What Is Restaurant WiFi Marketing? All You Need To Know

Luke Januschka

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July 2, 2024
Free WiFi lays the foundation for restaurant WiFi marketing
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But, does it have WiFi? 🤔 

A study shows that approximately 70% of customers prefer dining at restaurants and cafes that offer Wi-Fi hotspot services.

Offering free WiFi is more than just a perk for keeping customers happy; it’s a powerful marketing tool known as restaurant WiFi marketing.

But what is restaurant WiFi marketing exactly? How does it work? What are its benefits? More importantly, how do you implement it into your restaurant’s marketing strategy?

Our guide breaks down everything you need to know about this simple but potent tech-based marketing strategy.

So, let’s begin!

What Is Restaurant WiFi Marketing?

Restaurant WiFi marketing is the practice of using the establishment’s WiFi network to collect valuable customer information in exchange for providing internet access.

How exactly does it work? 

When customers connect to your WiFi, they encounter a branded login page that asks for their contact information. Once they’re in, their data is stored in your marketing platform. This isn’t just about collecting emails. It’s about understanding your customers – their visit frequency, preferences, and behaviors.

With the data collected, you can send personalized offers, track foot traffic, and even optimize your menu based on customer preferences

A win-win for both the customer and the restaurant!

Benefits of Restaurant WiFi Marketing

Wondering whether WiFi restaurant marketing helps or not? Here are some interesting statistics that prove how successful this type of marketing can be: 

  • 77% of consumers are more likely to visit a restaurant that offers free WiFi
  • 62% of businesses say WiFi marketing increases customer loyalty
  • 50% of customers spend more money at restaurants with WiFi marketing.

Now that the proof is in the pudding, let’s explore the various benefits of WiFi marketing for a restaurant:

Enhanced Customer Experience

Seamless internet access means your guests can catch up on work or share their dining experience on social media. This not only keeps them happy but also encourages longer stays and higher spending.

Moreover, if a guest frequently orders a specific dish, you can send them a special offer for that item using the data collected through WiFi marketing.

Plus, having WiFi access means facilitating reservations and online ordering directly from the table. This further improves the dining process and increases operational efficiency.

Personal touches like these make guests feel valued and understood.

Increased Customer Loyalty and Retention

Did you know that acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than retaining an existing one? That’s where WiFi marketing shines.

Personalized experiences and targeted campaigns foster customer loyalty, encouraging diners to return to the restaurant time and again.

But how do you measure the success of your loyalty efforts? That’s where metrics come in.

Metrics such as repeat visit rates, customer lifetime value, and churn rates can measure the effectiveness of your loyalty strategies. By analyzing these metrics, you can identify areas for improvement and adjust your strategies accordingly.

Data Collection and Analytics

Restaurant WiFi marketing allows for data collection

One of the most powerful aspects of WiFi marketing is the ability to collect valuable data. This data can provide deep insights into your customers’ behaviors and preferences.

When customers log into your WiFi network, you can collect various types of data, including:

  • Email addresses: Useful for building your email marketing list.
  • Social media profiles: Helps in understanding their online behavior.
  • Behavioral data: Tracks how often they visit, what they order, and how long they stay.

What do you do with this data?

Say, if you notice that a significant number of customers visit during lunch hours, you can create targeted lunch specials.

Understanding these patterns allows you to tailor your offerings to meet customer needs better.

Targeted Marketing Campaigns

WiFi marketing is great for highlighting daily specials, happy hour deals, ladies’ night promos—whatever attracts more reservations.

For example, you can send personalized offers to customers based on their past behavior. If a customer hasn’t visited in a while, a “We miss you” email with a special discount can entice them to return. You can also promote new menu items or special events directly to their inbox.

You could also be sending a half-price milkshake coupon at 2 PM to families who regularly visit on Saturdays after soccer practice. 

This personal touch drives loyalty and revenue.

Read this article to find out more about how you can market your restaurant effectively!

Boosted Revenue

WiFi marketing can boost your revenue in several ways.

Directly, you can promote special offers and upsell items through targeted campaigns. 

Indirectly, the data collected through WiFi can help you optimize your menu, improve customer service, and enhance the overall dining experience, leading to increased sales.

Ensure you’re analyzing the ROI of your WiFi marketing efforts. This way, you know your investment is paying off and make more data-driven decisions to maximize your revenue.

