Free Dessert Simply for Putting Away Your Mobile Telephone?

ou can receive a free dessert simply for putting away your mobile telephone at greater than 350 locally owned Chick-fil-A restaurants across the United States in what is known as the “Cell Phone Coop challenge”, according to this article written by Sean Ward for Inside Chick-fil-A, which is the official weblog of Chick-fil-A.

Free Dessert Simply for Putting Away Your Mobile Telephone?

The dessert — which is known as an Icedream — is meant to be an incentive for people to spend quality time with each other when dining at a Chick-fil-A restaurant instead of being focused on their mobile telephones during a meal.

A small, square box — also known as the Coop — is placed on each table at the restaurant with a simple challenge originally conceived by Brad Williams, who is a father of four children and is the operator of a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Suwanee, Georgia: enjoy a meal without the distraction of cell phones and receive a free Chick-fil-A Icedream. Guests complete the challenge successfully only if cellphones remain in the Coop untouched for their entire meal.

“I’ve seen this addiction to technology worsen at such a rapid pace in just my lifetime,” said Williams. “People have gone from having meaningful interactions with one another to constantly being on their phones and other technology.”

Although mobile telephones were initially meant to bring people closer together, they can actually sometimes have the opposite effect, acting as a technological distraction. Americans now spend an average of 4.7 hours per day on their mobile telephones, according to this study conducted in 2015 by Informate Mobile Intelligence.

What About Aboard an Airplane?

As one who travels, you are probably already quite aware of the distraction of fellow passengers with mobile telephones aboard an airplane — either prior to the flight or after the airplane lands — where either the sounds emanating the mobile telephone can be annoying; or the conversation by the passenger is loud enough that you know all of the details pertaining to the topic of that discussion.

I first asked the question of whether telephone calls should be allowed during a flight back on Saturday, September 27, 2014 as a result of commercial airlines having the choice of allowing passengers to use portable electronic devices throughout the entire flight — without the requirement for the devices to be switched to “airplane mode” — from origination gate to destination gate in what was at that time the latest regulatory step towards enabling the ability to offer ‘gate-to-gate’ telecommunication or Wi-Fi services.

According to this informal and unscientific poll I conducted back on Thursday, September 3, 2015, 88.46 percent of readers of The Gate who participated in that poll were opposed to allowing telephone calls during a flight. This was in response to the approval of a recommendation by the Advisory Committee for Aviation Consumer Protection of the Department of Transportation of the United States that — if safe and secure — commercial airlines should be able to decide whether passengers can place telephone calls during flights.

A similar poll conducted at this discussion posted on FlyerTalk — which is still open — revealed similar results: 89.05 percent of the participants of that poll were also opposed to the use of telephones by passengers during a flight.

What if the airline offered an incentive — other than disciplinary action — for a passenger to put down that mobile telephone in order to promote a more peaceful environment before or after a flight? The incentive could be a small snack or a little piece of airline memorabilia, for example.

Management of hotel and resort properties might want to consider offering a similar type of small incentive in lobbies and other “public” areas to promote a quieter environment.


I have already reported on the dangers of texting while driving; but talking on the telephone while driving is potentially dangerous as well — and yes, I practice what I preach, as I never use my mobile telephone whenever I am driving a vehicle.

Whenever I am using my mobile telephone to talk to another person, I usually attempt to find a spot which is at least somewhat private — although complete privacy is preferred — and I usually use headphones or earbuds while talking. Additionally, I try to speak as quietly as possible. The mobile telephone is always set to vibrate, as I never activate the ring tone.

If I am with someone in person, I typically do not answer my telephone, as I find that rude to the person who is with me. The same policy applies when I am with two or more people. As much as I am not typically an outgoing person, human interaction is still important — and no amount of technology can replace it.

This is why I believe that the “Cell Phone Coop challenge” — a restaurant giving a patron a free dessert for promoting quality time between two or more people while sharing a meal — is a good idea; and extending the concept to other venues and situations should at least be considered.

Source: Chick-fil-A.

4 thoughts on “Free Dessert Simply for Putting Away Your Mobile Telephone?”

  1. Wendy says:

    That would be easy for me. I use my cell phone for basically emergency use only. Never text and half the time walking around with a phone that needs to be charged..

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I am not much of a talker with a telephone, Wendy — so I can relate…

      …but I will bet that I use the texting function and keep my telephone charged more often than you.

  2. Captain Kirk says:

    Chick-fil-A is awesome

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I typically do not eat chicken when I dine out, Captain Kirk — and I do not patronize fast food restaurants very often…

      …but I do like a classic Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich and a side of their waffle fries once in a while.

      Trivia: Did you know that I met Truett Cathy — the founder of Chick-fil-A — once; and his son Dan twice?

      Truett surprised me with a business card which doubled as a coupon for a free sandwich. I never redeemed it and still have it…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.