behaviour, is overall not good etiquette, excuse yourself and take the call out of other diners’ hearing range.

– If you need to answer an important call, keep your voice low and the conversation brief. Maintain a distance of at least ten feet from the nearest person when talking on a mobile phone. Do not put the phone on speaker mode, and ideally use headphones to avoid disturbing other diners.

– Obnoxious ringtones provide regular distractions. Restaurant and cafe ambience is disrupted by ringing phones and one-sided conversations.

– Refrain from texting at the table when face-to-face conversation died down. They might not say it to you, but many people see that as disrespectful.

– Give your attention to the person you’re with. It’s rude to take a mobile phone on a date or during a social engagement with others. Do not take your mobile phone out and tinker with it or text just because you are bored. If no one is talking to you, make an effort to talk to your companions.

– Observe mobile phone etiquette in cafes. Don’t talk on your mobile phone when you’re standing at the register ordering food. Don’t attempt to order food and talk on the phone at the same time.

– Mobile phones emit a non-ionising radiation in the microwave range whenever turned on. Turn the phone off to avoid spraying mobile phone radiation all over your fellow diners.

– Café’s and restaurant have become a new pseudo-office for many workers today. Participation in a conference calls requires you to speak louder; cafés are not a place for this type of call, other diners expect respect and consideration too.

– Limit the amount of bandwidth you’re using. Avoid Skype video, online gaming and uploading or downloading large files. Be respectful – at the very least keep coffee shop activities to the basics of web browsing and checking emails.

– Be aware of the cafes’ and restaurants’ unique culture. If wi-fi is turned off at certain hours, respect the owner’s intent.

So there you have it, smartphone addicts! It might all be too srict for you, but at least you got it straight. Cafés and restaurants have their own rules of etiquette while dining. As a rule of thumb: the general rules of dining etiquette should apply.