McDonald's offers to lock up your smartphone for more family time

In an unexpected move encouraging people to go offline during dinner time, McDonald's has introduced phone lockers at one of its outlets in Singapore.

It's getting harder for families to have quality bonding time over meals with both parents and kids glued to their screens.

Waiters would blow a whistle and show a yellow card when someone was caught using a phone.

The mobile phone locker, the first-of-its-kind in Singapore, encourages parents and children to put their devices away safely and focus on family bonding, it said. In an Instagram post, a user shared a photo of the almost empty 100-locker station at the outlet in Singapore.

A survey conducted by McDonald's last month consisting of 302 parents discovered that 98 per cent of the parents and 91 per cent of the kids have the habit to use their mobile devices whenever they are together, with over two-thirds of respondents in the survey using their smartphones when they had their meals. "Will you ever see 1 phone in da box?" he wrote. These parents are apparently positive about the idea that could discipline them and their children to keep away from digital distractions during family time, McDonald's said.

This user, who tried out another initiative which aims to get people to stack their phones away in a corner, says they lasted all of "five minutes".

Now the fast food giant has made a not-so-subtle attempt at changing that.

Customers can select the locker feature at no extra charge when they place a food order at the self-ordering kiosk.

Also, 58 per cent of parents said they feel unhappy when another family member uses a mobile device during family time.

McDonald's said it was collecting feedback at the Marine Cove branch before any plans to expand the service to other outlets.