Want free, in-store wireless access with that? That's the question some McDonald's
In a move set to coincide with tomorrow's unveiling of Intel's
The McDonald's offering is a unique one, though. By ordering an Extra Value Meal, customers can get one hour of wireless access right there in the store. Use up the hour and want more? Simply order another combo, or pay $3 for another hour.
McDonald's will first roll out the program in 10 Manhattan locations, and then in 300 locations in New York City, Chicago, and an unannounced California city. (Who will be the lucky one? San Francisco? Los Angeles?)
Will customers bite? Coffee shops and bookstores are logical fits for laptop users and wireless access. Students, for example, already spend time there, tapping away on essays and research papers. But a fast-food restaurant? Bellying up to your laptop while juggling greasy fries and a dripping burger sounds less than appealing, but maybe people are so time-pressed that they'll go for it.
Then there's the question of demographics. Does the average Mickey D's customer own and carry around a laptop? If not, will wireless access draw new customers? McDonald's, in need of novel ways to drive store traffic, certainly hopes so. Plus, the demographics are likely more selective at the "chosen" locations.
It will be interesting to watch how the program unfolds. McDonald's may yet become a cool hangout for laptop and Big Mac lovers. Or customers may find that greasy fingertips and computer keyboards, combined with too many Extra Value Meals, give them indigestion, thereby disconnecting from McDonald's.
Foolish Disclosure: LouAnn Lofton owns shares of Starbucks.