These days, you’d be hard pressed to name a business that doesn’t rely on the internet in some way. Our world is hyper-connected, and technology is no longer a nice-to-have—it’s become ingrained in our daily life and our expectations as consumers. The hospitality industry—particularly food and beverage—is seeing explosive growth in its uses for technology to enhance business operations and customer experience. For hospitality brands, choosing the right internet provider is key. A fast, reliable internet connection is the backbone of your business. Not only does it allow day-to-day operations to run smoothly, it’s arguable the most important factor in customer loyalty.
"Forget Michelin stars, it’s Mbps that matter."
— Condé Nast Traveler Contributing Editor Mark Ellwood
By now, restaurant owners know they need to offer more than great food and personable service if they want to compete. And, technology is at the forefront. Restaurants (whether fast food, fast casual, or casual dining), coffee shops, and bars all rely on a strong internet connection to succeed.
This ranges from connecting your POS system to the cloud, accepting online orders, streaming music, and giving customers access to free WiFi to enhance their experience. It’s no longer a bonus; it’s an expectation. And, it doesn’t just come down to offering it. If your WiFi isn’t reliable, strong, with no interuptions, you’re risking losing customers—for good. Not to mention, it could lead to negative reviews on Google, Tripadvisor, and Yelp.
A strong and reliable internet connection isn’t just important for guests. It allows for hospitality systems to function, like time tracking, employee management, and payroll.
Restaurants and bars need a strong digital strategy
It might seem less important to offer free WiFi in a restaurant or bar than a coffee shop, but there’s an increase in customers who enjoy this perk, and even expect it. And, there’s a tangible payoff as well. According to one study 62% of businesses reported that customers stayed longer, and 50% of these spent more money—just by offering free WiFi.The dining experience has also been impacted by online apps like Instagram and Yelp. By offering customer WiFi you’re meeting your guests where they already are—and encouraging content sharing while they’re still under your roof. Customers can post photos of your food and ambience, or post an online review, and you can encourage them even further by offering incentives and custom hashtags for their content. There’s been amazing innovations in food services in the past few years; WiFi technology is transforming the way businesses are run and the customer experience. There are restaurants using digital ordering, with servers using tablets or iPads on every table. Guests can place and pay for their own order seamlessly, and it’s still delivered to your table by staff (to maintain the personal touch). Then there’s digital waitlists, allowing staff to use an app to maintain their guest list, and call or notify them via text when the table is ready.
In addition, the huge popularity of delivery apps like Just Eat, DoorDash, and UberEats to connect customers with their favourite (and new) restaurants. Businesses rely on these apps to drive more sales; largely through the visibility and discoverability it gives them. Using these apps can significantly increase brand awareness and revenues for restaurants, without the need to add more serving staff.Restaurants also rely on wireless ePOS terminals to process credit and debit card payments from customers. And, many are using VOIP—it acts like a traditional landline phone using your existing internet data lines to send audio over the internet. Restaurants still need a phone number to take reservations, and handle any customer enquiries.
Digital strategy can even impact a restaurant's atmosphere. A strong connection provides the ability to play music or entertainment, and even control the lighting through smart devices that allow you to set the right mood at the right time—automatically.A reliable, strong internet connection is necessary to make this all possible. If your connection is bad it can impact your business— such as less tips for staff which can lead to a decrease in employee morale and even staff turnover.
Coffee shops and cafes are the new home office
Coffee shops and cafes probably seem like an obvious choice when it comes to the importance of free customer WiFi. The freelancers / remote workers / digital nomads of the world are using their coveted coffee shop as their home office. In 2019, 66% of companies allowed their employees some form of remote work — and 16% of companies are completely remote. A lot of these employees choose to forgo working from home, and enjoy the cafe setting to keep them focused and productive. If your WiFi is reliable and strong, these loyal customers can become daily fixtures at your shop—not a bad deal, considering they’re likely to spend a minimum average of $150 a month.
Ensuring you have a seperate wifi login for staff and customers is important, including a branded splash page for customers to set yourself apart from competitors. Having enough internet speed is equally as important. It can be tempting to go with the cheapest option available, but to ensure you have no down time and enough bandwidth aim for a minimum of 75 mbps or greater. Strong, reliable internet also allows your staff to accept payments (via online platforms like Square), stream background music to set the ambiance, and handle day-to-day functions like emails to suppliers.
There’s no doubt, internet and WiFi technology has forever changed the way we enjoy dining out, and the way we work. It enhances our lives in so many ways—but it also leaves us vulnerable to cybersecurity and online threats. The more we connect, the more personal information is out there and at risk. A key piece to making sure hospitality businesses can reap the benefits of technology, is choosing an internet provider that protects sensitive data (like credit card information) from viruses, malware, and other threats.
For any hospitality business staying connected, it can also provide valuable insights into which social networks and websites their guests use, so they can target those channels to drive more traffic and revenue.
If you’re running a coffee shop, bar, or restaurant, don’t overlook the importance of choosing an internet provider that will keep your business and staff running efficiently. Make sure your choice includes security, consistently fast speeds, down-time back ups, 24/7 customer support, a simple to manage dashboard, and the ability to give guests what they want most—free, reliable WiFi at their fingertips.
If you’re a hospitality business, you need a simple (and reliable) internet solution. TELUS Workplace as a Service Basic is Canada’s largest and fastest network, with Office Internet, Wi-Fi, security and collaboration solutions with one point of contact to support your business.
Learn more about TELUS Workplace as a Service Basic, and how it can help your business succeed.
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