June 20, 2017
I was heartened by the title question: "Should Restaurants Offer Free Wi-Fi?" I fully expected to see an article raving about the benefits of a state- of-the-art WiFi system. It IS 2017. So, I was more than a little stunned when I read - in the second paragraph - "But just because your restaurant runs on Wi-Fi doesn’t mean you have to offer Wi-Fi to your customers in turn."
To be fair, the article did, in the midst of detailing "Why not", offer arguments in favor of offering WiFi. Yet, the focus seemed clear.
"Over a 10-year period, one restaurant's turnover rate increased almost an hour because cutomers were taking pictures of food, or pausing to check their phones" (paraphrased). The assumption here is that WiFi makes people do those things. The "solutions" they suggested:
Referencing "the first episode of Mr. Robot", security risks came up. (Security can be an issue. As the article points out, real life hackers possess a skill set that makes retrieving account information, passwords, and behavior easy. But there ARE ways to avoid that.) The "solutions" they suggested:
"Don't offer it." (Seeing a trend, here?) Counterposing a "trend of slow-cooked food and locally sourced meals" against the unaddressed popularity of WiFi (84% want - and most demand - WiFi) the article gives no detailed reasoning. The suggestions are to tell customers :
(At this point, they go into pitching their POS system.)
Concerned about "turnover rate"? Time limits could be appropriate for fine dining (or other "high-dollar" venues). For others, there are ways to MONETIZE "dwellers" and turn "trespassers" into customers.
Security concerns? "Encrypt and cloak" won't work. Better to use social media as the login portal . Seriously, the social media giants have a better security team.
Whatever you do, IGNORE THE "DON'T OFFER IT" crowd. Smartphone users spent $ 600 MILLION exceeding their data limits in one year (a currently running commercial revolves around how much people have come to rely on streaming movies, etc). It's 2017. If you don't offer free WiFi, you'll just be sending them elsewhere.
On a FINAL point, the one thing right: A secure Point-of-Sale system is mandatory. DON'T EVER "JOIN" POS WITH FREE WIFI.
Follow The Data - April 11, 2017 Gather The Data - April 18, 2017 The_Right_WiFi_=_REVENUE$ - April 25, 2017 DATA Makes Business Blossom - May 2, 2017 A New Age In Free WiFi - May 9, 2017 WiFi Reported Dead - May 16, 2017 WiFi: Growing By Leaps & Bounds - May 23, 2017 WiFi: Analytics Offer Opportunities - May 30, 2017 Killing the Mall - June 6, 2017 Bringing A Knife To A Gunfight - June 13, 2017
Certain combinations, chocolate and peanut butter, wine and cheese, or flowers and candy, just fit the description "a match made in heaven". Now you can add FREE WIFI and Social Connection to that list.
Your customers are searching mobile. So many that Google is now favoring "mobile-first" website design. If your website isn't mobile-first, you're losing business.
Technology has changed. Human nature hasn't. Coupons ring the register.
GROW YOUR LOYAL CUSTOMER LIST, EXPONENTIALLY!
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