Enhanced Online Presence and Reputation

A strong online presence can significantly increase footfall in your restaurant. and WiFi marketing can aid in that process. It can help your online visibility and reach a wider audience.

How?

With the data collected from guests who use your WiFi, you can create detailed customer profiles. These enable you to run highly targeted social media ads, more likely to resonate with potential customers in your area.

Effectively using this data can boost your visibility and ensure that your promotions reach the right audience.

8 Ways To Implement WiFi Restaurant Marketing

Done right, restaurant WiFi marketing forges lasting connections with guests seeking that elite “free WiFi” perk. So, how do you incorporate WiFi marketing into your restaurant’s strategy? 

Here are eight ways to get started:

1. Choose the Right WiFi Marketing Tool

The right restaurant WiFi marketing tool should have features like easy setup, customizable captive portals (more on that later), customer segmentation, and automated marketing campaigns.

Also, do your research and find the one that fits your needs and budget.

There are several WiFi marketing providers out there, each with its own strengths.

For instance, Beambox offers a 30-day free trial and starts at $40/month, making it a budget-friendly option. Social WiFi, on the other hand, starts at $49/month and offers a 14-day free trial.

Both platforms provide robust analytics and easy integration with your existing systems.

2. Set Up Your WiFi Network

Once you’ve chosen your software, it’s time to set up your WiFi network. This is fairly simple with most WiFi marketing software providers giving you step-by-step instructions.

Make sure you have the right technical requirements, like a compatible router and enough bandwidth to support your customers’ devices.

The placement of routers is also key. Strategically place them to cover your entire dining area without dead zones.

And don’t forget about security! You want to protect your customers’ data like it’s the secret recipe to your grandma’s famous apple pie.

To keep customer data safe, use WPA3 encryption and set up a separate guest network. Regularly update your firmware and use firewalls to protect against cyber threats. 

Make sure your customers know their data is secure—it builds trust!

3. Create an Engaging Captive Portal

Okay, now for the fun part – creating your captive portal. This is the page that customers see when they try to connect to your WiFi. It’s like the bouncer at the club, but instead of checking IDs, it’s collecting emails.

You want to design an eye-catching and branded captive portal that aligns with your restaurant’s vibe.

Include clear instructions on how to connect to the WiFi and any requirements, like an email address or social media login.

But don’t stop there! Use your captive portal to showcase your menu, promotions, events, or other marketing content.

You can even integrate social media feeds or encourage users to follow your restaurant’s accounts. And if you really want to sweeten the deal, offer incentives like discounts or free items for logging in or following your social media pages.

4. Collect Customer Data Ethically

Now, before you start collecting customer data, let’s talk about ethics. You want to collect data responsibly and transparently.

Clearly state your data collection and privacy policies on the captive portal. Only collect necessary information such as email addresses, names, and general location data. Give customers the option to opt out of marketing communications.

Because everybody hates spam emails, right?

Make sure you’re complying with data protection regulations like GDPR and CCPA. The data you collect should primarily be used to improve customer experience and personalize marketing efforts, not to invade privacy or sell to third parties.

5. Implement Email Marketing Campaigns

Email marketing campaigns can drive more reservations


Segment your email list based on customer behavior, demographics, or preferences. 

For instance, seniors want that early bird special. Students crave budget brews. And everyone loves taco Tuesdays.

Next, get those automated campaigns rolling. Set it and forget it!

Make sure to have some great email marketing ideas in stock before rolling out the campaigns.

Next, optimize your email campaigns by using A/B testing. Test different subject lines, content, and call-to-actions to see what resonates best with your audience.

Finally, monitor key metrics like open rates, click-through rates, and conversions. This helps you understand what’s working and where you can improve.

Restaurant Growth has helped countless restaurants boost their open rates and CTR while 3x-ing order value.

So, don’t let your emails get lost in the spam folder. 


6. Leverage Location-Based Marketing

Some ways to do location-based marketing include: 

  • Sending real-time push notifications
  • Implementing geofencing
  • Analyzing location data

You can take it all a step further by integrating your WiFi marketing with third-party apps or services for things like mobile ordering, reservations, or loyalty programs. It’s a one-stop shop for keeping your customers engaged and coming back for more.

If you’re new to geofencing marketing, Restaurant Growth can help. Let us handle the complexities while you focus on what you do best: serving up delicious food!

Ready to put your restaurant on the map?

Explore Our Services!

