Cafe & Coffee Shop WiFi Management Guide
This guide has been written to help those who own a coffee shop or cafe that are thinking about setting up free customer WiFi.
Having helped hundreds of companies in the hospitality industry, there’s no better company you could come to for advice than us. So keep reading all the way till the end to learn everything you could possibly need to know about setting up a safe, fast and dependable WiFi connection for your customers.
Do You Really Need To Give Customers Free WiFi?
It’s an unfortunate fact that in 2023 and beyond, the public expect free WiFi when they visit a coffee shop.
Not offering WiFi, or offering a connection that doesn’t meet your customers requirements, puts you in an unfavourable position – especially if there are nearby competitors that do have a decent set up.
How Does It Benefit Shop Owners?
An often unexpected benefit of offering WiFi in coffee shops is an increase in revenue. This might be hard to imagine, since your not going to be charging customers to use the WiFi, but there are 3 ways we’ve helped coffee shops in the UK increase their profitability via their free WiFi, and they are as follows:
- Customers spend more money
When customers have access to free WiFi, they’ll typically spend longer in your shop. As a result of this, you’ll find that they spend more money. Whether that’s on a second cup of coffee, or a slice of cake they wouldn’t have otherwise bought. Over time, this can make a significant impact on your overall earnings as a company.
- You’ll win more customers
Offering free WiFi improves the service you offer to customers. And by improving your service, you’ll not only create more loyalty with the customers who already shop with you, you’ll also attract many new ones who are looking for a place to check work emails, finish important projects etc.
- Marketing becomes far easier
With a professionally designed WiFi network, you can easily customise your landing page to match your branding and promote any special deals you have running that day – which is a great way to increase your AOV.
You can also gain a ton of GDPR compliant data about your customers, making it easier for you to tailor your marketing messages to the right people.
And what’s more, you can even encourage your customers to advertise for you by inviting them to post pictures of their coffee on social media.
The best part? It’s almost all automated when you do it right.
Getting The Right Internet Speed For Your Customers
A common mistake many coffee shops make on their first attempt at setting up free customer WiFi is choosing a slow internet speed, as this comes at a much lower cost. The problem with this however is that that slow speeds irritate customers and puts them off of ever connecting in the future.
If you have made this mistake in the past, you’ll want to advertise the fact that you have now improved your internet speed.
The WiFi installation company you decide to use will be able to guide you on the correct internet speed for your coffee shop, as it will depend on a variety of factors, including:
- What customers are going to generally use the internet for
- How long they’ll likely stay
- The number of customers connected at one time
- Your location
- And more
WiFi Equipment & Keeping Your Network Safe
Your WiFi installation company will likely help you decide on the right WiFi equipment and security settings for you, however we decided to include this section for those that are planning to manage the WiFi themselves.
We’ve seen coffee shops set up their own free WiFi offering by allowing customers to access their company WiFi, which causes a few security issues, and so we strongly advise against it.
If you are going to use the same internet connection for both your business’ WiFi and your customer’s WiFi, make sure your router is able to create a separate WiFi connection for customers to connect to.
You should never give customers the password to the same WiFi connection you use for your business banking, payroll system etc.
It’s also important to password protect your free customer WiFi because you want to ensure it’s only actual customers who are able to access it (instead of other local businesses/households).
You should also ensure the router has the ability to limit bandwidth and filter certain content – this’ll prevent bad guys taking advantage of your WiFi and help you sleep that little bit better at night.
Teaching Staff About Your New WiFi Offering
Once you have your customer WiFi set up, it’s absolutely critical that you train each member of staff how to use it. They’re going to need to know how to reset the router, change the password on a regular basis, handle any day to day issues and answer customer questions.
None of this is going to be over difficult, but you do need to communicate to staff exactly how things need to be done to ensure there’s no room for error. For example, you must make it very clear to your team that they only share the password for your free customer WiFi, and never your business WiFi.
Turning Off The WiFi When You’re Closed
On a similar note, it’s important to turn off your free WiFi when your shop is closed to stop people who live nearby using it during the evening when you’re not there.
This is especially important if your shop is located in a built up area such as a city, since there’s likely to be a lot of people living close by who’d love to use your free WiFi in the evening to catch up on the latest episodes of their favorite TV shows.
If you have your WiFi set up by an experienced company like us, we’ll be able to automate this for you. However, if you decide to manage the WiFi yourself, be sure to add it to your team’s daily procedure to turn off the WiFi after your shop shuts for the day.
How To Give Customers Your WiFi Password
This is ultimately up to you but many coffee shops we work with have found displaying the WiFi password on a sign/poster (like one of these) or chalkboard near the till to be one of the most effective ways.
Some other coffee shops like to print the password on receipts, though this isn’t suitable for the majority cafe’s in 2023.
If you need help setting up your shop’s WiFi, get in touch with us today for a free quote
We have over 20 years experience working with cafe’s and coffee shops just like yours, click on the button below now to receive a free callback about your WiFi