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How Promoting Free Wi-Fi Helps Restaurants

BY for RMagazine

Restaurants are always trying to find new ways to increase customers, as well as gain their loyalty. Many restaurants have used the idea of giveaways as a promotional method to gain new customers. Giving stuff away for free you will attract the opportunists, but how long can you run a business like this for? Restaurant owners need to find ways to gain long-term loyalty, and one such method is to promote free Wi-Fi at your restaurant. Wireless Internet is one of the joys of modern technology, particularly for young people who find it difficult to pry themselves away from their smartphones and tablets. Restaurants, coffee shops and retail outlets have started offering free Wi-Fi access to customers as a way of gaining their loyalty, and you should definitely consider doing the same.

The Benefits of Offering Free Wi-Fi

Have you ever sat down in a coffee shop or restaurant and seen a sign that features a Wi-Fi code? You can use this code to log on to their servers and use the Internet for free. There is a good chance that whoever punches in this code will automatically have a newfound love for the establishment they’re sitting in, which in turn will inspire loyalty. If a customer knows they’re getting free Internet access with you, they’ll be coming back in the vast majority of cases.

Free Wi-Fi can benefit your restaurant in a number of ways besides allowing people to gain free access to the web.

For a start, customers who are using the web in your establishment are more likely to Tweet about where they are; upload a photo of their food to Instagram or check-in to your restaurant on Facebook or apps like Foursquare. This is free advertisement for your restaurant, and you got it just by offering free Internet access. Another useful tip for restaurateurs who are offering free Wi-Fi access to customers is to have an email sign-up attached to your access. This means that they will be asked to enter their email address when they log in to the Wi-Fi. Make sure that you give them an incentive to do so, including loyalty card sign-up, competitions, special offers and access to members only materials. You can guarantee that the majority of your customers will opt in, even if it’s just to say thanks for the free Internet access.

Things to consider

It’s important to remember that many hotels, restaurants, retail outlets and shopping malls don’t offer free Wi-Fi, and sometimes the ones that do aren’t supplying high speed internet. The only thing worse than no Internet access is slow Internet access, so make sure that your supplier is giving you a great connection. Many hotels will charge their guests for Wi-Fi access, so if tourists are heading out into towns and cities without having checked Facebook or their emails for a while, finding a restaurant that supplies their customers free wireless internet access is going to gain you some huge bonus points. Here is a really good point to consider: Think about how much time flies when you’re on the web. If your customers are spending more time in your restaurant because you have free internet access, chances are they are going to buy a few more drinks from the bar or maybe they’ll take a little longer with their main course and have a dessert after a little Twitter break.

Either way, there are no downsides to offering free Wi-Fi, because it costs no more to offer it to your customers than it does for you to use it simply for your own use – including powering the point of sale systems of your operation and allowing your offices access to the web. In an age where everybody is on the web at some point during the day, it pays to offer this great service to your customers, and inspire them to become loyal patrons for years to come.

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