You’re not bringing that thing in here, Sir – take a number!

He sat across the table from me in the busy restaurant and reminisced. I could swear I saw a tear starting to form in the corner of his eye. “Those days, you could come in here and it would be an occasion. No music, just the gentle buzz of conversation from the tables and the waiters moving back and forth, the sound of cutlery on crockery and glasses being clinked together.”

“Now look at them all! Heads down, thumbs working at the phones and hardly a word spoken. I bet you find most of those people at that table are emailing each other while they sit there.”

Fred had a point. “Those days” that Fred was talking about was only 20 years ago. Since then the telephones have morphed from ‘bricks’ carried in briefcases to slim gadgets you can slip into a shirt pocket with technology that could virtually land a jumbo jet. But it’s not only the instrument that has changed. The whole way that people have been effected by this technological progress has changed the way we do things on a social level, too.

Internet shops became cafés as they dished out coffee in order to keep people there. More and more internet hubs sprang up as more people had the need to access the internet for business. And with the emergence of the smartphones, social media and trending favourites like Pinterest, the need for people to connect has become more pressing.

Mobile phone

Thank goodness for WiFi! Without it some pubs and restaurants would be empty. Michelle Perrett, writing in the Morning Advertiser, cites some interesting statistics on how pubs have become the ‘second office’ for many, thanks to the availability of WiFi. Internet connectivity was not what any landlord would have expected to have to consider a while back. But this aspect of running a business is the type of thing that customers who use stocktaking firms like Rutters now have to factor in to the equation of how to be efficient and stay ahead. Jon Rutter and his team of professionals continue, with careful and sustained planning, structure and foresight, doing what they can to ensure their clients stay ahead in the very competitive and demanding hospitality industry.

Many places now advertise “Free WiFi” – but obviously someone has to pay for it. And when the scale of the worldwide traffic on the internet in just one minute is considered, the result is staggering. 204 million emails, 6 million Facebook pages, 1.3 million YouTube videos viewed to mention a few. In one minute! The cost must be staggering too.

So it would seem logical that pubs, restaurants and other places where people gather to eat and drink should be up to date with technology so that at least patrons will feel they can stay in touch with their ever increasingly busy technological world from the comfort of their dinner table or seat at the bar.

Blokes like Fred who lament the passing of the ‘good old days’ are dying out. The sheer numbers of people using the new technology of smartphones, mini laptops, tablets and pads are fast outnumbering the old-school traditionalists. Despite the protestations of Fred and his ilk, it’s not going to change back, so those places without modern technology on offer might need to consider joining the trend.

Or not. Maybe the new trend will be a pub with no micro-chips allowed! How about arriving at the restaurant and being asked to check your devices in to the lady at the counter? She will put your smartphone in a box and give you a ticket (make sure you don’t lose it), and at the end of the evening will return your phone to you with the screen proudly displaying the 16 emails, 4 friend requests and 11 notifications that have arrived in the interim. Together with the reminder that you have a dinner reservation at 7:00 – 2 hours ago.

This might be something that could take off!

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