New on McDonald's menu: Wireless surfing
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McDonald's Corp. has started serving up fast wireless Internet connections
along with its menu of fast food.
In a step similar
to one taken by upscale coffee retailer Starbucks Corp., the fast-food
chain said it would launch the wireless service in 75 McDonald's
restaurants in and around the San Francisco Bay Area. It plans to expand
the programme to other cities later this year, including New York and
"We serve a
huge amount of professionals, and students and families," said
Don Thompson, president of McDonald's western U.S. division. "There
are millions of customers who want to connect."
Mc Donald’s will
offer the wireless Internet connections through a partnership with
WayPort, a company that offers wireless Internet access, known as Wi-Fi,
in hotels and airports, mostly to business travelers. The company did
not disclose how much it would spend on installing the service.
The largest U.S.
fast-food chain, which has been looking for ways to offset flagging sales,
plans to charge $4.95 (RM 19) for two hours of the service to customers
with a wireless enabled computer or other electronic device.
It said it will
also offer additional promotions, such as a free connection with a Big
McDonald's said it
sees wireless service in its restaurants as a natural extension of
convenient service, which should appeal to students and professionals,
while helping drive traffic during off hours.
Still, the move was
met with some skepticism from some industry analysts who noted that
McDonald's lacked the upscale clientele that was most likely to take
advantage of constant connectivity.
Starbucks, I think it's terrific because it does keep people in some of
their stores," said Robert Goldin, a restaurant consultant with the
market research firm Technomic Inc. "With McDonald's, I don't see it.
The setting to me doesn't seem very conducive." - Reuters