Starbucks has launched a new free Wi-Fi service that will enable its customers to get connected with just one click, removing the need to be members of the coffee chain's loyalty programme.
Customers with Wi-Fi-enabled gadgets, including laptops, smartphones and tablet computers, will be offered unlimited web access at the 650 company-owned stores in the UK through a one-click entry point, following demand for a more simplified service.
Previously, customers needed to be members of the Starbucks Rewards programme, which required a user name and password.
Starbucks said the initiative reflects a broader strategy to prepare for the increased footfall and international customers that will result from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
"Our customers told us that they liked our free Wi-Fi, but they wanted it to be easier and faster to access," explained Brian Waring, vice-president of marketing & category for Starbucks UK & Ireland.
"This summer the UK will have millions of visitors from around the world for London 2012 and they'll be able to stay in touch with a single click in Starbucks. This is one of many ways we're getting ready to welcome them."
Starbucks will continue to work with BT Openzone as its Wi-Fi provider, while BT Total Broadband customers can download the BT FON app to their mobile devices, to map and connect to their nearest Starbucks.
Chris Bruce, chief executive of BT Openzone, added: "The UK is the most exciting place in the world in the run up the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
"Starbucks is supporting small and medium businesses, commuters and visitors with free Wi-Fi, allowing them to work, send photos, videos and emails to share in the buzz."
By Janie Stamford
E-mail your comments to Janie Stamford here.
If you have something to say on this story or anything else join the debate at Table Talk - Caterer's new networking forum. Go to www.catererandhotelkeeper.com/tabletalk
Looking for a new job? Find your next job here with Catererandhotelkeeper.com jobs
Blogs on Catererandhotelkeeper.com
Catch up with more news and gossip on all Caterer's blogs
For the latest hospitality news, sign up for our E-newsletters