Couple on a laptop and cell phone at a cafe.

More and more, people want to stay connected when they’re out and about, especially while they’re in a social setting like a restaurant or cafe.

A local consultant in Atlanta takes prospective clients out to lunch once a week but only to restaurants that offer free Wifi.

The reason? She needs to access the Internet to display certain parts of her client presentation.

Similarly, a family with young children wants to enjoy a quiet meal on a Saturday night but they only go to restaurants with free Wifi because they want to be able to use tablet computers to stream television shows for the kids to prevent them from becoming too rambunctious while waiting for the meal.

Over at another table, a young couple enjoys using the free Wifi to post photographs of their splendid appetizer to different social media accounts.

These are just three examples of consumers who actively seek out restaurants with free Wifi. More and more, people want to stay connected when they’re out and about, especially while they’re in a social setting like a restaurant.

For the business owner, the increase in customer satisfaction is a good reason to offer free Wifi. But another reason to offer it is that you can use free Wifi to enhance your marketing.

Many systems will allow you as the business owner to direct Wifi users to your website when they first log onto the system. On your homepage, you can display all of your meal specials for the day along with reminders of upcoming events and coupons in exchange for signing up for an email newsletter. In other words, you can use the Wifi login process to your marketing advantage.

Is it complicated to set up?
Some business owners have cited technical difficulties in getting Wifi set up as a reason not to offer it. That may have been true years ago but many IT companies can offer solutions that make getting free Wifi installed almost as easy as plug-and-play. Ask your phone or internet service provider to help with the setup if you need it.

What will it cost?
There will be an initial cost for the equipment (remember: you will want to keep your business Wifi separate from the Customers Wifi). The router should cost anywhere from $50 to $100. Beyond that, there will be a monthly fee to your Internet Service Provider and that should be less than $100 or so per month. Compared to the business it should bring in, the costs are really negligible.

What about security?
Security is a natural concern and there are several measures you can put in place to protect yourself and your customers. First, you can put an encryption service in place to prevent prying eyes from reading customer emails. Second, you can provide a password to customers so that they are required to login before using the system (as opposed to having an open access Wifi network that anyone can join).

In addition, many Wifi providers allow business owners to prevent access to certain websites or types of websites. If you have a family friendly establishment, you may want to consider blocking some sites that would not be suitable around children.

Want to learn more about restaurant technology and how a point-of-sale system can boost revenues? Contact us today for a demonstration.

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