Free Wine at a New Italian Restaurant Is Doing the Impossible

Free Wine at a New Italian Restaurant Is Doing the Impossible
Free Wine at a New Italian Restaurant Is Doing the Impossible

Right now, smartphone addiction is out of control. Things have reached such a point that the average American checks his phone 352 times a day—once every two minutes and 43 seconds.

But right now, a restaurant in Italy—and free wine—is doing what many thought impossible: It is separating people from their phones.

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Last month, a restaurant called Al Condominio opened in Verona, a city midway between Milan and Venice. Upon entry, the restaurant’s employees make a unique proposition to their patrons. If customers agree to lock up their cell phones for the entirety of the meal, they will receive a complimentary bottle of wine.

The restaurant’s owner, Angelo Lella, said he started this practice with a specific goal in mind.

“We wanted to open a restaurant that was different from the others. So we picked this format—customers can choose to renounce technology while enjoying a convivial moment together. Technology is becoming a problem—there is no need to look at your phone every five seconds, but for many people, it is like a drug.”

This is no exaggeration. In 2019, 75% of Italian adults used their phones over three hours a day—6% of whom admitted to using their smartphones for more than ten hours in one day.

However, despite this statistic, Mr. Lella’s plan has achieved notable success.

He asserted that “The response has been very positive. Ninety percent of customers have opted to leave aside their phones in exchange for wine. It really is a beautiful thing to see people embracing it—they are talking to each other rather than looking at photos or responding to messages on their phone.”

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Thus, breaking dependence on technology is not an impossible task. People can and will avoid digital enslavement if given the opportunity.

Can We Bring This To America?

This phenomenon serves as food for thought, particularly for Americans. The nation suffers the devastating effects of smartphone addiction.

A recent study pointed out that 57% of Americans consider themselves addicted to their phones. This number is even more startling, considering that it does not include those who won’t admit their addiction.

However, it is not too late to fight back. Similar business models discouraging technology abuse show how open Americans are to the idea of a smartphone detox. One proof is the growing popularity of minimalist phones, which protect their users from Tik-Tok-esque distractions.

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Additionally, a trend called “digital detox” is also gaining steam. According to a 2022 survey, 32% of American internet users have participated in this positive practice of abstaining from internet use.

Many Americans realize there is a problem and naturally want to solve it. Granted, breaking a smartphone addiction is a daunting task. However, a little bit of incentive goes a long way.

That’s why practices similar to those promoted at Al Condominio should be encouraged. Instead of having tabletop payment kiosks and QR-code menus, America needs restaurants that allow people to detach themselves from technology and enjoy human interaction—all over a glass of fine wine.

Photo Credit:  © Day Of Victory Stu. –