An early bath instead of dinner: French restaurant bans mobile phones, ketchup, Coca-Cola

An early bath instead of dinner: French restaurant bans mobile phones, ketchup, Coca-Cola
Ever done something so outrageous as to be kicked out of a restaurant? Use a mobile phone at Le Petit Jardin in the south of France, and you’ll see a yellow card. A second time will be enough to get you sent off. Ketchup and Coca-Cola are banned too.

The owner of the restaurant, Jean-Noël Fluery, says banning mobile phones at his place proved to be just what the doctor ordered, helping to make the atmosphere more convivial and family-friendly.

“Our system makes it possible to draw the entire restaurant to create dialogues between the tables.”

“The tradition in France is to speak during meals," the restaurateur said. But technology has been getting in the way of enjoying our lives, with mobile phones being the biggest source of trouble during a meal.

Fluery decided to fight against people’s growing addiction to phones and tablets with a twist of irony.

"We were inspired by the codes of football and, humorously, we award cards to clients who break the rules," he told Le Figaro. 

Waiters at the restaurant would blow a whistle and show a yellow card to someone caught using their phone. If a diner is caught again it will be a red card, meaning the culprit has to leave the restaurant.

“The cards and whistles are always effective," he added, as quoted by Le Figaro.
Staff have been forced to “send off” a few diners, the restaurant owner told The Local.

"Some have refused to put down their phones and said they don't like the rule and have left," he said.

“We explain the rules to them all when they come in,” he added. “People accept having to turn their phones off when they go to the cinema or the theatre so why not restaurants?”

Teens are not always happy to put away their smartphones.

“We’ve received some unpleasant comments on our Facebook page from young people who did not appreciate the ban on mobile phones and have not appreciated being shown a card in front of others.”

Fluery says he couldn’t care less.

“That’s a good publicity for the establishment!”

Alongside the mobile phones, Coca-Cola, Ketchup and Mayonnaise are on the venue’s banned list.

“We do it to promote local produce. We have good local fruit juices here that people can drink instead of Coke and we have Moutard a l'ancienne instead of Ketchup,” Fleury explained.