Until very recently, using a phone at the dinner table was frowned upon.
But now, this seemingly anti-social behaviour is becoming much more commonplace - with 18 per cent of Britons admitting to checking their phones three or more times during a meal at a restaurant.
With 30 per cent of people eating out more often than they did 10 years ago and 93 per cent of UK adults owning or using a mobile, the fact that 72 per cent also having at least one social media profile means that sharing an ‘eating experience’ is easier than ever, according to the research by mobiles.co.uk.
So the fact that as a nation we are becoming more snap-happy is also no surprise - with 27 per cent of UK restaurant visitors saying they always or frequently use their phone to take a photo while eating, and a further 17 per cent admitting to sharing a restaurant experience on social media with a photo.
‘Checking in’ to a restaurant via social media is also a common way for diner to register where they are eating. Interestingly, three-quarters of those doing so were in a high-end burger chain at the time.
The go-to app for sharing content from our smartphones is Twitter, with this channel proving most popular, at 63 per cent, for diners to inform the world what and where they are eating.
There are more practical reasons for smartphone use when dining out - 12 per cent of those surveyed have used their phone for mobile payment at a restaurant, but while 43 per cent said they have never used their smartphone to pa, they were open to the idea in future, as Apple Pay and Android Pay become more widely available.
And social media can also be the first port of call for unhappy customers. But perhaps surprisingly, while 26 per cent per cent shared positive experiences in the study, only just 7 per cent were negative.
Of the report, Andre Johnstone, Head of Digital and Loyalty at Wagamama, said: “Eating is one thing that everyone has in common and taking photos of amazing food is so appealing - particularly as the world is broadening its tastes, and people are trying dishes that they haven’t tried before.”
Matt Turner, CEO of Tastecard, the UK’s biggest discount dining club agreed, saying: “Mobile has continued to grow across many different fields, but the restaurant industry in particular has seen a massive impact. From checking in to restaurants to sharing pictures of our food, phones are involved in every step of the eating out process. With people wanting to use their phones more and more for day to day tasks, it makes sense that they would want a range of discounts available at their fingertips.”