What if we recharged ourselves as often as we recharged our phones? Or if incoming text messages and emails didn’t distract us from the conversations we are having with the people in front of us? These are questions we have been asking ourselves here at LPQ and hope to get you thinking about in our restaurants this summer.

Now through the end of the August, we’re challenging you to take a break from the digital world by sealing your phone in a box for a whole meal. Keep the box sealed and dessert’s on us. Up for the challenge? Come visit us to find out more.

The idea of being more mindful in our everyday lives has become pretty trendy lately, and rightfully so. The New York Times cited a Microsoft survey concluding that the average person’s attention span has fallen to eight seconds, which is shorter than that of a goldfish. Gallup found that 81% of people admitted keeping their phones near them almost constantly during waking hours.

Image via William Iven

At the same time, Time magazine reported a Penn State University study linking mindfulness to reduced stress and lower blood sugar. While more research may be needed, findings like these portray a cost to our increasing dependence on our phones, and a benefit to dialing back.

“There is zero substitute for spending real time together,” our CEO, Vincent Herbert said. Vincent got the idea for our phone in the box project from his own experience at home, when his youngest daughter snatched his phone out of his hands and closed it in a drawer after he answered “an email or two, or four…” during his family’s ‘together’ time. What turned into a game that night of putting his, his wife’s, and his boys’ phones away for the evening turned into an idea worth testing in LPQs around the country.

“Giving people a chance to connect with others, or just reconnect with themselves, has always been a part of the LPQ essence,” Vincent said. “The phone in the box is just a little reminder that we have always been here to help people make meaningful connections.”

In some cases, guests have found the challenge a breeze. In our Larchmont restaurant, LPQ Entrepreneur Maria York told us about a guest who “wanted to bring her kids in so they could learn a lesson from us. They’re just constantly on their phones, and it certainly does not stop when they eat, either together as a family or alone.”

Other times, parents said they themselves “just couldn’t disconnect. They love checking their phones, and feel this is their time to relax and catch up on texts, emails and social media.” At that table, it was the kids who put their phones away – in part because they really, really wanted dessert, but also to show their parents they’re “not actually on the phone all the time!”

We’re thrilled to see the boxes sparking conversation and guests rising to the challenge, with some even putting their phones in the box without question as to why the box is there. We can’t wait for more of you to join us – to allow you to truly relax for the short time you stop by our tables.

“While it can definitely be a challenge at first to say no to that faint buzzing noise coming from the drawers, it gets easier the more that you do…and the reward is unbeatable,” Vincent said.

Are you part of the 81% of people addicted to their phones? Check out the apps Huffington Post recommended to measure your phone and social media use!