I Now Pronounce You Man & Wifi

What's the first thing you look for when you go to a restaurant?

If you said, "the menu", you're becoming a rare breed.

If you answered "wifi access" (that's the title of this post after all), then congratulations, I commend you for your undying devotion to the worldwide web.

By now you're probably rolling your eyes heavenward and bracing yourself for another one of those diatribes about how "smartphones are ruining relationships" and the perils of digital addiction, but hear me out. While all that is somewhat true (I'm your prototype crunchy granola tree hugger, after all), I bet you're not aware that restaurant owners are waking up to the pitfalls of wifi access, deeming it bad for business.

Or maybe you are, if you've come across that article about the differences in customer's eating behaviors between those who belonged to the pre-wifi era and the present. It's the one where the owners of a NY city restaurant were getting negative reviews about slow service and bad food, even after ramping up their staff and streamlining their menu items.

They compared surveillance cameras from 2004 vs. videos from 2014, and this is what they saw:

Average Wait Time in 2004: 1 hr 5 minutes
Average Wait Time in 2014: 1 hr 55 minutes

These are the activities that accounted for the extra 45 minutes, among others:

▪ Taking photos of food (until they had to be sent back for re-heating)
▪ Demanding assistance from waiters to set-up their wifi service
▪ Requests for group photos from the wait staff

They found out that people were spending more time fiddling with their phones than just eating and having a stab at the lost art of carrying on a decent conversation over a nice meal. It turns out that instead of contributing to good customer reviews, wifi access and smartphones were the likely culprit for poor service at that NY city restaurant.

While I'm not completely sold about restaurants forgoing wifi access (it's less awkward to eat out alone with a smartphone in hand, especially if you don't have a book to serve as a social buffer) I believe there are certain establishments that should probably not have any.

Places like a spa, where we're supposed to get lost in our own thoughts, far from the blinking lights of the internet, or the movie theater, where our full attention should be focused on only that one big flickering screen in front of us, not the one we're holding in our hand. Or conferences, where corporate types should be pressing the flesh and not the buttons of their smartphones.

Those are only some of the places we here at Poundit have deemed unworthy of wifi access, digital addiction be damned. Can you think of any other? Share your thoughts in the comment section below :)


Service Time in Restaurants Doubled in the Past Ten Years

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