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Italy restaurant: ‘renounce technology’ for a free bottle of wine

Customers at the Al Condominio restaurant in Verona, Italy can cash in on a free bottle of wine. All they have to do is hand over their phones.

Italy restaurant: 'renounce technology' for a free bottle of wine

Angelo Lella, the owner of Al Condominio, opened the restaurant in the Northern Italian city of Verona in March.

He said he wanted to mark the restaurant out as being “different from the others”, and decided to push for customers to leave their smartphones at the door.

“We picked this format – customers can choose to renounce technology while enjoying a convivial moment together,” he said, according to The Guardian. “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 way they have an opportunity to put it aside and drink some good wine.”

Customers will, of course, be able to get their phones back when they leave. On entering the site, anyone willing to part with technology for the length of their meal will hand in their phones, which are placed under lock and key at the entrance to the restaurant.

Once seated, they will be asked to show their key to the waiter, who will present them with a bottle of wine. According to one Tripadvisor review, the wines on offer as part of the trade include a bottle of Prosecco or a rosé.

Punters have taken to the scheme well, Lella said, noting that the response has been “very positive”.

He claims that 90% of customers have opted to leave their phones aside in exchange for a free bottle of 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,” he said.

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