Italian restaurant solves modern crisis: Trade in your phone – get a free bottle of wine

Trade in your phone – get a free bottle of wine
Trade in your phone – get a free bottle of wine Copyright Canva
Copyright Canva
By David Mouriquand
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Did Romeo and Juliet have smartphones? We think not. An Italian restaurant in Verona is tackling a modern problem in the best way imaginable.


Ever have one of those dates when the person in front of you is either constantly on their smartphone, or places their device on the table next to their wine glass, as if to subconsciously signal that whatever conversation is ongoing, it'll be interrupted at the drop of a hat by a notification sound.

Annoying, isn’t it?

Well, head to Italy, soon-to-be-unfrustrated reader, as customers at the Al Condominio restaurant in Verona can cash in on a free bottle of wine – should they relinquish their phones.

That’s right. Temporarily renounce technology and the nectar of the gods is yours, free of charge.

They’ve clearly understood that human nature loves a barter. And a full-bodied red.

Angelo Lella, the owner of Al Condominio, opened the restaurant in the Northern Italian city in March. He said he wanted to mark the restaurant out as being “different from the others”, and decided to ask customers if they were willing to leave their smartphones at the door.

The phones are placed under lock and key. Show your key to the waiter. Waiter brings you a bottle. Your phone is returned once the meal is over.

It's... It's beautiful. *Wipes tear from eye*

“We picked this format – customers can choose to renounce technology while enjoying a convivial moment together,” he said, according to The Guardian. “Technology is becoming a problem – there is no need to look at your phone every five seconds, but for many people it is like a drug … This way they have an opportunity to put it aside and drink some good wine.”

That's the most sensible thing we’ve heard all month here at Euronews Culture.

And the initiative is working, according to Lella, who claims that 90% of customers have opted to place their devices in phone jail in exchange for a free bottle of wine.

“It really is a beautiful thing to see people embracing it – they are talking to each other rather than looking at photos or responding to messages on their phone,” he said.

It doesn’t stop there though.

Al Condominio has another challenge. Should a customer write a positive review and place it in a box as they leave, the most glowing review is handpicked and that customer is then invited back to the restaurant for a free meal.

Ok, that second one verges on bribery. But in this economy, can you blame them?

So, phone challenge accepted?

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You know you want toCanva


Additional sources • Guardian

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