By Amanda Morrissey, Customer Impact Editing Manager

By now, many of you have probably read about the New York restaurant that reviewed their old surveillance tapes to try to determine why their service had been slowing down over the past few years. It was a simple plan: review tapes from visits from 2004 and compare them to visits from 2014, and determine what was being done differently. They posted their findings on Craigslist, and what they found was that customers using smartphones during their visits accounted for some of the delays.


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 Now, this is obviously not a particularly scientific way to analyze something, but it did bring up some interesting questions. Are customers using smartphones truly contributing to their service being slower? The tapes showed customers on their phones before even opening the menus, playing with their phones with the menu open in front of them and delaying their decisions on their orders, taking photos of the food before starting to eat, taking photos of each other, and asking servers to take photos for them. Visits from 2014 took an average of 20 minutes longer than those in 2004.

The questions I have are these: is this significant, is this surprising, and lastly, do we even care? Do we notice that extra 20 minutes we might spend at a restaurant, or are we fine with it because we have our smartphones to “entertain” us? Is our use of our smartphones negatively affecting the customer service we receive, or should we expect servers to work around that and still be as friendly and attentive as they were before smartphones were so prevalent? I would love to hear your opinions!

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