Friday, September 19, 2008

Fries with Wi-Fi

Hi All
When you read this message, you will probably say "How can McDonalds be so stupid".
There are several questions that also come to mind -
Does McDonalds not research the health hazards of microwave radiation before they implement this dangerous technology into their restaurants?
Do they not care about the safety of their customers?
Do they not care about the health and safety of their employees who will be exposed to microwave radiation during long shifts?
Ronald McDonald is actively promoting cancer care, but, is corporate McDonalds causing cancer by exposing customers and staff to microwave radiation?
While McDonalds Canada seems to be smarter than McDonalds US on this matter, who knows when that may change. Perhaps they should read The BioInitiative Report before making any further mistakes.
Martin Weatherall
From: Linda Sepp

You want fries with that Wi-Fi? Not in Canada, you don't
Last Updated: Wednesday, September 17, 2008 |

By Peter Nowak CBC News

McDonald's has rolled out Wi-Fi in restaurants around the world, including the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Ireland, Australia and Japan. (Matt Sayles/Associated Press)Aside from Big Macs and fries, McDonald's customers in many parts of the world have an additional menu item to choose from that Canadians do not — Wi-Fi internet access — and the blame falls either on the fast-food chain's local operation or Canada's internet providers, depending on who you ask.

The Oak Brook, Ill.-based chain, which operates more than 31,000 restaurants worldwide, has since 2002 been rolling out Wi-Fi access on a large scale in outlets around the world, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Germany, Japan and Australia. In some countries, customers pay for the access — in the United States, for example, two hours of Wi-Fi costs $2.95 US — while in others, like the United Kingdom, it is free.

McDonald's Canada, however, has introduced Wi-Fi only on a test basis to a limited number of restaurants. Louis Payette, a spokesman for the company, said only a handful of the chain's 1,400 restaurants are designated as "hotspots." He could not say why the Canadian operation was so far behind the rest of the chain.

"We do offer Wi-Fi in some of our restaurants today and are looking at enhancing the program," he said. "We continually strive to enhance our customers' experience in the restaurants. That may include a larger scale rollout of Wi-Fi in the future."

McDonald's began the Wi-Fi push in Japan in 2002, where free wireless access in public places is ubiquitous. The company introduced Wi-Fi to 6,000 U.S. restaurants in 2004, and has since expanded to 9,000 outlets to compete with other chains, such as Starbucks, that are also offering access.

In many countries, the Wi-Fi push has been part of a strategy to keep customers in restaurants longer and thus perhaps buy more food and drinks. McDonald's on Tuesday announced a partnership with Microsoft Corp. that will allow U.S. customers to use its Wi-Fi access points for free to download music onto their Zune players. The service is not available in Canada, not only because Canadian outlets don't have Wi-Fi, but also because Microsoft has not yet opened an online music store for Zune owners here.

Some market analysts say McDonald's has not rolled out Wi-Fi in Canada because doing so would bring the chain into conflict with the country's cellphone providers, such as Bell Canada Inc., Rogers Communications Inc. and Telus Corp., who have been stifling the spread of public Wi-Fi for years.

"If you look at who owns the wireless networks, it's all telcos, and they have no interest in promoting Wi-Fi because it competes with their network," said Eamon Hoey, senior partner of market strategy consulting firm Hoey Associates. "We're just behind on the technology. We're lacking terribly in competition and innovation."

Other analysts, however, point the finger at McDonald's Canada since other food chains do offer Wi-Fi. Starbucks, for example, offers Wi-Fi through a partnership with Bell, as does Second Cup with Rogers.

"There are a number of chains and retailers that have Wi-Fi so technically it's not a problem," said Lawrence Surtees, principal telecommunications analyst for IDC Canada. "That kind of rules out some nefarious carrier factors."

Instead, Surtees says McDonald's Canada has not yet converted to the new philosophy of its parent company wherein customers are being encouraged to stay in restaurants longer.

"The focus is on herding you in and out," he said. "It's about turnaround, getting you out, don't loiter."

Hoey said the economics of offering Wi-Fi are different for McDonald's than they are for Starbucks or Second Cup because they attract a different type of customer. McDonald's customers are typically more budget-conscious, which would pressure the chain into keeping the cost of Wi-Fi access low — something it may not be able to do if the asking price from the carriers to provide the service is too high.