McWiFi Meal
March 11, 2003 8:54 AM   Subscribe

McDonald's restaurants in three U.S. cities will offer one hour of free high-speed access to anyone who buys a combination meal. Bookstores, Hotels and Airports are also planning to offer Wireless access to customers.
posted by Stuart_R (26 comments total)
Link courtesy of

It's hard to imagine a McDonalds full of people using laptops to check their email. Wouldn't it also encourage people to hang around, even though they've finished their "food" - with fewer tables for people interested in eating?
posted by Stuart_R at 8:58 AM on March 11, 2003

the hope is that people will order more food. however, working at a barnes & noble with both a cafe and a student study section that are always filled with college students, i have doubts that it will work.
posted by wondergirl at 9:11 AM on March 11, 2003

Ewwwww... greasy keyboards!
posted by UlfMagnet at 9:14 AM on March 11, 2003

Even assuming I was willing to bring a laptop into McDonald's, it's usually too damned noisy in there to concentrate.
posted by RylandDotNet at 9:16 AM on March 11, 2003

Instead, McDonald's should provide access to nutritious, good tasting food. This is typical of the restaurant: the wrong thing for the wrong audience, and no idea of how to change.
posted by tranquileye at 9:17 AM on March 11, 2003

McDonalds seems willing to try just. about. anything these days to reverse their slide into irrelevancy. Oh, anything, that is, except a nationally-supported veggie burger.
posted by soyjoy at 9:21 AM on March 11, 2003

I went to an internet Cafe in Munich where you got 1 hour free of internet time with the purchase of pizza. I like that and this sounds like a good idea, but I agree with UlfMagnet to some extent.

the wrong thing for the wrong audience

Not for me. I surf web and I like McDonalds.
posted by Bag Man at 9:22 AM on March 11, 2003

I think it was Doc Searls who said Wi-Fi will soon be like bathrooms, people will expect it to be provided free to customers.
posted by Mick at 9:23 AM on March 11, 2003

Whoa. 11 megabits/s? I can see McDonalds' turning into lan parties. Fragging and fries. Can't beat it.

In other news...
Geeks deemed 'unhealthiest US population', says Surgeon General.
One in three is diabetic, new report shows
Heart disease and stroke take major toll on computer-using population

posted by Slithy_Tove at 9:23 AM on March 11, 2003

Oh, anything, that is, except a nationally-supported veggie burger.

I'm confused, why would a veggie burger help McDonalds fortunes given the extremely small percentage of people who this would appeal to?
posted by ralawrence at 9:48 AM on March 11, 2003

What soyjoy said. And even if they did (re)introduce a veggie burger, I will never give one more cent to the McDeath corporation.

soyjoy always beats me to it!
posted by tr33hggr at 9:50 AM on March 11, 2003

If you supersize do you get an hour and fifteen minutes?
posted by Frank Grimes at 10:07 AM on March 11, 2003

Yes, but will they validate parking?

Sorry, but no. Puke-yellow Formica tables can only be cleaned so much. I would sooner put my head in a vat of porridge than endure the stinky, greasy atmosphere of a McDonald's nightmare.

Perhaps this is part of the great conspiracy to take out the geek population.
posted by ed at 10:22 AM on March 11, 2003

ralawrence, I think you'll find a larger demographic clamoring for a veggie burger (now a standard item in mid-level restaurants like diners) than clamoring for all-white meat Chicken McNuggets. But I could be wrong.
posted by soyjoy at 10:24 AM on March 11, 2003

I used a kiosk-type terminal at a McDonald's in southern France last month -- you bought a card with a PIN (covered by a scratch-off coating) for 15 minutes, 30 minutes, or an hour. You could save what time you hadn't used, too, which was nice.

It was an easy and good way to check my e-mail on the road. (note to McD's bashers: I only went in there because I was craving a soda with ice.)
posted by Vidiot at 10:30 AM on March 11, 2003

Actually, a veggie burger doesn't seem like a farfetched concept - specially on these times where most people are carrying on the "healthy food" bandwagon. Sure a McVeggie would, after all, be as healthy as a grease-laden plate of pork chops, but that's where McMarketing comes in of course.

We've had kiosk-type McD's who offer internet (non-WiFi) access for years. It probably will take some more to see that coming in here.

McD's in France? I thought there were barely surviving in there.
posted by betobeto at 10:39 AM on March 11, 2003

i would eat a McD's veggie burger if it were a last option, i.e. rest stop on a road trip surrounded by all meat choices.

but i'd much rather have Waffle House

and i agree with Mick. despite all the mighty forces aligned against it, free broadband wireless shouldn't be that far away.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:54 AM on March 11, 2003

I think it was Cory that once floated the notion of turning "growing more quaint by the day" payphones into 802.11 hotspots. They already have the wiring and power requirements. What an easy way to provide a wireless infrastructure to urban people on the go. Charge $10 a month to register your MAC address and rake in the dough.
posted by machaus at 10:54 AM on March 11, 2003

Ah, the all-white-meat McNugget, an idea whose time has come.

Notice the fine print in the commercials.

I would like to know the ratio of chicken skin to actual white meat that is processed into those little golden morsels of nuggety goodness.
posted by archimago at 11:55 AM on March 11, 2003

I can't wait for my happ e-mail.
Watch out for the McPacket loss.
If you don't brush afterwards, you get blue tooth.
Hacked by the hamburglar.
posted by nofundy at 12:57 PM on March 11, 2003

I've never had it, but a know of non-veggie people who seem to like the BK Veggie.
posted by gluechunk at 1:10 PM on March 11, 2003

Actually the burgers are not as bad as the buns which are made out of all sorts of weird chemical arrangements.
posted by stbalbach at 4:22 PM on March 11, 2003

McDonalds bun ingredients.

alpha amylase, mono- and diglycerides, propionic acid, phosphoric acid, calcium sulfate, ammonium chloride, monocalcium phosphate, ascorbic acid, azodicarbomide, corn flour, soy flour, potato flour, calcium peroxide, diacetyl tartaric acid esters of mono- and diglycerides, ethoxylated mono- and diglycerides, silicon dioxide, sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate, fungal enzymes, emulsifiers, sodium or calcium propionate (as a preservative), sesame seeds.

ummm fungal enzymes are higher on the list than sesame seeds.
posted by stbalbach at 4:25 PM on March 11, 2003

The truly unfortunate thing about this arrangement is that it pushes that awful term "WiFi" further toward common awareness and acceptance. It's less pronounceable and certainly no less cryptic than the simple technical term it is supposed to replace. Let's hope the McDonalds' advertising just calls it "wireless Internet access".
posted by Mars Saxman at 4:59 PM on March 11, 2003

um, that ingredient list is scary! fungal enzymes are weird, I'd like to know which ones, but silicon dioxide is sand. azodicarbomide is incidentally a bleaching agent.
posted by rhyax at 5:22 PM on March 11, 2003

I could maybe see the success of pulling a venture like this at a Starbucks or even a Barnes & Noble, but in McDonalds? I think it's a bit of a stretch to think it might drastically increase their business. How viable does everyone think a venture like this is?

Mmm, fungal enzymes and boo greasy trackpads.
posted by dmjavier at 11:32 PM on March 11, 2003

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