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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Why Aren't Restaurants Smarter About Free Wi-Fi?

Free wi-fi means I'll drop more cash at your fast food outlet or eatery.
So why don't more restaurants and merchants offer it?
Why do most restaurants want to sell me wi-fi access over lunch?

When I go to my local Perkins or Salisbury House, or visit a good number of eateries, one of the first things I do is fire up my iPhone or iPad to see if I can surf on their dime.

So often I can't.

Instead they want to make money from me by sending me through a big service provider.

Yet, I can sit down at a McDonalds, stroll through a Safeway or wait for my sons at the orthodontist and get free access.

Those who do give me a chance to enjoy a little digital respite at no charge make me feel valued. It's an unexpected perk that cements my loyalty.

While those who hope to make a buck from selling me access come off as marketing dinosaurs. The fact that free access will increase the frequency of my visits and leave me pre-disposed to dropping more money in their establishments is lost on them.

But maybe it's not about the money. Could it be that it's a filter to discourage youths from sucking up bandwidth by filling up the booths while tethering their iPod Touches to the house router?

Whatever the case, the kids aren't there. And neither are the business customers that would appreciate a smart 21st-Century marketing gesture.

The bottom line is that more traffic equals more dollars - and those who won't serve me wi-fi gratis get fewer of mine.

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