December 18, 2012

More on Digital Nomads: Panera Bread

Panera Bread was one of the first restaurants to offer free Wi-Fi. It was a good thing. People would use the restaurant as adjunct office, holding meetings or just working for an hour or two. The restaurant would shorten the amount of time you could be connected during the busy lunch period, a condition that seems reasonable.
Of late, however, the Wi-Fi service has deteriorated to the point of dial-up quality.

Even in Leominster, where cell phone coverage is thin, my phone was getting better results on two-bar 4G service (921kbps) than on the store’s Wi-Fi (896).
Add to that their use of Flash on the Wi-Fi login page and you have an unfriendly, unworkable setup.
Granted, we’re supposed to go to restaurants to eat, not necessarily to work. If your business is offering an additional service as an attraction, it’s a good idea to make it something you’d want to use. If you advertise air-conditioning, and can only keep the summertime temps at 80F, you’re not delighting your customers.
Dunno where I’ll try next, but I’m out of here.
By the way, the mall where the Leominster store is located is called the Mall at Whitney Fields, not the Searstown Mall. The mall was known as Searstown when it opened 45 years ago. It was renamed in 2004 when other anchor stores didn’t want to be subservient to Sears.