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McDonalds Free Wi-Fi Users Soak Up Seating 500

Posted by samzenpus
from the super-size-my-connection dept.
bfire writes "McDonalds has earmarked potential changes to seating plans in some restaurants to prevent free Wi-Fi users from monopolizing seating, particularly in peak periods. The availability of Wi-Fi means people are now spending 35 minutes in McDonalds — rather than the average ten minutes that patrons used to spend eating there. But it appears not everyone is happy with the increased 'stickiness' of customers, with some licensees in Australia reporting that Wi-Fi users aren't turning over seats fast enough. The restaurant chain is considering options including space demarcation to deal with the problem."

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McDonalds Free Wi-Fi Users Soak Up Seating

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  • Re:Simple Solution (Score:5, Informative)

    by eln (21727) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @12:04AM (#27933213) Homepage

    Panera Bread has 1,230 locations in 40 states. McDonald's has more than 31,000 in all 50 states and tons of other countries. Panera Bread sells high quality but overpriced food, while McDonald's sells low to middling quality food super cheap. They are not competing in the same segment at all.

    So do you work for Panera Bread or are you a franchisee?

  • Re:McWiFi??? (Score:3, Informative)

    by dbIII (701233) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @12:14AM (#27933281)
    At least in Australia now the login page works with a lot of web browsers (including phone ones) and is just something to tick a box about agreeing with terms and conditions. There's some sort of blocklist as well.
  • by CodeBuster (516420) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @12:30AM (#27933389)

    Has it changed its mind recently?

    Apparently, but some franchisees are complaining (rightly IMHO) about "too much" turnaround time in their restaurants. The "fast turnaround" has always been a selling point, either stated or implied, for any potential McDonalds franchisee. For those of you who don't know or have never owned a franchise many business details are NOT up to you the owner, but rather are spelled out in your franchise agreement with the franchise owners (i.e. the McDonalds Corporation). So for example, if the franchise owners decide that all locations will now offer fancy coffee then you must pay for and have the necessary equipment installed even if you don't think that such expansion would be worth the cost in your particular location, perhaps a truck stop in the midwest were overcooked eggs and plain black coffee are the "traditional" breakfast. In this case McDonalds has mandated that you provide WiFi access to customers because the marketing drones at corporate have decided that all hip restaurants catering to the under thirty crowd must offer free WiFi to be relevant. However, this may be the first time that a new directive from corporate has conflicted with a long standing element of the core business (which many franchisees count on for their profitability), namely fast turnaround of tables in the dinning area.

  • Re:Simple Solution (Score:5, Informative)

    by eln (21727) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @12:31AM (#27933391) Homepage

    Man, you weren't kidding. Compare Panera Bread sandwiches [panerabread.com] (page 4 of the PDF), with McDonald's sandwiches [mcdonalds.com] (select sandwiches from the drop down). The highest calorie sandwich from McDonald's is 740 calories. The highest calorie Panera Bread sandwich is the Full Chipotle Chicken on Artisan French at 1070 calories. Panera Bread has no fewer than 16 sandwiches that exceed the calories of the Double Quarter Pounder.

    I thought McDonald's food was unhealthy, but damn Panera Bread's stuff is even worse! Panera Bread's stuff is also loaded with sodium, even more so in many cases than the notoriously sodium-heavy McDonald's fare. In fact, their highest sodium sandwich has more than twice the sodium as McDonald's highest sodium sandwich! Trying to pass off Panera Bread as a "healthier alternative" seems like a pretty irresponsible thing to do.

  • Re:McWiFi??? (Score:4, Informative)

    by eln (21727) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @12:40AM (#27933481) Homepage

    That's weird, I've never heard of controlled access wifi that's Windows only. Unless they were using some sort of weird ActiveX control, I don't know why such a thing would be necessary.

