As a marathon runner, McDonald’s is not typically on my list of places to eat. I have a tough time finding anything there that fits my preferred diet and still tastes good. But I’ve been reading about their WiFi deployment and I needed to do a few things on the Internet the other day, so I thought I’d give it a try. It was a pretty typical WiFi experience on WayPort infrastructure. I’ve logged on to their network many times in the past at airports, and other locations. The service is fairly reliable, and the speed is acceptable.
What I was disappointed with was the $2.95 for two hours price tag. McDonald’s is smart to get into WiFi. But I tend to align myself with the concept that WiFi used as a differentiation strategy should be free. (one of the only gripes I have against Starbucks is that they charge outrageous fees for WiFi) Especially when McDonald’s has so prominently promoted their new network as the backbone for corporate e-biz including eLearning, POS transactions, franchisee communications, and appliance status monitoring. As I sat there and clicked through my email, I could not help but smirk at the irony I was helping to subsidize McDonald’s business communications.
Here’s an idea… print a code on a customers receipt that is good for 30 minutes of free WiFi. That way, for the windshield warriors, you create an incentive to visit the store and get lunch while you also discourage people that would come and just hang out all day and not make a purchase. Or create a frequent visitor club where you can earn free WiFi minutes for some number of burgers purchased. Just a thought…. they are on the right track, but I think McDonald’s could improve upon their strategy just a bit.