Should Cell Phones be Banned in Restaurants – Yes

Should cellular phones be banned in restaurants? Perhaps this is an individual preference, yet the question still raises a matter of manners.

What is the protocol for politeness, when it comes to cellular phone usage in a restaurant?

Cell phones in fast food restaurants

Fast food restaurants are specifically designed for efficient eating. These eateries tend to be somewhat noisy, catering to families with young children, groups of teenagers, busloads of tourists and the general public. Cell phone usage in fast food restaurants is generally deemed quite acceptable, as long as ringtones and vocal tones are kept to a reasonable volume level.

Of course, cell phone users who desire more privacy for their conversations might do well to step outside for their telephone calls – or choose the drive-through lane and dine in their cars.

Cell phones in casual restaurants

Casual restaurants, such as coffee shops and diners, usually allow cell phone usage. However, the most considerate diners will step away from the dining room in a casual restaurant to place or receive a cell phone call.

High-volume or volatile conversations (particularly on cell phones) is discourteous in public places, such as a restaurant. Diners at other tables, as well as those at a caller’s own table, may not wish to overhear a personal broadcast.

Cell phone in fine dining restaurants

An ever-increasing number of fine dining restaurants actually print requests for patrons to refrain from cell phone usage in their dining rooms. Certainly, those who make plans to visit fine dining restaurants (often after making reservations) may expect to enjoy their rather pricey meals without the interruptions of loud ringtones and cell phone conversations nearby.

Ambiance is an important factor in the fine dining experience. Diners may pay dearly for the opportunity to partake of painstakingly prepared cuisine in a pleasing environment. Patrons in fine dining restaurants will do well to silence their cell phones, out of consideration and courtesy for fellow diners and those around them.

Of course, emergencies may occur. Babysitters may need to reach parents who are out for the evening in a restaurant. When such calls come in, polite cell phone users usually excuse themselves to continue their conversations in a more private spot.

Cell phone courtesy in restaurants

The etiquette of cell phone usage in restaurants may sound like common sense, but it seems to not always be so. Perhaps we could all use a refresher course in restaurant courtesy.

After all, when folks gather to share a meal together, do they really expect one member of the party to spend considerable time chatting with someone else on a cell phone?

Of course, solo diners may feel comfortable talking on their cell phones while eating, but this should be done quietly, so restaurant customers at adjacent tables cannot overhear. Even better, cell phone users might choose to send text messages, rather than speaking aloud while dining in restaurants.

Certainly, DVD players, hand-held games, iPods, MP3 players, laptop and notebook computers and other audible devices should be silenced in restaurants as well, out of common courtesy.

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