NEWSFLASH - Mobile Phone Use Prohibited in a Local French Restaurant. Diners Must Converse!!
In the quaint little village of Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert, local restauranteur Hean-Noël Fleury has made national headlines by doing something quite daring. He has banned the use of mobile phones at dining tables in his restaurant.
Meal times in France are traditionally a time to talk with members of the family or any other dining companions. The rules at Fluery's restaurant, The Petit Jardin, are clearly posted on a large board outside and explained to the customers when they enter the establishment.
If a waiter catches someone using a cell phone at the table, they blow a whistle to declare a penalty, just as in football. The 'offender' is given a yellow card to note they have been cautioned. This usually causes other patrons to comment and stimulates many jovial conversations around the restaurant. For most, this is enough to cause the person who received the yellow card to turn off their phone for the remainder of their time at the restaurant.
It's all done in the spirit of fun and friendliness. Nonetheless, if the person continues using their phone, the next card they receive from the waiter, if they are caught, will be red and they will be asked to leave. Fleury says if customers are grumpy or in a bad mood, they can always eat elsewhere. The village of Saint-Guilhem-le-Desert has three restaurants. They are free to choose.
These days, eight out of ten French people say they use their phones during meals. Young people, in particular, find the no-phone rule of this restaurant most difficult to observe. Some parents have chosen this place to take the family specifically because of the phone ban and enjoy having a family meal without the presence of a mobile phone. The owner of the restaurant said, “People accept having to turn their phones off when they go to the cinema or theatre so why not restaurants?”
As if the injunction against phones wasn't enough, Mr. Fluery has taken the restrictions even further at The Petit Jardin. Customers will no longer be given the condiments of ketchup or mayonnaise, nor will they be able to order a Coca-Cola.
There are local products that he would rather offer his patrons. An alternate for ketchup is Moutard a l'ancienne. Regionally, there are several fruit juices available to choose from as opposed to drinking Coca-Cola. His support of the people and the economy of the region is a very good choice.
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