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Restaurants, cell phones, and customer rights

Faculty , Marketing Stories | Aug 19, 2011 |

Restaurants, especially those that have enough buzz to attract attention from food bloggers, are finding it more and more common for patrons to be using their cell phones at the table — not simply to make calls, but to snap pictures of dishes, post 140-character reviews of dishes to Twitter, and check in on Foursquare. Owners and chefs are having to confront the unfortunate prospect of having to create new customer policies as a result, sometimes banning cell phones entirely.

How does this affect a restaurant’s ability to draw customers — and to keep the ones they have happy with the experience? If you do allow cell phones, do you alienate your customers who are looking for a placid, interruption-free meal? And if you prohibit them, are you limiting the publicity you might get in the online food media?

Fordham marketing area chair and Center for Positive Marketing director Dawn Lerman was quoted extensively on the subject of restaurant phone use in a Fox Business News story that ran on August 18. Click here to read her explanation of how no-phone policies may shape a restaurant’s brand and its relationships with its customers.

Photo courtesy of Emre Can on Flickr’s Creative Commons.

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