People today are connected like never before through the internet. Mobile devices and tablets allow people to browse for information check email and send messages at any time and place. Unfortunately, data plans aren’t cheap. Spending time away from WiFi eats away at plans and oftentimes forces people to seek out places where free WiFi is offered.
In other words, there’s a reason why coffee shops and fast food restaurants offer free WiFi: customer retention. If someone finds a place they can either work from or kill time at, they’re more likely to stay for longer. One cup of coffee becomes two; perhaps the customer chooses to buy a snack or sandwich. For your restaurant, this could be the difference between a quick lunchtime break to setting up a remote office for a few hours.
Once customers are done for the day, they’re going to remember that your restaurant offers free WiFi. This makes them more likely to return and stay an extended period of time. Free WiFi can also be enough for these customers to tell others about your restaurant. Off-site business meetings, freelancers pitching to clients and meetups between friends are all much more possible if there’s internet.
Employees and Management
Your restaurant employees likely work six to eight-hour shifts at a time. While employees can check their phones during breaks, data usage can quickly add up depending on the apps and media used. If employees wish to receive messages and notifications while working, this amounts to hours of data usage that could otherwise be used in more legitimate areas where WiFi is unavailable.
Simply put, free WiFi is a sure way to boost employee morale. Perhaps you can use this as a hiring incentive along with existing employee perks such as menu discounts. If you need to run meetings with other managers or invested parties, WiFi is more convenient than relying on ethernet cables running from the office computer.
Managers and owners hesitant to offer free WiFi in their restaurant often feel that they’ll be taken advantage of. Customers might only buy a cup of coffee and stay for hours using up the internet. While this is an understandable concern, there’s little evidence to support that people spend less when there’s free WiFi. Small Business Trends, for example, conducted a survey of small businesses that offered free internet. Few reported that customers spent less while 50% reported an increase in customer spending.
Today there’s more to running a successful restaurant than the food. Offering free WiFi is a smart move that can greatly benefit your restaurant. You can attract new customers and keep them at your establishment for longer. Employees and other involved can benefit from convenience and reduced data usage. Restaurant competition is fierce - yours can be the place that everyone turns to in a world where everyone likes to stay connected.