Does WiFi Make You More Money? Ask Schlotsky’s Restaurants

February 24, 2007

There Are Only 3 Ways to Make More Money

Did you know that you have only 3 ways to make more money?

1. Get New Customers.
2. Get Customers to buy more and/or pay more while they’re dining.
3. Get Customers to come back more often.

That’s it. I go into more detail in a book that I’m currently writing on the subject. If you would like to know when that becomes available then subscribe to this blog.

You might be thinking, “If only it was that simple.” The truth is it is that simple. People add complexity to almost any situation. Take baby steps and you’ll see your revenue increase.

Here is one simple thing that you can do to get people to stay in your restaurant longer and therefore spend more money while they’re there.

Wireless Fidelity. (WiFi)

Why WiFi?

Schlotsky’s, the sandwich chain, put computers in their stores long before it was the cool thing to do. They discovered that they made more revenue during down times by doing this. How easy is that? I told you it was simple.
This WiFi thing plays to #2 above: Get customers to buy more while they’re dining.

Do you want people hanging out surfing the net in your restaurant?

You might immediately be thinking of some of the negatives. If you are then you’re probably not the “do what ever it takes to be successful” type, and for you I would recommend a philosophical change, and if that’s too hard for you then I recommend a career change.

Sure there may be a few downsides to WiFi, but I believe they are among the worries that never really happen. Like author, Mark Twain said, “I’ve had many troubles in my life, many of which never happened.”

Don’t overlook this proven method for getting people to hangout longer in your restaurant.

Intstalling a WiFi System is not difficult

More than likely you already have an internet connection in your building. Most WiFi routers simply plug into you existing Internet connection. If you’re afraid you might not have enough bandwidth simply call up your provider and ask for more. Many ISP’s (Internet Service Providers) will have bandwidth throttling. This allows the ISP to measure what you use and charge accordingly.

There are also several companies that offer solutions specific to restaurants. A simple google search will reveal some of these companies.

One company has a revenue calculator that is interesting. If you decide to charge people to surf they may not make it a habit. However if you restaurant is located near a convention center or has a lot of business travellers near it you could benefit from the “emergency” surfer. Check out that revenue calculator: http://www.whotspot.com/partner_rev.htm

If one of your concerns is that you’ll have fewer table turns during lunch thereby creating a negative situation amongst servers, you might could install a service that charges during lunch and dinner hours but is free during downtimes. This way you overcome the issue of revenue loss due to WiFi campers.

Another way to overcome WiFi Camping is to set up a specific, and comfortable, area where you allow lunch time surfing. This is similar to what Schlotsky’s did. They set up a bar of Macs. It looks cool and people use it.

Don’t pay too much for your WiFi!

You shouldn’t have to pay more than $200 bucks to get the equipment. The prices have fallen dramatically
on routers. The most important piece of WiFi is the bandwidth. Be sure to have a watershed conversation with your ISP before you dive into the WiFi world. Don’t be afraid to take the plunge. More and more customers expect it.

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