Is Wi-Fi Necessary In Restaurants/Bars?

You might remember the early 2000s (or heard stories): a time when people started to become “mobile” and cell phones started to become more accessible. Nokia and Motorola released products that could actually fit in your pocket, and using the internet on your phone was the stuff of nightmares given the costs associated with per minute access.

In comes 3G (and now 4G, 4G+, 5G), and our now beloved Android Phones/iPhones became the mini computers we know today. With this came a shift in the way we work. All of a sudden, you could conduct business from anywhere. Working from home, while convenient, was not always the best choice, especially if you didn’t have an office or designated work space.

As a result, those who wanted to work remotely, but not from home, started looking to cafes and local restaurants where they could access free wi-fi, enjoy a coffee and a snack, and get some work done.

Follow these tips to decide whether or not public wi-fi for restaurants is necessary for your concept as well as learn about the best internet providers for restaurants/bars/hotels in Kenya.

Weigh the Costs and Benefits of Wi-Fi for Restaurants

Internet and WI-FI for Restaurants in Kenya – Is it really necessary?

Are you at a distinct disadvantage today if you don’t offer free Wi-Fi for your guests?

The answer is: it depends. It depends on the type of restaurant you are running and the experience you are trying to create for your guests.

Wi-Fi is most common in limited service restaurants where guests order at the counter and take their food to go or to a table. At a full service restaurant, where faster table turnover means higher profits, opening up wifi to your guests will likely be detrimental to that metric. But that doesn’t have to be the rule. Let’s first talk about the elements of opening up guest wi-fi in a restaurant or cafe as well as best internet providers for restaurants/bars/hotels in Kenya:

Best internet providers for restaurants/bars/hotels in Kenya

Your restaurant/bar/hotel will ONLY benefit if you get fast and reliable (as well as affordable) internet connection.

The quality of internet differs depending on the Provider and the Region that your business is located.

That said, you can research about the quality of the internet that these companies provide in your area to determine which ISP to use:

1. Safaricom

2. Faiba(Jamii Telecoms Ltd JTL)

3. Zuku

4. Telkom


Longer stays, larger ticket sizes

Having wi-fi available encourages guests to spend longer amounts of time in your restaurant or cafe, leading to increased ticket size from people refueling on coffee and food during the day.

Repeat business and increase in organic advertising

If your wi-fi proves to be reliable and fast, guess what? You’re going to start seeing the same faces. While these guests are staying longer, this also means they will likely conduct casual meetings or invite friends to join at the end of a long day, giving your restaurant or cafe a boost of advertising from these loyal patrons.


Limited Available Seating

Wi-fi generally causes guests to stay for a longer period of time, meaning seating during peak hours could be scarce. This could drive away potential new guests who are turned off by an overly busy environment. To help with this, you could consider putting a time limit on internet access.

Cost for Internet

Depending on the size of your restaurant, getting the correct amount of bandwidth to operate at an optimum speed could get expensive.  Also, the best internet providers for restaurants/bars/hotels in Kenya are not the cheapest. We suggest measuring things like average ticket size and revenue per day to track if things improve after implementing wifi. While guests staying longer is generally good for ticket size, it’s important to track if it’s improving relative to the amount of time each guest has spent in your store.

Avoid Common Pitfalls

Taking these costs and benefits into consideration will help you determine if guest wi-fi is the right move for your business. One important thing to note is that regardless of if you’re opening it up to guests, you will need wi-fi for your restaurant in order to run your POS system and any streaming music or video.

If and when you decide to offer wifi for your guests, you need to make sure the two are not operating on the same network. Having your guests use the same wifi as your business products opens you up to a world of potential security and bandwidth issues. Also, ensure you get your internet connection from the best internet providers for restaurants/bars/hotels in Kenya.

It’s easy to avoid common pitfalls if you take the time to set up your wifi network correctly. Don’t just get an internet connection; ensure you research the best internet providers for restaurants/bars/hotels in Kenya for your particular region/county. Password protecting your network and either printing the password on the receipt (requiring purchase to access) or keeping it posted inside your restaurant is also an important security measure.

Finally, you will need to consider the amount of bandwidth you will need. In order to figure this out, use a tool like this calculator from Navitech that requires you to provide details of usage needs and amount of guests on the network to figure out your optimal bandwidth.

What About Social Wi-fi?

Although classic wi-fi is a safe route and one that the majority of restaurants will use, there’s a new kid in town: social wi-fi.

Social wi-fi eliminates the cumbersome process of accessing wi-fi via settings and typing in a password. Instead, it uses popular social accounts, like Facebook or Instagram, as a vehicle for guests to check in and receive wi-fi. On top of that, you have the added benefit of now knowing who these customers are and being able to market to them with targeted promotions.

At SimbaPOS, we do not just offer Restaurant and Bar POS Software in Kenya- we endeavor to provide holistic products, services and information that will ensure your restaurant/bar grows. You can check for more insightful articles like this here, check SimbaPOS pricing, view SimbaPOS Features, read success stories from customers or get in touch with us.

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