7. Encourage Social Media Engagement

Social media engagement is the key to building a loyal following and driving brand awareness.

In fact, a study by MGH found that 45% of diners said they’ve tried a restaurant for the first time because of a social media post made by the establishment itself.

One way to engage with your customers is by offering social WiFi login options, like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Not only does this help you grow your social media following, but it also gives you a glimpse into your customers’ interests and preferences.

But why stop there?

Get creative and run social media contests or campaigns that require your customers to check in or share their experiences on their accounts.

For example, Chipotle launched a TikTok challenge called the “lid flip challenge,” encouraging customers to post videos of themselves flipping Chipotle lids. For every video uploaded with the hashtag #chipotlidflip, Chipotle donated $1 to support farmers.

The campaign was a huge success, with over 110,000 videos uploaded in 6 days. 

 

Challenges and Considerations Revolving WiFi Marketing For Restaurants

WiFi marketing for restaurants comes with its own set of challenges. 

Challenge: Privacy and Security Concerns

Solution: To tackle this head-on, be transparent about data collection and usage. Secure customer data with strong encryption and regular audits. Clearly communicate your data privacy policies to reassure customers about how their information is handled.

Challenge: Slow Internet Speed and Technical Impediments

Solution: A reliable and fast WiFi service keeps customers happy and coming back. Additionally, regular maintenance can keep technical hiccups at bay.

Challenge: Unease Over Sharing Data

Solution: Address customer concerns head-on by explaining the benefits they get in return for sharing basic data such as email address, social handle, etc. The idea is to balance your marketing efforts with customer comfort.

 

Future Trends in WiFi Marketing

Future trends in restaurant WiFi marketing


WiFi marketing is evolving rapidly. Here are a few key future trends that restaurants should keep an eye on:

  • AI-Powered Personalization: AI is revolutionizing WiFi marketing by analyzing user data and behavior to deliver hyper-personalized messages and recommendations in real time.
  • IoT for Operational Insights: The Internet of Things (IoT) is enabling restaurants to gather rich customer data and optimize operations. IoT devices can track customer movements, predict wait times, and even monitor inventory levels.
  • Seamless Connectivity and 5G: As 5G networks become more widespread, WiFi will offer faster, more reliable connectivity. This will enable restaurants to provide immersive experiences like augmented reality menus and real-time language translation.
  • Predictive Analytics: Advanced analytics will allow restaurants to forecast demand, optimize staffing, and prevent issues before they arise.

Start Your Restaurant WiFi Marketing Journey Today!

Providing free WiFi in your restaurant is a strategic move that can significantly enhance your business.

By investing in reliable networks and embracing WiFi marketing, you can drive repeat business and learn more about your customers.

Now, we know what you might be thinking: “But wait, I’m already juggling a million things in my restaurant. Do I really have time for this?”

With restaurant marketing experts like Restaurant Growth by your side, you can ace WiFi marketing without having to burn yourself out. 

Restaurant Growth offers personalized support, cutting-edge features, and up to 18% profit margins – all within three months. 

Join the ranks of savvy restaurateurs who are already reaping the rewards of WiFi marketing with our expert team. Your bottom line will thank you.

Get started with Restaurant Growth today!

FAQs

Why is WiFi important in restaurants?

WiFi offers convenience for diners to access menus, order food, and share their experience. It’s now an expectation.

What is social WiFi marketing?

Social WiFi marketing involves offering free WiFi in exchange for an email address or a social media follow. It helps build your email list and social media presence.


Is restaurant WiFi marketing expensive to implement?

No, there are many affordable WiFi marketing platforms with basic plans under $100 per month. The free customer data makes them worthwhile investments.


Can WiFi marketing help increase restaurant sales?

Yes! By collecting customer data, restaurants can run targeted email and social campaigns to bring diners back more often. More visits = more sales – it’s simple math!


Which WiFi marketing platforms are best for restaurants?

The best WiFi marketing platforms/software include Beambox, Purple, Social WiFi, etc. These platforms offer customizable captive portals (also known as splash pages), email collection, SMS marketing, sales tracking, and more.


What tools or software are needed for restaurant WiFi marketing?

A WiFi router, marketing platform subscription, customized splash landing page, and analytics software are the essentials to get started.

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Luke Januschka
Luke Januschka is a pivotal partner at Restaurant Growth, where he spearheads strategies that have generated over 30 million dollars in tracked sales for our valued restaurant clients.
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