TREASURE ISLAND, Fla. - It’s called the basket challenge. An entire meal enjoyed without a single glance at your phone. Could you do it?
One Pinellas County restaurant is giving you a nice incentive to ditch your cell phone: 10% off your bill!
At Caddy's Restaurant in Treasure Island, parties are offered a brightly colored plastic basket for their phones. The basket is placed in the center of the table, and if the entire group can go throughout the meal without touching their phones, they get the 10% discount.
It's helping families to soak in the moment as the ocean waves crash against the sandy shore just feet away.
Johnny Kula and his family took the challenge. He says at first it was quite the temptation! Subconsciously you want to grab your phone but then you see it over there in the basket and think 'Enough! It’s family time'.”
The "basket challenge" is creating priceless moments. Martin Bernstein smooched his wife. She blushed. "It's like we are on our honeymoon again!"
Caddy's manager Chris Rhodes is the man behind the basket challenge. At home, his family closely follows the no phone rule. "My girl has given me a few stern warnings for breaking the rules," he said with a laugh. He decided the rule would be great at the restaurant too. “This is our way of opening people’s eyes to put the phones down for a minute and enjoy their time with their family.”
Rhodes and his team put up “no phone zones” across the restaurant. While it’s completely voluntary, 80% of their customers are giving it a whirl.
“It's such a small thing that blew up to be something really nice,” Rhodes said with a smile.
For those who can resist temptation, there’s that 10% bonus! "It's just a small incentive, but the real gift is the conversation between families," Rhodes added, “Kids grow up fast, grandparents aren’t around forever so you really gotta take advantage of the time you have.”
The Kula family likes the idea so much, they’re thinking about getting a basket of their own for home!
Caddy's hopes their idea spreads to other restaurants and homes in Tampa Bay to encourage everyone to talk more and text less.
The restaurant is expanding their discount to all of their locations across Tampa Bay including the one on Central Avenue in St Petersburg, Caddy's at the Pointe in Bradenton, and Caddy's Pub in Indian Shores.