The family-aimed location wants everyone to focus on their conversations.
Whether you're tired of people taking out their phones during meals, or just can't stop staring at your own, McDonald's Singapore wants to help. To that end, the company has made two new additions to Singapore's flagship Marine Cove McDonalds: a "Family Playdate"-branded mobile phone locker, and table service meant to facilitate human interaction.
McDonald's claims the locker, which holds 100 phones in individual units, will help families reconnect. Citing its own study, McDonald's says that over 90 percent of parents and children use their mobile devices whenever they're together, despite the fact that most parents both believe it has decreased their interaction with loved ones, and want to be "more disciplined in staying away from digital distractions during family time."
Rather than go hi-tech, the clear lockers will be locked with old-school, physical keys, and, McDonald's says, staff members will remind customers to take their phones before they leave. But that's just one of the staff's new, socially-aimed duties. They will also act as "guest experience leaders" who, the company says, will "engage with families." What that means is a bit ambiguous, but when placing an order at a self-ordering kiosk, customers desiring said engagement will be able to select the table service option, which comes at no extra charge
“As a popular restaurant destination for families," a McDonald's Singapore representative told Channel News Asia, "we have observed that the use of mobile devices during meal times may sometimes get in the way of family bonding," though whether families will be willing to physically lock up their phones remains to be seen. The restaurant will be "actively gathering feedback" on the initiatives to decide whether or not to expand them to further restaurants.
McDonald's Singapore's phone locker and "guest experience leaders" are just one of many alterations the chain has experimented with around the world. Earlier this month, McDonald's Finland introduced the McVegan, a trial vegan burger that could one day make its way to other countries, and back in June, McDonald's France started giving out recyclable plastic knives and forks with every Big Mac. Though when it comes to pulling eyes away from phones, nothing compares to that one glorious day on which you could obtain a Frork.