From cafes and bars to shops retail outlets, WiFi is becoming a common amenity. We’re all leading increasingly connected lives – most of us would never dream of leaving the house without our smartphone.

The internet, and the devices that connect us to it, has become as big a necessity as electricity, water, and gas.

If you don’t provide WiFi to your customers, you’re not fulfilling their expectations, or profiting from the many benefits free internet access provides.

Here is why you need to start offering free WiFi in your restaurant as soon as possible.

It Drives Business

When people go out to eat, they have a huge range of restaurants to choose from, so you need to make your establishment stand out as much as possible; offering free WiFi (and boasting about it) is a good way to do this.

If someone is trying to decide between two eateries, and one has WiFi whereas the other does not, they’re probably going to pick the former, especially if they’re active on social media and prone to share their dining experience.

You may assume that most people would not want to check Facebook or look at their emails while they’re eating, but keep in mind who your audience is.

Millennials are prone to posting selfies and photos of their food; many business people will need to stay connected to the office at all times; and parents may wish to keep their kids entertained while waiting for a table.

Not to mention the lone diner likely prefers the fact they can use the internet to pass the time and keep them company.

Four months after Pizza Express rolled out free WiFi to its 400 restaurants, it reported that more than 200,000 of its customers had logged on to the service. It’s certainly proved to be popular with its diners.

Pave the Way for Apple Pay

Customers are increasingly choosing to pay for goods and services using mobile applications, such as Apple Pay, because it’s quick and easy. More importantly, it allows customers to pay when they want – no longer do they have to wait around for the bill and the card machine to arrive.

This will decrease the levels of customer frustration and ensure they always leave happy, which of course makes them more likely to return.

However, they can’t use such services without an internet connection. In fact many of the new technologies you may want to implement in your restaurant won’t be possible without WiFi.

Smart devices are here and will no doubt become more popular with businesses in the near future – having a fridge that knows when you’re running low on a particular ingredient and automatically orders more could go a long way to increasing efficiency in your restaurant.

If you invest in WiFi now, it opens the door to so much more.

Increase Sales

Customers who connect to your free WiFi are likely to spend more time in your restaurant, which gives you the opportunity to upsell.

That businessperson that is trying to make the most of the free connection will happily buy dessert or another drink if it means they can stay for longer and finish their work.

Through your WiFi service, you can also serve targeted adverts and promotions to your customers. Why not offer them ten per cent off their next bill for filling out a short survey? That way, you’ll get some feedback on your service too.

You’re bound to boost your customer loyalty if you offer them an incentive to return.

Learn More About Your Customers

Not only can you acquire valuable feedback via online surveys, you can use your WiFi service to gather additional customer data.

You can collect information about how often they visit, how much they use the WiFi and more.

No personal data is collected, of course, but it’s all valuable stuff that can be used to learn more about your clientele and increase sales.

Free Promotion

The Instagram generation loves to take photos of their fancy food, tweet selfies with their friends and ‘check in’ to places on Facebook.

This is all free promotion for your restaurant – you want your customers to be able to do these things! Therefore, it makes sense to provide them with the means.

You could encourage them to share their experience online further by running some sort of competition.

For example, you could ask them to tweet a picture of their meal along with a hashtag for a chance to win a free meal. This will bring people back to your restaurant and increase brand awareness.

As you can see, there are plenty of reasons why you should implement WiFi in your restaurant.

In fact, you’d be foolish not to, and might fall out of favour with younger customers if you choose to ignore the obvious demand.