Want Wi-Fi With That?

How’s this for (long overdue) business change? : McDonald’s, the place where your kids make you go for periodic infusions of too much fat and sodium, has decided that the Wi-Fi Internet access they’ve installed and almost nobody has been paying for should be . . . free.

Wow. You think?

I remember when McDonald’s first installed Wi-Fi a few years back, and it was free. Then I remember when they limited things so that you had to buy a meal to get a code that entitled you to a limited time online. At some point they decided we’d pay. Almost no-one did. Ugly path that McDonald’s took to get to this point notwithstanding, I applaud them for this latest move, scheduled to take effect in a few weeks.

I’m not one of those the internet should be free! people (actually, maybe I am). But it’s so obvious that when a company like McDonald’s spends a couple of hundred dollars to set up Wi-Fi in a restaurant, and only a few dollars a month keeping it running—and by the way, those small numbers assume customers aren’t going to just be piggybacked on their existing WiFi networks used for store operations—that the benefit in extra coffee sold by making access free will far outweigh the potential revenue to be gained by charging for it.

Especially when Starbucks, Barnes and Noble, and Panera Bread all give away the access.

So congratulations, McDonald’s, on enacting a business change that will cost you nothing and gain you plenty.

Now: what can you do to enact simple, cost-effective business change? Ask us.

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