Will McDonalds force Starbucks to offer free wireless?
That’s Computer World’s prediction, anyway. The popular PC magazine states that the pay for wireless hotspot plan is stale and saving marketing departments competing for your money will offer wireless for free to get you in to buy their products. The longer you stay, the more you buy. McDonalds is known to offer such an inticement, and now it may look like Starbucks will … or should as well.
The prediction comes on the heals of Starbucks/Apple’s iTunes wireless store which allows users to download music they hear streaming in the any one of the 13,000 plus coffee houses. While users have to pay for the music download, the wireless access is free. So why not extend that with other revenue streams as well?
But the real issue is competition with McDonalds. The Golden Arches has recently added high quality coffee to it’s menu (that’s been rated better that Starbucks, mind you), and at least in Great Britain, the wireless connectivity is free. So why not come for the coffee and free wireless and stay for the Big Mac? Starbucks has answered the call by expanding their breakfast menu with egg sandwiches that look very McMuffin like.
In the end, it makes sense. During the depression, movie theaters had “dish night,” which they gave away free dishes with the purchase of a movie ticket. People build up entire place settings by going to the movies. When I was in college, it wasn’t uncommon to go into an all night diner for coffee and conversation, and leave after eating breakfast in the morning.
Whatever it takes to get em in the doors, that’s what Starbucks should be doing. And free bandwidth is a great way to entice them. Especially the caffeine addicted.