Let me appease you: Regardless of your family’s values or daily routine, this post ends with free ice cream.
At Chick-fil-A, Southern influence goes beyond making the best fried chicken in the country*. It also means the restaurant values family time — and what’s a more traditional way to connect with your family than over the dinner table?
But you’ve probably noticed this trend: Your family sits down after a long day apart. You load plates with delicious food, dig in and look around at the people you love…
But they’re all hunched over, checking one thing or another on their phones.
Brad Williams, a Chick-fil-A operator in Suwanee, Georgia, noticed the trend, too. And he wanted to change it.
He wanted to reclaim dinner as quality time for families.
Here’s the Part About Free Ice Cream
To reduce distractions during meals at his restaurant, Williams introduced a challenge for his customers: the Cell Phone Coop.
The Coop is a cardboard box that sits on each table. The challenge is simple — though, maybe not easy.
Place your cell phones in the Coop, and leave them there for the entire meal.
If your group is successful, you’ll each receive a free Chick-fil-A Icedream (translation for the Yankees: It’s a vanilla ice cream cone).
Hack: If you don’t like your family, note that the challenge does not require you to actually speak to each other while you eat. Just keep the phones in the box.
Also note: The challenge doesn’t explicitly require a family — or any companions. If you’re willing to enjoy a meal alone with your thoughts, you could probably still earn free ice cream.
The challenge was so well-received at the Suwanee location, it’s spreading.
If not, you’re free to Instagram a shot of your Spicy Chicken Sandwich to make your friends in the northern and western U.S. drool with envy.
*That’s just my opinion, but it’s also definitely correct.
Your Turn: What are your family’s rules about cell phones at the dinner table?
Dana Sitar (@danasitar) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She also writes about writing, life, comedy and love for blogs and books and sometimes things people care about, like Huffington Post and that one time she had an article published in the Onion.