    When I was doing controlled access WiFi systems like that, it was basically a web page based login. Upon successful login, it just adds a firewall rule for your MAC address so you can get around the Internet. If it's timed, after a certain amount of time the firewall rule is removed. You'd have to jump through some hoops to make such a thing Windows-only.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @12:42AM (#27933495)

    Most of our Libraries don't even have free internet... let alone Wi-Fi.

  • Re:Simple solution (Score:5, Informative)

    by Corbets (169101) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @12:46AM (#27933541) Homepage

    Starbucks in Switzerland does something like this. It's free wireless, not even a purchase required: all you have to do is go to the counter and ask for an access card. However, that access card expires 30 minutes after activation, and to keep going, you have to request another.

    I'm not sure that would work back in America; it plays off people's shame and only works if they don't keep asking for cards. However, it seems to work well here.

  • by pwizard2 (920421) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @12:51AM (#27933577)
    I'm guessing he meant central Florida. Summers in the southeast are like living in a greenhouse, but worse.
  • Re:Simple Solution (Score:5, Informative)

    by svunt (916464) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @12:55AM (#27933609) Homepage Journal
    Really valid for the AUSTRALIAN restaurants the article is about. Only 12,000km to he nearest outlet!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @02:30AM (#27934105)

    What kind of people visit a maccyDs or coffee shop to sit around with wifi? THE WHOLE POINT OF FAST FOOD IS TO BE FAST!!!!! Go visit the library instead, or go home, you poser.

  • Re:Simple Solution (Score:3, Informative)

    by h4rm0ny (722443) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @03:43AM (#27934495) Journal

    This is the big selling point of McDonald's, you can have a hyper kid there and not feel guilty for disturbing the next table.

    Of course they have to be - any kid you feed McDonald's food to on a regular basis is going to be hyper and ADD. ;)

    But on a related note, many parents hate the way McDonald's by-passes them and markets directly to their kids. I have friends who have had small children who barely set foot in a McDonald's until their seven year olds started begging to be taken there. There's something wrong with that. Oh yes - it's the manipulation of children to drive your business. >:(

  • Veggies (Score:3, Informative)

    by Aceticon (140883) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @04:07AM (#27934601)

    I would be willing to bet that McDonalds and Panera share more than a few suppliers for their products. I think selectivity in food probably doesn't actually buy you too much in the long run. The human body has evolved to eat some genuinely sick stuff, and even the Golden Arches is a damn site better than a few bits of rib meat from a four day dead Zebra. If there's a problem with McDonalds, and other modern foods, medical science seems more to conclude that the food is actually -too good- for us, and so we get fat. I think the only thing one can do is probably fast one day a week, to simulate the conditions for which we are bred.

    One could argue that "The human body has evolved to eat some genuinely sick stuff". Then again, the human body has also evolved for us to live long enough to pass on our genes and help our progeny become independent - that's less than 30 years - anything beyond that is not a significant evolutionary advantage.

    Notice how the predominance of cancer is much higher in societies where the average life expectancy is higher than 30 years old ...

    I for one, would like to live a long time and be as healthy as possible during that period - hence being selective with food is important.

    Basically:

    If it looks like a cauliflower, a pea, broccoli or a Brussels's sprout then it probably is a cauliflower, pea, broccoli or a Brussels's sprout.

    If it's mashed paste of stuff, optionally cooked or baked (like bread, hamburgers, sausages, mash potatoes) then all bets are off and anything can be mixed in.

    The more processed a piece of food is, the more likely it's full of all sorts of things that won't harm you on the short term (if it outright killed you or harmed you the manufacturer would be sued and closed) but might harm you on the long term (good luck proving the link between some artificial additive that was in those hamburgers you use to eat when you were a teen and the colon cancer you got 10 years latter).

    If you want good healthy food, go for fresh vegetables (and fruit, meat and fish) instead of the processed kind.

  • McDonalds in Korea (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @04:28AM (#27934715)

    To maximize seating efficiency at peak times, in Korea McDonalds apparently has ushers that will place customers in empty seats next to other customers.

