Power Up

    Brands invest in wireless charging technology to boost traffic.


    Starbucks offers its guests convenience with Powermat’s wireless charging stations.

    The rise of wireless phone chargers in quick-service establishments could turn the casual consumer into a loyal, repeat customer. These sleek mats are either placed on or built into a table and provide guests with the convenience of charging their mobile devices by simply placing the phone in a special charging case on top of magnetic induction technology.

    “Wireless charging enhances the consumer experience by providing a solution to a very real problem: the inability to stay powered and connected throughout the day,” says Maggie Jantzen, a spokeswoman for Starbucks, which recently began a nationwide rollout of wireless chargers.

    The benefits of providing a wireless charging platform include increased traffic and higher customer loyalty for brands that adapt early, says Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Technomic Inc., a foodservice research company. “It may not initially be a huge consideration for consumers when choosing a restaurant, but it is going to be a convenience, and it will impact the attitude and behavior of consumers as they increase their use of technology,” he says.

    By providing a solution for a patron’s charging needs, these devices ultimately increase convenience, a growing consideration for the modern, multitasking consumer, says Maya Cohen Prosor, vice president of infrastructure for Powermat, a company that makes wireless chargers.

    Diners are likely to spend their time and money at a restaurant where they can refuel on food while also charging their smartphones, and that can increase restaurant sales for quick serves that offer this technology, Cohen Prosor says. “It’s similar to the WiFi revolution,” she adds. “It could become a stamp of approval, where you expect it to be there.”

    Starbucks expects the rollout of its wireless charging stations to increase traffic in stores, Jantzen says.