Goodbye, Cable: Can You Cut the Cord at Your Restaurant?

Business.com / Industry / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

People continually cut cable out of their lives and that begs the question: Should we cut it out of bars and restaurants too?

It’s never been more acceptable to show up to a bar, restaurant or café in the company of a laptop or mid-conversation with a smartphone than it is today.

In fact, upon walking into a Starbucks or Panera Bread, it is expected. It’s pretty clear that the needs of the food and beverage customer have changed dramatically in recent years.

Because of this, hospitality managers have responded to these data hungry customers by offering free Wi-Fi connectivity and extra outlets for charging devices. Owners of new restaurants and bars work to meet these demands too, by buying more TVs and even sound-proof booths for their dining rooms. Free refills and complimentary birthday cake just don't cut it anymore.

On top of the increased need for a high-speed Internet, the addition of “cord-cutting” of cable and satellite TV is a hot topic for consumers and has been an idea that has gotten food and beverage establishments thinking. With that in mind, here are three things to take into account when considering cutting the cord.

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1. Is It Cost-Effective?

Cutting the cord is cutting a cost. Whether you’ve been in business for a long time or are just entering the industry you always have to weigh your savings against your potential loss. Understanding trends and behaviors of your unique customer base are key to determining the value at stake in your decision.

Obviously, the loss of an expense is a plus for a business. The Consumerist reported, in 2015, that DirecTV’s premier product NFL Sunday Ticket costs anywhere from $1,500 to $9,500 (for establishments which accommodate between 50 and 500 patrons) to have access to the product. This cost is in addition to their regular DirecTV bill which is based on the amount of televisions the venue operates.

Those prices start at just $19.99 per TV for limited packages and more than $100 per TV for the most complete packages. The Consumerist broke this down by categories. They broke it down by how many patrons are able to fit in that bar and by the number of payments you choose to pay throughout the year (one payment, three payments or five payments).

NFL Sunday Ticker Pricing Chart
Courtesy of The Consumerist

It’s also important to evaluate the competitive playing field around you. If there are multiple bars in the area which offers the same in TV options as yours, perhaps going in another direction would help your business. Maybe a nearby bar recently cut their cord and as a result, more of its regulars are making their way to you. If so, you would most likely want to keep your TV subscription as you are enjoying the benefits of being connected.

2. Are the Alternatives as Good (Or Better)?

If looking to switch your pay TV subscriptions to a media streaming device, you have quite a few choices. If you do make the switch to one of these, many have capabilities that would make patrons of your business happy. From special interest subscriptions like NFL Sunday Ticket, NBA Gamecast and live news channels to the basic streaming apps like Netflix and Hulu, your business can pretty much offer your customers everything they need with just the use of a high-speed Internet connection.

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If you already have Internet-connected smart TVs, streaming is the clear choice for nixing cable. Sling TV, an Internet-based television provider, offers different packages including cable news, regional and national sports like ESPN, and premium entertainment. It’s fast becoming the most popular choice for industry cord-cutters. Curious what this will run you? Give the information below a look.

Cable TV Alternatives
Courtesy of InternetChoice

3. Can You Maintain a Fast Internet Connection?

Does your restaurant have access to a high-speed Internet connection over 10 Mbps? A connection over this threshold would be the most ideal for a business attempting to run their own systems as well as serving their customer's needs. Why take your customer's needs into consideration?

Sometimes, people decide to cut the cord altogether and also get rid of Internet in their homes, not just TV. When this happens, guess who’ll end up providing them Internet access? Their favorite café, bar or restaurant, of course, and the Wi-Fi there better be Grade A. Restaurants providing customers free Wi-Fi, however, ultimately expect a few things in return.

  • First: More butts in seats (more customers and less empty seats) especially during non-peak hours.
  • Second: Steady purchases. You would expect someone using your Internet to at least order a beer or coffee.
  • Third: Loyal, repeat customers.

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Because of this, it is important to have a very high-quality Wi-Fi connection. Not only will you be providing your TVs with an Internet connection, but you will also be providing your regular customers with Wi-Fi capabilities.

This uses a lot more data and your speeds will still have to have to measure up to your competitors or you will no longer get their business. Big chain restaurants usually supply public network access. Customers only have to agree to terms of service and then they’re in for free. This can be as easy as giving out Wi-Fi passwords with receipts to create a secure, high-speed network for you and your customers.

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