sandwich shop chain is expanding its wireless networking coverage beyond Austin, Texas, according to a recent press release. The company said that it has expanded free wireless networking to 38 restaurants in six states with more to come.
The company first made headlines back in 2002 when it announced that it had
added free wireless networking access
to ten Austin locations, on top of its “Cool Deli stations” — free computers that users could access to check their e-mail, surf the Web or whatever else they wanted to. The “Cool Cloud” service provided access for road warriors equipped with Wi-Fi-enabled PDAs and laptops
Now the company is making good to expand its access beyond just Austin: Schlotzsky’s said that restaurants in North Carolina, Georgia, Ohio, Arizona and California join the Texas locations in offering customers the combination of free wireless network access and free access to computers.
For sandwich and coffee shops to offer Internet access isn’t unique or unusual, but what’s a bit different with Schlotzsky’s approach is that they’ve made it free to all comers; many such services at other places require users to pay an hourly or daily access fee to join a “Hot Spot.” Schlotzsky’s said that giving away the access is good for business.
Company spokesperson Monica Landers said that free Wi-Fi has extended the sandwich chain’s business beyond just lunch hour — more than 40 percent of Schlotzsky’s customers say they come in to either use the computers or the network.
“It has made our restaurants truly ‘hotspots’ – and after all,” said Landers, “isn’t that what every restaurant wants to be?”
Schlotzsky’s hopes to continue to expand its Cool Cloud access. For now, though, you can surf for free from restaurant locations in Amarillo, Austin, Bastrop, College Station, Houston, and Huntsville, Texas; Athens and Atlanta, Georgia; Brea, California; Centerville, Franklin, Maumee, and Willoughby, Ohio; Jacksonville, New Bern, Raleigh, and Statesville, North Carolina; and Mesa and Tempe, Arizona.