Articles

5 Benefits of Offering Free WiFi to Restaurant Customers

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

As a restaurant owner, you’ve probably noticed customers getting ready to eat, but stopping short for one quick photo of their Instagram-worthy meal. That’s great, right? They’re likely checking into your establishment and essentially giving you free advertising.

But there’s just one thing that can put that customer over the moon: free guest Wi-Fi.

You may have thought about it here and there, weighing the risks and rewards, but you haven’t quite come to a decision. Our Kinetic Business by Windstream team is here to help!

Let’s first take a look at some of the statistics.

Worldwide, in 2015, one person had an average of three Internet-connected devices, and that number is estimated to double by 2020. Other studies show that more than three out of every four adults own a smartphone.

The takeaway? Your customers are more connected than ever, and they expect it in many of the places that they visit.

In fact, Wi-Fi leads the top technologies that have affected the dining experience positively across all age groups, one study shows. More than half even factor in guest Wi-Fi in determining were they want to eat, and even more (65 percent) say that it’s a must at quick service restaurants.

Still not convinced? Here are some added benefits that offering free Wi-Fi at your establishment — especially if you own a cafe, bar or casual dining restaurant — can give you:

1. Increased Customer Loyalty

Wondering how Wi-Fi and customer loyalty cross paths? One survey from marketing firm Purple found that 60 percent of diners would have greater customer loyalty to restaurants with free Wi-Fi. Another found that 65 percent of restaurants said complimentary guest Wi-Fi has encouraged repeat business.

But, if you think about it a little, it seems more understandable. Customers, already attached to their smartphones, do have data plans and caps and would appreciate not having to use their own service, whether they’re reading the reviews to decide what to eat or getting that drool-worthy food shot.

2. Bring in Groups and Foot Traffic

People wandering around your city looking for a quick bite to eat may stop in when they see your business Wi-Fi signal appear on their cellphone screens. And believe it or not, there are many online searches for things like “restaurants with free Wi-Fi near me.”

Aside from increased foot traffic, you may also find that groups may come in. If for example, you own a sports bar, you could open up a room for a fantasy football draft or host a watch party for a game in your area. If that’s not your establishment’s crowd, that doesn’t mean you’ll be striking out. Offering complimentary guest Wi-Fi can also help you attract groups of professionals, for example, who may be looking for a spot where they can collaborate outside of the 9-to-5 space.

3. More Time, More Money

Customers staying longer may have been one of the items you marked on the “con” list, but it actually isn’t. The longer a customer stays at your establishment, the more money they will actually spend. More than half of businesses said that providing free Internet access has led to higher sales.

4. Free and Easy Brand Awareness

Going back to our first example, recall that customer who is snapping a photo of the delicious food from your restaurant. They’re probably tagging your establishment, giving their friends and family the lowdown about what they thought of your business. (If you helped them post the photo — with that free Wi-Fi — they be more inclined to tag you.)

5. Customer Insight

You could go the extra mile and tap into Social Wi-Fi, allowing customers to log into your Wi-Fi using their social accounts. Why do such a thing? With your customers using your Wi-Fi, you can run digital marketing campaigns specifically targeting them or even potential customers that may have the same interests.

Wondering why you haven’t jumped on the free Wi-Fi bandwagon? Before you do, there are a few takeaways that could make the whole idea backfire. The most important is to ensure you’re giving your patrons a quality connection.

Once you’ve got that strong, reliable network — like Kinetic Internet with speeds up to One Gig — you’ll want to promote it — whether it’s on your website, on your banner outside the cafe, or what have you.

The last golden rule is also crucial: keep your public Wi-Fi network separate from the one you use to run your business. Intertwining the two can make your business information vulnerable.

That’s why we at Kinetic Business by Windstream offer Extra Connect, a second Internet line for your business for just $23 a month. It’ll satiate your customers’ appetites for that online connection and yours for all the benefits!