    Choice of music is another tool commonly used to influence how long customers stay. At peak times, they'll play up-beat songs. At off-peak times they'll play more soothing music to encourage people to hang around longer, so as to avoid having the place look like a ghost town.

    And there's always the 'Can I take your tray sir/madam' line when they're getting desperate. I get that one a lot when I'm half-finished, annoys the crap out of me. So I like to chew, what's wrong with that?

  • by wertarbyte (811674) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @05:19AM (#27934927) Homepage
    We now have this new thing called "HTTPS" that can prevent such things.
  • by Moraelin (679338) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @06:12AM (#27935151) Journal

    problem is they are empty "calories" meaning they are just calories and not much more. what we need is lots of different nutrients calories are easy to come by these days but it wasnt always that way so we like them when we can get them and our bodies store the extra calories in fat and since we dont burn them it just accumulates.

    Bullshit. There is no such thing as "empty calories". That very concept is on par with those who sell you some holistic natural salt based on claims that its mollecules are more jagged like the natural ones, not round and unnatural like the industrial made ones. Or on par with the audiophile-grade network cables. It's bullcrap for idiots who want to feel all superior about their nutrition, but aren't actually smart or educated enough to understand nutrition.

    For a start pretty much any animal meat will contain the same aminoacids (in its proteins) as your body is made of. There is very little you can do, short of incinerating that meat to a fine ash, to destroy those and be left with "empty calories."

    Do you understand that? There is no fucking thing that McDonald can do to a piece of beef or chicken (while still keeping it edible at all) to stop it from having the exact same 20 aminoacids that your body uses or needs.

    Also your body is very good at synthetising various things from various other things. E.g., sugars get turned into fats and viceversa. (Which is why Atkins works or why drinking will give you a fat liver.) E.g., over half the aminoacids can be synthetised from other stuff, and viceversa.

    Even "empty calories" would still have their use, since the above synthesis takes energy, same as anything your body uses. It has to come from somewhere.

    But again, there is no such thing as "empty calories". There are sugars, fats, proteins, etc, which incidentally your body can all burn to energy. Or use in other ways.

    "Different types of calories" and storing the different types as fat? Do you even know what a calory is, junior? Or what fat is? It's the same fat stored in your cells either way. If your body can convert something into fat, it will be the same fat which is used as an energy reserve. As the _same_ kind of energy reserve, as it'll get converted into glucose first when it's needed as fuel.

    There is no such thing as storing, say, vitamins or proteins as fat for later.

    So do yourself a favour. If you want to talk about nutrition, read about nutrition, not sensationalist pseudo-science or sensationalist propaganda.

  • Free Wifi my ass... (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @07:29AM (#27935473)

    It may be free in every other fucking nation, but the last time I tried to use McDonald's Wifi service here in the US, it wasn't exactly free. I had to sign up for a $20-a-month account on their damned service just to use Wifi access.

    As much as I love their Southern Style Chicken sandwiches, screw McDonald's. I'll go eat somewhere I can get truly free Wifi.

    I'm going to Krystal.

    - Lazy Georgian Bastard

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @09:05AM (#27936331)

    The term, "empty calories" comes from the radical idea that we need more than fats, carbohydrates and proteins in our diets to maintain health, even if those substances aren't used for energy. Food processing removes a lot of those other things and even transforms some things into useless or toxic chemicals (e.g. trans fatty acids). Try reading a nutrition book that was written after the 1960's.

    We're still discovering things in food that are important for health. If you want to base your diet on incomplete science and eat purified fats, proteins and carbohydrates, you're welcome to it, but please don't get a job as a dietician at my kid's school.

  • Re:Coffee (Score:2, Informative)

    by SCPRedMage (838040) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @11:31AM (#27938471)
    If I recall correctly, McDonald's has a deal with Nintendo so that people can play their DS's online at their stores. Since a DS can't get past the whole "captive portal" thing, that would kinda be a deal breaker...

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