How can restaurants help bring back family time at meal times?
Technology plays an important part in everyone's lives. It is used at home, work and when travelling. Everywhere you look technology is being used. The mobile phone is the most prevalent use of technology, they are everywhere. People walk along with on in their hand, talk to people whilst interacting with other using a mobile, and even youngsters walking along in groups listening to music. I often hear people say "what did we do before we had mobile phones?" some would argue we talked more to each other, others would argue it was difficult. You can now find anything out at anytime, but have some core values and skills been lost as a result?
Why ask this question?
I recently saw a YouTube video from Simon Sinek talking about mobile phones and the impact they have. Simon explored the impact not only on how you feel as an individual but how our use of them affects others and our children in terms of their social skills growing up. I would highly recommend watching the whole video.
This video really hit home for me, as I have for years thought what a shame it is that when families go out for dinner the children, not all but the majority, aren't involved in the conversation. They are either sat watching a film, playing a game or on social media. Another example is a couple out for dinner but both parties are constantly checking in on what's going on rather than talking to each other. What has happened to family mealtimes where it was a time to all sit down and catch-up on the day and making plans?
Are the reasons that people seem to be a lot busier now so going out to eat is a chance for mum and dad to catch-up? Or is it that it's just easy and makes for a peaceful life? Neither of which are wrong, but it is something that I believe we should address and really start to think about, I'm just as guilty. We need to find a balance between spending quality time together and the use of mobile phones or other technological devices.
What can be done?
Whatever we do, or however we address the potential issue, technology is not going to go away, nor should it, but the way we interact with each other and it can change. When you go out to dinner the majority of restaurants will have a kids pack, for example. Through the use of software such as augmented reality or digital technology, these packs can be transformed into interactive pieces, but pieces that need to involve the whole family not just the children.
The use of Augmented Reality doesn't need to stop at kids packs, it can also be utilised to provide nutritional information about dishes, deliver competitions and even directions to your customers nearest restaurant, the options are endless.
We are keen to work with restaurants to help them bring back family time, whilst adding value to the whole family experience of eating out. And who knows, adding in these simple, but effective changes, could make people think more about how they interact with not only their family but also each other, and bring about more human interaction again.
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