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Should Your Restaurant Offer Wi-Fi?


There are a large number of restaurants and coffee shops in Northwest Indiana offering free Wi-Fi to customers that come into their business. Is your business one of those? If not, have you considered why you are not offering this add-on to your business?

Wireless Internet access is becoming increasingly commonplace and expected by todays connected generation and Wi-Fi access generally follows three business models.

• Fee based model

• Mixed Use, where access is provided by a code on a receipt of purchase

• Free to use

Weighing Wi-Fi in Restaurants in Hospitality Magazine by Cihan Cobangulu conducted a survey regarding Wi-Fi access.

“The results showed that: 1) Wi-Fi access has become an important amenity in restaurants and cafes in the U.S.; 2) tech-savvy customers prefer restaurants or cafes with Wi-Fi access; 3) customers prefer the free-of-charge Wi-Fi model over the paid models in restaurants”

As Wi-Fi becomes more common place in restaurants and coffee shops, access needs to be looked at as more than just something the business does, but as a marketing opportunity. Henry Kurkowski writes in Quid Pro Quo: Evaluating free Wi-Fi in restaurants

“Most studies and surveys show that people are not willing to pay for Wi-Fi especially when many establishments are offering it as a free service. They are willing however, to see a few advertisements for goods and service in exchange for that free connection. This is where the quid pro quo comes into play. With the advent of search engines, Gmail, and Facebook a whole generation has been trained to expect some things at zero cost to them. Because of that, they have simultaneously been trained to expect to see a few ads in exchange.

I am in no way suggesting placing third party advertisements on the wireless network. I am however highly suggesting that it be used for point of purchase marketing to help the host restaurant. The Free Wi-Fi network can be easily set up to offer a welcome screen that promotes new menu items or contests. It can help grab an email address for opt-in email coupons good on the next visit. It can easily be used to redirect guests to your Twitter page to help get new followers and further engage the guest well after they have left the establishment. And people don’t mind any of this, they expect it!

Here‘s the give and take about this connected generation; they expect to be given service in exchange for seeing a few ads. Then they become fiercely loyal to those services that participate in this exchange relationship with them. Look at the market share of Google, Facebook, and Yahoo mail. Don’t just give Wi-Fi away; consumers know that there is no such thing as a free lunch. So make it a win-win situation.”

If you don’t believe that, then think about the last time you gave out your email address to a business. I can recall many businesses that I have given out my email address to and now receive updates, newsletters and specials. Looking at my inbox right now, I can see emails from Tattler Canning Lids and Valpo Life, not to mention the company updates I get on Facebook from Simko Signs, Heinold & Feller, United Way of Porter County and many others.

So let’s take that free Wi-Fi connection and turn it into something that can promote your business. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us at Impact Solutions. Give us a call at 877-262-9140. And "Like" us on Facebook.

 

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