A restaurant in Newport, Wales has come up with an innovative way to encourage the art of conversation and to socialise.

For one night a month the ‘Meat Bar’ on Clytha Road in Newport has banned phones, tablets and any other technical gadgets that act as a distraction to diners who in their view are failing in the art of socialising.

They want to bring back the ‘art of conversation’ and encourage guests to enjoy their meal while talking to each other, about everyday things. In fact for those who now struggle to find things to talk about the restaurant even offer a crib sheet of topics that they can cover off if they get stuck.

When you dine at the venue on the first Thursday of each month, there is a requirement to hand your gadgets and smartphones into a bag when you take your seats.

David Roberts who owns the restaurant said “We came up with the idea because our son was coming up to his GCSEs and we felt we were losing touch with him,” – a scenario that lots of parents also go through.

How many times have you sat in a restaurant lately, looked around and noticed kids and adults immersed within their iPad or phone? Yes, there is an argument for the kids as they can get bored waiting for food orders but is it becoming the norm?

“The idea of having a family ‘no smartphone date night’ is inspiring” Rich W, MLA “It gives us something to think about and more importantly something to talk about, it re-engages the family and reminds us that we need to communicate over dinner. The idea of a no-tech date night is simply genius in our opinion.”

The success of the ‘anti gadget date night’ has been a tremendous success, fully booking in advance. The restaurant owners who dined out themselves as a family took it upon themselves to leave the iPads and phones in their bag and use the time together in a truely social way.

It certainly worked for them, so, they took the idea and tested it out at the restaurant. Customers certainly embraced the idea.

Maybe it’s a thought that you can use in your restaurant or pub – not a bad idea for your restaurant social media marketing perhaps? We’d love to hear about your experiences it if you try it. The more, the merrier in our opinion!

There are many ways you can try something that will grab the attention of the press or online via social media. A bright idea such as the ‘no gadget night’ or restaurant who offered an innovative menu for kids who struggle to order food at a restaurant which we covered recently is a good example of how to stand out and drive awareness.