Are you thinking of opening a retro-styled bar offering latest custom-crafted cocktail trends like Switchels? Or what about a specialised bar for Gin lovers with a wide range of corresponding tonics? Maybe opening a microdistillery with your own taproom is your secret passion?
No matter what type of drink and food you plan to serve your customers. There’s going to be one thing that your customers demand as soon as they enter your bar: WiFi. As a matter of fact, a survey showed that over 70% of customers felt that technology, like free bar WiFi, enhanced their experience.
In order to give your customers the best guest experience, you need to get everything right. Including your decor, your staff, your drinks and, yes, your WiFi. With that in mind, here are our top five tips (plus one bonus) on how to set up WiFi for your bar.
Use Professional WiFi Equipment
You’ve poured your heart and soul into your new business. So are you going to let your customers sign in to the same crappy WiFi router that your internet company gives to pensioners downloading pictures of their grandkids? No. It’s time to put on your big boy pants and pay for a decent router. But buying the best doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll need to empty your bank account. Some of the best brands, like Ubiquiti UniFi, Cisco Meraki, Netgear and, of course, Google, can go for as little as $100. Techradar has a nice roundup of some of the best routers out there.
The standard that WiFi uses for connections is called 802.11, appended with letters to reflect the WiFi generation. For example, when WiFi was first released to the public, way back when in 1999, it was known as 802.a. As of 2020, the most widely used standard is 802.11ax and support network speeds of up to 14gb/second. Yes. 14GB. But don’t sit around waiting for the latest standard to come out before you purchase your equipment. Since WiFi devices are backwards compatible, you shouldn’t have to worry about getting outpaced by technology.
Big Place? Go Mesh
If you’ve got a large bar with lots of hidden nooks and crannies, then you’re going to want to go with a mesh network. The idea behind mesh networks is to provide all-around coverage for your bar. Even better it eliminates any WiFi blind spots. A mesh network typically consists of a number of WiFi separate broadcast units. Usually, between two to four, that seamlessly integrate into one network.
Hooking up mesh networks isn’t as difficult as it sounds. The router software usually takes care of the integration for you. Even though you may have up to 4 devices bouncing a signal around your business, customers only have to worry about connecting to a signal network. This article in Tech Advisor is a quick read and gives you a nice overview of some of the best mesh routers out there.
Setup a Captive Portal
Alright, so you’ve got your network all set up and broadcasting. You’re getting a great signal from every location in your place of business. Even in the most distant bathroom stall (for those omnipresent Tik Tok addicts). Now all you need to do is write up your complicated network password on all the walls so your customers can connect, right?
WRONG. You’ve just spent some bucks paying for a professional bar WiFi network for your business. So why give it away for free? By using a software product like Stampede, you can set up what is known as a captive portal, to give your customers access to your shiny new WiFi network.
Here’s how it works: After a customer connects, they’re prompted to register for your network with their email address or using their social media account. Once they’ve verified their email, they’re logged in. No chalkboards on the wall, but more importantly no passwords to remember or to change monthly.
The other cool part about a captive network is that it will automatically connect your customer in the future. No more logging in! And the best part – at least for your business – you now have your customer’s email address. So, win-win for you and your customers. With their permission, you can use this valuable customer information for our next tip: Automated Marketing.
Use Automated Marketing
You’re providing free bar WiFi for your customers and, in return, you’re getting their data. So use it! When you have a customer login to your WiFi with Stampede, in addition to an email address, you can ask for other details on the captive portal login screen. Name, age, gender – anything you can think of. You can even add custom questions. This is a great place to ask your customer opinions about specials you’re thinking about offering or about their favourite drink.
Once registered, you can then import your customers’ email into mailing list software like MailChimp. Or use software like Zapier to do thousands of different tasks. Like importing emails into a Google Docs spreadsheet. You can also use Stampede to send an automated text or SMS messages, reaching your customers wherever they are.
Want to reward loyal customers? Send them an email or SMS with a voucher for a free drink on their third visit. Haven’t seen a customer in a while and want to get them back? Drop them a voucher for 20% off their next visit – who can resist a bargain?
So you’ve got an awesome bar WiFi network with a captive portal set up in your bar and your customers are loving it. Now it’s time to spread the word! Put your Instagram, Facebook and Twitter usernames EVERYWHERE – menus, the walls, even on your receipts.
Encourage your customers to share their experience, and more importantly, their photos with their family and friends. Remember, user-generated content on social media means free advertising for you! To give your social media channels an additional boost, you can redirect your customers to your desired social channel once they’ve signed into your WiFi.
As we all know, online reviews influence customers’ decision making more and more. So, let Stampede send an automated message after your customers have left the venue. Asking them to login to TripAdvisor or Google Reviews and write about their experience.
Here is a short case study with one of our customers Cru Holdings, who are owning and operating six bars and restaurants in Scotland. They have used Stampede to generate more personalised email campaigns and events. But also to automate important processes and boost the overall performances of their venues.
The last bonus tip is on us! Forget about old fashioned print advertising. Our unique Stories feature allows for a dynamic in-venue promotion for your upcoming events, new menu items, happy hours, special deals and much more. Similar to Instagram Stories, they will be shown on your customers mobile during the WiFi log-in process. Therefore, viewing is guaranteed.
Awesome WiFi in Your Bar Set-Up
Now that you have awesome WiFi in your bar set up that your customers love. They’re spreading the word about you all over social media and you’re keeping them loyal with automated marketing. That wasn’t so hard now, was it?
So, if you’re thinking about taking the plunge and opening up the bar of your dreams, and see the importance of offering awesome WiFi. Why not give us a try?