Every expenditure that a restaurateur makes is a calculated risk. From deciding whether to provide outdoor
restaurant furniture to choosing just how late is "too late" to stay
open. One decision that’s becoming more
necessary, though, is whether or not to offer free Wi-Fi. Many business owners see this as a weak
investment, but in reality, providing this service has numerous benefits.
Attracts New Customers
Maybe the greatest benefit of offering free Wi-Fi is the fact that it
will get those bar tables full of new patrons. Many individuals prefer eating somewhere that they don’t have to use
their data plan to access the internet from. In fact, over half of people stated that they’d be just fine sitting in
a cafe by themselves if Wi-Fi was available in the establishment. This means that everyone, from constant
social media updaters to individuals who just moved in and haven’t yet made
friends, will want to visit the restaurant.
Results in Higher Revenue
Getting new patrons in the door obviously results in higher revenue,
but having free Wi-Fi will also result in those individuals spending more
money. Restaurateurs who were asked
about revenue after providing free Wi-Fi revealed that many customers stayed
longer and spent more money while visiting. It’s not enough that patrons can sit in the outdoor restaurant furniture
and pick up a signal from the hotel next door; having a dedicated service will
keep customer money flowing.
Small Investment, Huge Reward
Considering the many benefits of offering free Wi-Fi, its low cost is
also a huge advantage and reason that every restaurateur should make the
move. Gone are the days when an area has
one service provider that can charge whatever they want. Almost every town in America now has
competing internet service providers, and this means that prices have been
driven down so low that it’s almost pointless to not offer Wi-Fi.
Meeting Expectations of Patrons
Whether patrons are in the outdoor restaurant furniture taking in
nature or in a back corner of the eatery enjoying a drink, they have come to
expect free Wi-Fi. For crying out loud,
even McDonald’s offers the service at this point. If customers can get internet while at an
assembly-line fast-food joint, they’ll surely expect it at an eatery with fancy
cafe tables and chairs. Not letting them
down means they’ll be back.
Potential for Improved Marketing
Getting the chairs for a restaurant full requires more than just free
Wi-Fi; it also requires great marketing. Fortunately, these two can easily be combined. Although customers will be more excited about
the ability to just hit a button and be connected, it’s much smarter for a
restaurateur to require a login before customers can access the web. Simply asking for an e-mail address to sign
on can gather important information to utilize in the restaurant’s email
While, at first glance, it may seem as if there’s
no return on investment from offering free Wi-Fi, the aforementioned benefits
blow this belief out of the water. People expect free Wi-Fi these days, and the advantages of providing the
service are undeniable. For
restaurateurs who haven’t yet taken the plunge, it may be time to reconsider.