Some Chick-fil-A locations are offering the Cell Phone Coup challenge to encourage guests to put down their cellphones while dining.

Some Chick-fil-A locations are offering the Cell Phone Coup challenge to encourage guests to put down their cellphones while dining.

Brad Loper/Staff Photographer

Anyone who's been in a Dallas-area Chick-fil-A knows there are plenty of distractions. 

The Atlanta-based restaurant chain recognizes this and wants one less distraction for its diners -- cellphone use. 

The company is taking a cue from one of its independent owners, Brad Williams, who operates a Chick-fil-A in Suwanee, Ga. It's called the Cell Phone Coop challenge. 

Williams had his team fashion a small square cardboard box with chicken wire designs for each table to park cellphones while diners dined. The idea was to keep diners off of social media and to stop texting and spend more time with their guests or family. 

If diners successfully go through an entire meal without getting their greasy fingers on their phones, they get a free ice cream cone. 

About 150 locally owned Chick-fil-A restaurants in the 1,900-location chain are offering the challenge, but it's not known whether North Texas restaurants are participating. A company spokeswoman said Wednesday that Chick-fil-A doesn't have a list of locations because it's up to local franchise owners to participate. 

Perhaps the busiest Chick-fil-A in Dallas is at 7718 N. Central Expressway where the restaurant has dual drive-thru lanes. A manager on duty Wednesday night said the restaurant is not participating. Also, one of the busiest locations in Tarrant County, at 800 N. Walnut Creek Drive in Mansfield, is not participating. 

But that doesn't mean other North Texas locations aren't participating or that they won't.

"Customers can also check with their local Chick-fil-A restaurant as this program is fairly new and may continue to gain in popularity," spokeswoman Anne Lerner said.

It's not a new concept. A chicken restaurant in Iowa asks guests to put their phones in a special box during the meal for a 10-percent discount on their check. A restaurant in Israel offered a 50-percent discount for diners to unplug.

The Cell Phone Coop challenge

The rules of the challenge, printed on the side of the box, state:
1. Turn all family cell phones to silent and place in this cell phone coop.
2. Enjoy your Chick-fil-A meal and each other distraction free!
3. After the meal, let Chick-fil-A know that your family has successfully completed the challenge and each of you will receive a small Icedream cone.

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