Free Ice Cream at Chick-fil-A! …If You Don’t Use Your Phone


(Photo: OBSEV / Shutterstock)

Chick-fil-A really wants to tell you how to live your life. First they came up with a new “diet plan” for customers that involved eating eight-packs of chicken nuggets every 3-4 hours, followed by a list of exercise tips including “pulling out your bicycle” and “playing a game of tag” that will lead to a healthier lifestyle. Now the fast food chain is offering even more advice, and it includes a free ice cream reward for not using your cell phone at the dining table.

Brad Williams, a Chick-fil-A restaurant operator in Suwanee, Georgia, came up with the idea of a “cell phone coop”—a place where customers can hide their phones while enjoying a meal at the restaurant. Meant for cultivating conversation, the coops are now in 150 Chick-fil-A stores across the country, and diners who are able to leave their phones in the coop throughout the entire meal are rewarded with a free ice cream cone.

According to a 2015 study, Americans now spend an average of 4.7 hours a day on their cell phones. In a statement, Williams said, “We really want our restaurant to provide a sense of community for our customers, where family and friends can come together and share quality time with one another. But as we all know, technology increasingly demands more of our time and can be a big distraction, even while we’re eating. This got me thinking about what we could do to reduce this distraction during meals.”

The cell phone coops, which are small, square boxes resembling a McDonald’s Happy Meal box, are placed on every dining table at each of the 150 participating locations. According to Williams, the challenge has completely taken off, with customers who failed the first time coming back to try again, and some even requesting to take the box home.