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Guest Blog Post – Adrian Cummins, Chief Executive Restaurant Association of Ireland

RAI CEO Adrian_Cummins

It’s no secret to anyone that the Food and Hospitality sector has grown over the past number of years and that tourism in general is up across the country. This is great news for the sector but we cannot become complacent. With this in mind, it has never been more important to have an edge over competitors, to be attracting and retaining clients. This is why having free WiFi can be enormously beneficial.

We all know that nowadays Monday to Friday lunch times are hectic. People no longer take a leisurely lunch and chat with their colleagues, instead they are attached to their phones, laptops and tablets – themselves trying to create an edge over competitors. So the nature of the way we dine has changed. We are now multi-tasking; juggling a phone call from the London office and a hot bowl of soup.

This lifestyle change has inevitably led to a change in the services restaurants, cafes and pubs are offering. We have had to catch up with this movement and start to offer our customers more services.  We advise all members of the Restaurants Association of Ireland to offer free WiFi – and not just that but quick, good quality, free WiFi.

This is the hard part – ensuring that the service remains free without attracting squatters i.e. a ‘one coffee every two hours’ kind of person. We all know one. And while these customers are relatively few and far between (WiFi etiquette seems to have come a long way although the deathly stares from waiting customers has indeed played a factor no doubt), it is important not to alienate them also.  A situation where customers and service providers meet in the middle is the ideal solution. So what many restaurants and cafes are now doing is limiting peak time free WiFi access to 20 minutes. This eliminates any uncomfortable scenarios and quite frankly is fair to everyone.

Having free WiFi in your establishment really is a no-brainer. It differentiates you from competitors, can help attract new customers and is relatively inexpensive (about the fraction of the cost of Sky Sports for example).  It’s good for your business and it’s good for your customers.

Peadar Gormley

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