ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Friday, March 11, 2005

Free WiFi

Can I just say that Panera Bread Company (aka St Louis Bread Company in my region) has really won my favor with their free WiFi. I've been visiting their locations over the past year and a half with my laptop... And did I mention that it's free?

The interesting thing is that free WiFi fits in with their corporate strategy. In addition to early morning, lunch, and "lunch in the evening" business, Panera directly targets what they call AM & PM "Chill-out," those times between meals where they'd like patrons to come in and spend some time. With their 700+ locations, they are now the largest free WiFi provider in the country.

As Panera continues to offer its access free of charge, will other business in the same market space follow their lead? For example, at one location in my area, St Louis Bread Co shares a building with Starbucks. I would assume that Panera's signal bleeds over into the Starbucks area (who charges for WiFi as part of their T-Mobile partnership). At what point does Starbucks realize that chill-out enhances their business?

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: StWendeler

*posted from a St Louis Bread Co... somewhere in the Midwest.

Comments (2)
Brian said...

So did you make it into the "office" or not? I didnt know your lunch invitation was to BreadCo. I could have finished my work there.

Blogged from a Panera in Chicago, where I'm visiting the in-laws....

St Wendeler said...

nah.... never made it. Had to stay close to home for various reasons. went to the location near my house.