Going out to eat can be a wonderful, small-to-large scale treat enjoyed by individuals or groups of any numbers. It’s an important tradition in the western world, or rather, a variety of important traditions: The first date, the job offer, the ever-important-moment-to-yourself-at-lunch, or the simple frozen moment at breakfast in which you’ve got your coffee, your pastry, and a delicious meal on the way with the sun in your face. But then again, it’s hard to feel the sun on your face when it’s veiled by a glowing screen.
There’s no doubt that we use dining out as an opportunity to seek reprieve from the hustle-and-bustle of everyday life. Especially here in the United States, we have a tendency to get incredibly caught up in the unendingly-fast pace of work, friends, family, and play. For some, taking just a few hours to go out and eat a good meal with friends is akin to a week’s worth of vacation and recovery.
Which is what makes this so baffling to those of us in the hospitality industries: Customers continue to allow their technology to prevent them from accessing these simple scenes of salvation. When was the last time you felt that lunch allowed you to take a small break from the rest of your priorities and responsibilities? When was the last time you hesitated to enjoy a hot meal in front of you because you simply had
to get a picture of it for social media? If you’ve done the latter more recently than the former, we hate to say it, but you might be doing it wrong.
We need a lot of reminders in the modern world when it comes to remaining present, and you can see those reminders at the tables and in the booths of restaurants around the United States and the world, at large. Couples are disconnected from one another because they can’t stop scrolling. Solo diners can’t look at the menu long enough to make a decision because they can’t ignore the work emails pouring in. An audio bomb in the form of an alarming ringtone goes off in the middle of a serene dining room, and suddenly the mood is ruined for all in attendance.
It’s beginning to sound cliché, because the message is repeated so often in modern life, but it really is essential to our capacity for enjoyment that we take time to disconnect from being connected, in general. The less you attempt to enjoy life through your phone, the more you can actually enjoy life through the sights, sounds, tastes, smells, and feelings you experience firsthand.
Not everything you love in life needs to be posted or shared, especially not in real time. In fact, sometimes the best reasons to share what you have done on social media are to remind others that in between status updates, a whole lot of real life can actually happen.
So, if you really want to have the best dining experience possible, do something incredibly brave beforehand: Turn off your phone.
This has been a public service announcement from Atlas Steakhouse