The fast food giant is said to have signed a deal with Internet company Softbank to install wireless network links in nearly 4,000 of its restaurants. However, while it is increasingly popular for cafes and restaurants to offer Internet services, the trend looks unlikely to spread to McDonald’s outlets in Europe.
McDonald’s is reportedly planning to offer its Japanese customers high speed Internet access.
McDonald’s is hoping to attract more customers through its doors in Japan with the introduction of high-speed Internet services into its restaurants – according to the Nihon Keizai Shimbun. Although it is not the first restaurant to think of such a proposition, the deal highlights the room for flexibility in any format, if there is the necessary demand.
McDonald’s has gained another reason for consumers to enter its restaurants and its share price has apparently reacted favorably to the news – its Japanese shares gained 3.5% to Y2,990. Softbank, despite the apparent boost to its business, saw its shares decline 2.4%.
The proposed network, which could be installed later this year if this month’s tests are successful would allow people with laptops and palm-top or hand-held computers to send and receive data at broadband speed. But while the technology-loving Japanese consumer (and the relatively cheap installation of Internet networks in Japan) may make this a viable concept – it would appear less likely to be coming to local McDonald’s outlets in Europe.
The novelty value of the Internet may be wearing off for many consumers, and although some increasingly time pressed or traveling workers may appreciate being able to have Internet access during their lunch hour – many may think there is little benefit in the offering Internet access in fast-food establishments. And for those that really need to have anywhere, anytime access wireless technology is likely to be the connection of choice.
The move by McDonald’s highlights that the firm is willing to change a standard product in order to meet consumer trends, but outside of Japan the Internet would seem unlikely to generate much store traffic. In other areas, core competences are more likely to be order of the day.