Forget the burger; soon you’ll be ordering McWi-Fi

April 16, 2007 (Computerworld) — McDonald’s best-kept secret may be that it offers free Wi-Fi with every meal. More than 8,000 of its restaurants provide high-speed wireless service to customers. The fast food giant has yet to fully promote the perk, but it has already attracted one group: Gamers using Nintendo DS systems currently account for 25% of the Wi-Fi traffic in its restaurants.

Although Wi-Fi attracts customers, that’s not why McDonald’s put it in. “It gives us a platform to use wireless applications within the restaurant,” says David Grooms, vice president of IT at McDonald’s USA.

For example, handheld devices are used for order-taking and inventory management. But since McDonald’s has opened up access to draw in more customers, “getting the word out that we are a secured wireless haven is really big for us this year,” Grooms says.
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