Industry News | November 30, 2000

McDonald’s Adds Free Web Access to Menu

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Three McDonald’s restaurants in San Francisco have installed StreetSpace Web Stations, allowing their customers to literally "walk up to the Web" for free. By touching the screen of the stylishly designed Web Stations, customers will have free access to a wide variety of popular websites and online services, including HotMail, Yahoo! Mail, eGreetings, ABCNEWS.com, CitySearch, FOXSports.com, and SFGate.com for San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders content.

"Adding the StreetSpace Web Stations is a fantastic way for us to offer our customers more of an experience in the restaurant," says Rose Nash, regional director of business technology at McDonald’s. "Not only does it give our customers free access to the Internet features they crave, but it helps us initiate a conversation with them."

Recognizing the increasing need to build a strong presence online, many retailers are calling on StreetSpace to help them leverage their physical space to introduce their websites to customers. The Web Stations at McDonald’s will prominently display a McDonald’s-branded website with links to contests and promotions, customer feedback, food facts, online job applications, McDonald’s merchandise, and information on Ronald McDonald House charities. Making these features available will enable these McDonald’s locations to create a two-way dialogue with their customers and provide a more engaging experience in the restaurant.

"We have always considered McDonald’s the perfect venue for our Web Stations", says StreetSpace founder Tom Mathai. "McDonald’s has over 27,000 restaurants around the world, which are visited by 43 million customers every day. Most of them use the Internet. Our goal is to someday provide free e-mail and Web-based content to all 43 million of those McDonald’s customers. So far, it’s been a big hit here in the San Francisco area."

As was the case with the StreetSpace Web Stations introduced at Pacific Bell Park in early August, users do not have to pay to use them. In order to ensure that customers do not have to wait long to use a Web Station, there is a 15-minute time limit for each session. Most users stay on a Web Station for about 5 minutes, quickly checking their email, news summaries, sports scores, or browsing the shopping sites.

Since the Web Stations run on a private broadband network, powered by high-speed digital subscriber lines (DSL), users are able to view entertaining rich media content, including 49ers and Raiders highlights, music videos, movie trailers, cartoons, and up-to-the-minute news clips. During the final week of the Presidential race, McDonald’s customers were able to check in at ABCNEWS.com to see short clips of the candidates from the campaign trail as well as the latest poll results.

"All content providers and e-tailers are guaranteed category exclusivity on the StreetSpace private broadband network, providing them with a very cost-effective way to drive traffic to their sites and acquire new users," says Michael Wranovics, VP of Marketing at StreetSpace. "At McDonald’s restaurants, sponsors are able to reach a large audience of mainstream consumers when they are ‘taking a break’ and have a few minutes to check in."

With its network of Web Stations, StreetSpace is creating a new space for accessing Web-based content - the retail space. When consumers leave home or work today, they generally lose their access to email and other Internet services. Web Stations make it possible for people to stay connected for free in the places where they gather, shop, and hang out.

On October 22, 1999, StreetSpace launched the first Clicks-and-Mortar NetworkÔ with over 60 high-traffic retail locations in Berkeley, CA. StreetSpace, which is now poised to expand its private broadband network nationally, is helping retail businesses leverage their physical space to build a stronger online presence and provide their customers with free access to rich media content and online services. The StreetSpace offering consists of compact, stylishly designed Web Stations connected to a private broadband network. Standard features on a Web Station include the retail partner's online offering, plus free access to e-mail, a city guide, news, sports, online shopping, and other popular online offerings.