Schlotzsky's reports 40 percent of customers consider Wi-Fi and Web browsing as factor in visiting: As the chain has expanded to 38 company-owned and franchise stores mostly in the South that offer in-store free computer access and Wi-Fi, their latest market research shows a significant uptick in awareness.
The company reported that 40 percent of customers surveyed considered Wi-Fi and computer access a factor in their decision to come to Schlotzsky's, while 6 percent said Wi-Fi access alone was why they were there.
Schlotzsky's a franchise chain, so in order for the firm to expand this offering beyond company-owned stores, it needed to convince franchise holders of the financial efficacy of offering free access to computers and Wi-Fi in the stores. These latest numbers seem to prove it.
I've met the CEO and the marketing director when I invited the CEO to speak at a panel I moderated at Wi-Fi Planet last year, and the most interesting aspect of the Wi-Fi is that they're not excited about the technology but its uses. There's a financial aspect to this, of course: the average purchase price of a Schlotzsky's customer is about $7.
But the CEO wasn't a geek; he liked seeing entire families or sports teams or groups of parents and kids come in and spent time using the high-speed connection. It's important to recall that a small but significant minority of Internet users have broadband; for the rest, Schlotzsky's offering is a profound (and free) pleasure.