McDonald’s has been an increasingly lone bright spot in the dark world of food service during a recession. Sales are up, new restaurant layouts appeal to a wide range of customers, and Starbucks has a serious competitor on their hands. McDonald’s success can be attributed to a lot of things, including their bargain basement pricing, but one factor stands out above all others: McDonald’s ability to rebrand themselves as an upscale, hip gathering place rather than a junk food distributor.
Giving customers a sense of place is a great way to add value to your restaurant’s brand. Making your restaurant a place where people enjoy gathering is the strategy McDonald’s has pursued, and it seems to be paying big dividends. McDonald’s corporate offices announced recently they will be offering free Wi-Fi internet access in 11,500 U.S. locations. Clearly this move is another part of their strategy to create “stickiness,” or ways to get customers to come in and stay for awhile, which drives more sales and reinforces that sense of place in customers’ minds.
More than likely your restaurant has different priorities and customers than McDonald’s. That doesn’t change the fact that their restaurant marketing model is working, and there’s a lesson in their success for everyone.
With that in mind, I’d like to point out an article I wrote last year for The Back Burner called Become A Hotspot! which gives you the how and the why on setting up a Wi-Fi network in your restaurant.
Hey, if it’s working for McDonald’s it will probably work for you.