Texting While Dining out: The Lesser of Two Evils?

texting.jpNew York Times restaurant critic Frank Bruni confesses that he doesn’t mind seeing diners texting while eating in restaurants – only, mind you, because it means they’re not gabbing away on their mobile phones.

I’m a rabid texter, but I usually only indulge in restaurants when I’m waiting at the bar for my dining companions to arrive (and I’m always the first to arrive. Grrr! But that’s a blog for another time). However, it seems so many people have jobs that require them to be dialed in at all times that I agree with Mr. Bruni. Texting is far less disruptive and far more polite than either making or taking a call at the table or excusing yourself repeatedly. Just try not to text while your food is on the table lest you may insult the chef.


  1. Peter V.S. Bond says

    A few years ago, I was out to dinner with my then girlfriend. Sitting at the table next to us was a couple. After ordering food, the husband proceeded to remove his Blackberry from his pocket and began sending emails for the next 10 minutes as his wife sat there silently. Finally, I turned to the woman and said “You seem to be dining alone, would you care to join us for dinner?” The woman erupted in laughter and the husband’s face went bright-red as he grunted and quickly replaced the Blackberry in his pocket. Shortly before we left, the man got up to use the restroom. His wife turned to me and thanked me for doing something that she would never have dared to try. Nothing changes bad behavior more that the thought of public embarrassment.

  2. says

    It seems that the erosion of basic civility is continuing entirely unabated. Alas. To answer the question: No, it is not alright to text (or listen to one’s iPod, or speak on the phone) in a restaurant. So far as I’m concerned, it’s a serious breach of public etiquette to use any device which, by its nature, creates private ‘space’ in public. I do realize, however sadly, that that particular ship has sailed. That said, texting or speaking on the phone in a restaurant any nicer than McDonald’s is completely verboten.

  3. says

    Cell phones NO because it disturbs other tables. Texting OK if the dining companions agree. A new trend in our Honolulu fine dining restaurant is guests taking photos of the food and posting on Twitter. This is OK with me but please eat hot food hot and cold food cold.

  4. Christina says

    It depends on the situation. Being a single mother, I will check my texts to see if it is from my daughter even if I’m dining with a client or a significant other however I always tell the person I’m with why I must check up front whether it happens or not. I cannot stand deliberate miscellaneous texting and find it quite rude without an excusable reason which should be stated up front.

  5. says

    Not OK to text:

    1. At a family dinner, especially holiday dinner.
    2. In a fine dining restaurant.

    OK to text:

    1. At McDonald’s, Big Boy’s, TGI Friday’s, etc., if your dining companion doesn’t mind.
    2. At the above places if you’re eating by yourself.


    peter VS Blond gave a really good example. It is important to consider your partener’s feelling eventhough she might said I’m fine with that(see you texting at while we are dinning)

    Ken Blach is confusing phone call to texting. Texting is silent and does not bother any people in the other table. By said “NO” to texting Ken is ignoring that there are emergencies that one could not avoid to respond to, and texting is the better way to do it.

    OmegaWolf, Dave, and Christina made a very wise comment. Texting or not texting depend on the situation and the place. But Christina cover up the truth about her texting. Ofcause it might be to keep in touch with her daughter but the begining of her comment let think that she is could be texting to caugth a new soul mate.

    Chef Mavro make a too liberal statement by pointing out that text message is ok everywhere and whenever. We can text but respect the bond between your partner and you. Keep your him/her clause to you by limiting texting at the dinner table only to emergency responses.

    Those are my point of veiw, what are yours gyus?

  7. Ebony says

    Why is it wrong to text in a restaurant? How about people who have loud conversations? I think that is much more rude.

  8. Peter V.S. bond say says

    Hello Peter! I laught alot of what you done at the restaurant. I know the lady must be thankful to you for the rest of her life, hopefully her problem is done after that.

  9. Ken Balch says

    Hello Ken! you are totally right about it is not alright to text or speak on the phone in a restaurant. In my case I will have a consideration if the person who I am enjoying my dinner have kids.

  10. Chef Mavro says

    Hello! I like to take pictures with my friends especially when we are having fun, but when people decide to talk on their phones for long time period, it is annoying. I replied to Ken before I just justificated only if my friend expecting an important call or message.

  11. Christina says

    Hi Christina! I am relative, and I am totally aggree with you. I am a mother of two kids and I doing the samething as you when I am with a company at the restaurant.

  12. OmegaWolf747 says

    Hi Omega! I aggree with you about if e are alone at the restaurant and if we are at a family dinner but in the other situations I am not aggree with you.

  13. says

    I would certainly agree that texting is the less of two evils. One of my gripes about people talking on the cell phones while dining is that I am close enough to hear personal conversations that should not be public. Many of these discussions could be postponed.

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