I've spent the last 4/5 years imploring people to install WIFI in restaurants, cafes and pubs in Dublin. I've spoken about it at trade conferences, to publicans, to owners of chains, to anybody who would listen really. My argument was that it would bring in more customers and it has. Dublin now has a number of great spots to work for the day with WIFI or to just hang out and have a coffee and catch up on the news. I wouldn't say we are spoilt for choice yet but things are certainly improving. After preaching about the need for WIFI for so long there may just be a change coming though...
The Tech Backlash
I was in San Fransisco for 3 days last weekend and my plan was to work around cafes in the city taking in the new cafes and restaurants in this little city of foodie heaven. This is the place where most trends we see around the world start and as you would expect their cafes have had wonderful WIFI, great work stations and plugs for charging. They've been like this for years. I was slightly shocked when visiting cafes that the first three I tried no longer had WIFI. When I asked in Blue Bottle for the code the barista told me "we don't have WIFI here because we prefer our customers to talk to each other". Talk to each other? What the fuck is that I thought to myself? This was the same all across town with only a limited number of places offering up WIFI. The biggest tech city in the world has started to turn its back on being connected all the time. Maybe a coffee with a friend is just that and not taking pictures of your latte and spending 10 minutes picking out the right filter for it.
So there probably needs to be a little balance here. There is nothing more annoying than being out with friends where most people have their heads buried in the phone. Sometimes I think mobile technology is making us lose all our core social skills. At the same time there are times when I want to work out in a cafe and will spend lots of money in a venue that has good WIFI. There is a time for both. I'm looking forward to seeing some brave Dublin cafes and restaurants shutting down WIFI. It would be a brave move but it is a trend that will 100% come to our shores pretty soon.
What Do You Think?
Can you live without WIFI? Should it be installed in every cafe, bar and restaurant or even just blanketed across the city? Do you go out to enjoy the company of your friends or do you want to be connected all the tie 24/7?