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Restaurants Serve WiFi with a Side of Guest Perks

11 June, 2015 | Nader Fathi

Quick-service restaurants have rapidly caught on to the fact that offering guests free WiFi drives foot traffic (especially with the millennial demographic), improves the customer experience and boosts sales. From Burger King’s “Whopper WiFi” to Dunkin’s new store layout complete with WiFi and couches, the quick-service segment has officially stepped out of its comfort zone to accommodate the digital masses. It’s a smart move too as according to research firm Technomic, 65% of consumers in 2014 expected the quick-service segment to offer free access to WiFi in their restaurants. Now guests are delighted and keep coming back for more, but…

The hunger for connectivity shouldn’t stop with patrons.

As WiFi-enabled devices approach or enter a restaurant, WiFi access points detect its presence. By capturing real-time analytics of guest traffic patterns, restaurants can learn more about their customers and improve operations. Although this level of WiFi-enabled data is anonymous, it has tremendous value for corporate locations and franchises alike, such as identifying and comparing:​

  • Visitor flows/staffing: Aggregated positioning data, plotted as a heat map, lets restaurant owners visualize how visitors flow through the restaurant. They can use this to make informed decisions about changes in layout and adjust staffing to match customer demand, or shorten payment queues.

  • Visitor loyalty and dwell time: Track new vs. repeat customers, how long an individual stays in the restaurant, where he lingers and how frequently he returns.

  • Walk-in conversion rate: The most obvious driver of sales is the shop window. Its job is to convert walk-by to walk-in. More walk-ins naturally lead to more sales – and with WiFi and location-based analytics, gauging this conversion is possible.

  • Sales impact/campaign measurement: When visitor data is correlated with sales, restaurants can directly measure the commercial impact of marketing campaigns and menu changes.

Serving up guest perks and surveys 

WiFi also offers fast casual and quick service restaurants the huge opportunity to connect directly with their customers. In fact, according to IDC, 79% of smartphone users have their phone with them for 22 hours a day. When restaurants get their customers to connect to their free WiFi for Internet access, they open doors to a deeper array of marketing insights and opportunities – and offer guests a better experience. 

The marketing power of customer analytics comes from the “connected” consumer. That is, opt-in setups through which guests login to the restaurants secure WiFi, often via Facebook, in return for free Internet access (sparing their data usage) as well as a numerous perks. Offering simple incentives, such as same-day coupons on site for certain events or specials, encourages social opt-ins that enable an ongoing connection with the customer. Additionally, connected customers are able to access and share offers with their social community, demonstrating loyalty and referring new guests. 

The marketing opportunities don’t stop here. Customer analytics can also correlate and combine restaurant-captured data with demographic and consumer behavioral data for real-time, location-based marketing to proactively influence guests and increase sales.

After a guest has connected, the restaurant is able to: 

  • Collect customer demographic data

  • Gather email addresses for future promotions and campaigns

  • Instantly recognize the customer visit and reward loyalty, eliminating cards/check-in (Frictionless Loyalty Program: Location-based analytics know visitor has been there so many times and automatically offers a discounts, etc.)

  • Conduct valuable surveys in real-time for customer feedback on service and food 

The benefits of offering free Wifi to guests have not been lost on other industries either. A recent study conducted by IHL Group found that “up to 82% of retailers have already deployed in-store WiFi and nearly 28% report increased customer loyalty since deploying the technology.” Similar to the restaurant segment, the retail industry is also proving that offering free WiFi is increasing customer engagement and growing the bottom line.

To learn more about how Kiana provides customer analytics and real-time location-based marketing services that help restaurants influence guests and increase sales, visit http://www.kianaanalytics.com/.