Taco Bell to Provide Free Wi-Fi at U.S. Restaurants

By Ed Silverstein July 05, 2011

Taco Bell will provide free Wi-Fi at each of its U.S. restaurants within four years, according to media reports.

Taco Bell will also provide customers with TV screens at its restaurants that will show music, lifestyle, entertainment and sports programming, according to a report from The Independent.  Each of the 5,600 of the Taco Bell restaurants in the United States will provide the free Wi-Fi service by 2015.

Only 40 of the Taco Bells now provide free Wi-Fi, according to The Independent.

On the TV, U.S. Taco Bells will show programs from the Restaurant Entertainment Network, which is already used by such chains as Denny's, Arby's, Wendy's, Carl's Jr, and Hardee's, according to The Independent.

In addition, the Restaurant Entertainment Network will reach about 48 million Taco Bell customers every month, according to a report from Hospitality Technology. Advertisers and content providers will be able reach Taco Bell patrons while they eat in the restaurant.

“Our consumers come to us for great tasting tacos and burritos, and now we’re enriching their experience with the addition of indoorDIRECT’s Restaurant Entertainment Network,” David Ovens, chief marketing officer for Taco Bell Corp, said in a company statement quoted by Hospitality Technology. “As the value leader in Quick-Service Restaurants, The Restaurant Entertainment Network will add even greater value to the Taco Bell experience and feature engaging content such as music, lifestyle, entertainment and sports, and also free Wi-Fi to keep our consumers connected with their friends.”

Other fast-food chains, such as Starbucks and McDonald's, already offer free Wi-Fi to customers in their restaurants. McDonald’s gives free Wi-Fi at 11,500 of its U.S. restaurants. U.S. and Canadian Starbucks have provided free, unlimited Wi-Fi – for about a year. Before, users signed in with an account and password, and only could use the Internet for two hours each day at the restaurant.

In a related matter, Burger King will provide free Wi-Fi in 2,200 of its restaurants located in 12 European countries, such as Germany, the United Kingdom, Ireland and the Netherlands.

Also, restaurants that provide customers with meals as they dine, such as Applebee's, Chili's and Hooters, currently provide on-screen entertainment, according to media reports.

In other restaurant news, TechZone360 reported that Starbucks has introduced Starbucks for iPhone, an app with a Starbucks Card eGift feature on a mobile device. It also combines features of two apps for iPhone and iPod touch – myStarbucks and Starbucks Card Mobile, TechZone360 added.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2011, taking place Sept. 13-15, 2011, in Austin, Texas. ITEXPO offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. To register, click here.

Ed Silverstein is a TechZone360 contributor. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

TechZone360 Contributor

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