McDonald's Still Thinking WiFi
from the not-much-doing dept
Sort of a strange update on the whole McDonald’s WiFi thing, as News.com(.com) has a long article basically saying McDonald’s is still thinking about WiFi. Not sure why that’s newsworthy by itself. They’ve been working on WiFi for a while, and once they announce which provider wins the deal (Cometa, Wayport or Toshiba) there will be a ton of coverage. The article does do a good job, however, laying out the questions about whether or not McDonald’s should charge, and if so, how much. Of course, it seems pretty obvious. McDonald’s claims their reason for offering WiFi is to attract more customers for the food – since customer numbers have been dwindling since people have apparently started caring (at least a little) about what they’re eating on a daily basis and deciding that perhaps McDonald’s doesn’t meet their needs. The reporter also talks to the manager of a San Francisco McDonald’s where WiFi is being trialed – and she says that almost no one uses it at all. Based on those two statements, it would seem like adding a fee would be a big step backwards. When you look at the success of places like Schlotzsky’s to use well-marketed free WiFi to entice new customers and the fact that multiplying any fee times zero would mean zero new revenue – it seems like charging a fee would be a pointless way to get new customers. Still, with a big McDonald’s style marketing push, and much wider coverage, if McDonald’s rolls this out properly, it could have quite an impact on the overall market for WiFi. Just based on the number of convenient locations, it would make life very difficult for other WiFi providers who want to charge. Starbucks might still get by based on the fact that it’s a bit more enjoyable to hang out at a Starbucks than a McD’s, but a big splash from a free McDonald’s WiFi could really spell the end of fee-based WiFi plans.