Restaurant WiFi – Getting the right balance

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Restaurant WiFi – Getting the right balance

The bars and cafes in the busy thoroughfare of Alicante, my home town, are not usually complete without a noisy game of dominos slammed out by old men (who could easily pass for Jack Lemon or Walther Matthau), or gigawatt lighting that surely makes the upstairs apartment floor glow. But aside from that, which you can kind of tune out from, there’ll likely be a TV up high in the corner of the bar with a volume that’ll make you squint with piercing pain, if the lights didn’t already.

That bar is clearly for a certain kind of person, who if not embroiled in a domino strategy, will stare up at the TV like a meercat. For that reason alone you would not likely take your spouse and kids there, right?

Similarly one would expect that a family isn’t likely to be in your restaurant or bar to spend the entire time on their own screens either, but sadly that’s often the case, and this is what I mean by finding the right balance.

You can safely over-deliver a WiFi service to a co-work space, a hotel room and so on, because people demand the best. TripAdvisor wouldn’t have it any other way. But take care in a restaurant environment – it’s far more subtle than that. Of course you want fast internet available as well as great coverage, but the goal is entirely different. How sad it is when you see the 3 kids on iPads and the parents solemnly scrolling through Instagram. There’s something very wrong with that special family night out.

You only really want your customers to hop on to WiFi because they will benefit from it, by learning about seasonal offers and promotions or getting a couple of pointers about today’s specials, or even just having a good connection in case the baby sitter sends a WhatsApp. But once they’re on your WiFi think twice about selfishly hooking them in, redirecting them to your Instagram page, presenting a survey or watching some primo video. If you crafted your opt-in page well, you can always do that in a follow up communication because they will have gladly signed up.

Ideally your customers will connect, sign up for offers, join a loyalty scheme, and maybe even tell you their birthday so they get showered with gifts from you once a year, but then you should guide them back to their table, and that free cocktail that’s on its way over because maybe, just maybe, they were already on your marketing database and responded to your offer!