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Seen At 11: Restaurants Offer Incentives For Diners To Drop Their Devices

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Imagine having someone offer you money simply for having good manners.

As it happens, it's a growing trend at restaurants across the country, like The Station restaurant in Bernardsville, New Jersey, that are willing to shell out big rewards for good table manners during a time when cellphones might seem like extra utensils at the dinner table.

"When you walk into a restaurant, that's what everyone is doing — they're on their phones," diner Brian Allen said.

As CBS 2's Kristine Johnson reports, many restaurants are offering diners a discount to put their phones away.

"If you make it through the duration of the meal, we'll give you 5 percent off," said Geraldine Infantolino manager of The Station. "Disconnect phones, reconnect families."

Restaurant managers say they're tired of looking at the tops of patrons' heads who are so engrossed in their phones that they don't seem to be enjoying their meals or their companions.

"What we're trying to do is encourage families to communicate a little bit more," Infantolino said.

And that's not the only discount diners can get for good manners. One receipt from a Japanese restaurant in Canada offers a $5 break for well-behaved children.

In Dallas, a burger chain is giving out discounts to people for being nice.

"What it says is some of us don't know what good manners are these days," Geraldine Napier-Fitzpatrick said, president of the Etiquette School of New York.

She says says we've all become so obsessed with our phones and computers that we sometimes need a reminder on how to act in public.

"We've gone so far that we have to come back a bit and focus on the people in front of us rather than on our devices," Napier-Fitzpatrick said.

And some restaurants, like Kasbah Kosher Steakhouse on the Upper West Side, even offer incentives to patrons who pray.

"What we offer here is a free dessert in exchange for the notion of spreading God's work," floor manager Abraham Bakst said.

Bakst says praying is not mandatory, but can enhance the dining experience.

"The notion of food for the soul really comes out in these types of promotions," Bakst said.

All of the promotions are optional but diners CBS 2 spoke with were all in favor of them.

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