An Arab-owned restaurant in Abu Ghosh, Israel has come up with a brilliant new Slow Food marketing campaign that may get people eating better: restaurant owner Jawdat Ibrahim has promised a whopping 50 percent off your bill if you turn your cell phone off when dining.
Ibrahim, 49, owner of the restaurant called Abu Ghosh, tells AP that smartphones have really destroyed the modern way people are eating. An over the top and generous discount may sway people back to a more serene period of life when people came to his restaurant to eat, not to talk on the phone, text or surf while dining.
He told AP: “I’m changing something. It might be something small, but maybe in some small way I’ll be changing the culture of eating,” said Ibrahim, pictured above with satellite dish full of hummous.
(Related: If you want to change the world in your own small or big way, with food or with your own idea, apply for a seed grant from the TD Bank Friends Environment Foundation).
Ibrahim’s restaurant in Abu Ghosh is a pillar of co-existence, drawing both Arabs and Jews to come to dine together in the Arabic village. He is no stranger to publicity. We interviewed him in the recent past when in 2010 he helped Israel earn the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest plate of hummous. The four ton meal was served on a satellite dish. And the record was fleeting.
Some say that Ibrahim is in a good position to be able to offer deep discounts: in the 1980s he won $23 million in an Illinois State lottery in the United States, and used some of the money to start up his successful restaurant which is located about six miles from Jerusalem.
This new stunt to offer discounts to people who turn off the phone should also be applied to people who can finish their meals at the restaurant – a place which serves hearty meals with meat and hummous, salads and the like. It’s a place where eyes are often bigger than the belly and where the staff like to spoil guests.
The Israeli society at large is trying to shake up prices in food items – a trend which started a few summers ago with tent protests around the country. A new chain on the market called Cofix is attempting to upstage Israeli coffee chains by charging about $1.25 for a cappuccino which costs about $3 or $4 at your every day cafe.