That’s the idea at one McDonald’s restaurant in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The franchise owner has installed iPads on mounts on tables that patrons can use for free. The pluses seem obvious: allowing customers to surf the web encourages them to stay longer. Combined with McDonald’s big emphasis on cafe-style offerings over the past few years, this one particular restaurant is obviously thinking that patrons will buy more if they’re whiling away on the ‘net.
Of course, this sort of thing can also backfire. Starbucks, for one, has had to crack down on laptop hobos, or the people who come into cafes and mooch the free wi-fi for hours while refusing to buy additional drinks. That’s one of the reasons why Forbes doesn’t believe the free iPad idea will take off for McDonald’s, with the additional cost of the devices and table clogging being some of the others.
That negative prediction doesn’t take into account the supply side of the matter, however, wherein Apple could be offering sweetheart deals to many chains in an effort to get its device into the public’s collective subconscious. As Fox News reports, airports and hotels are also offering free iPad usage, which may or not be the result of deals with Apple.
The company has certainly saturated television shows with its products – try watching an episode of Modern Family or The Big Bang Theory without seeing an iPad or hearing the iPhone’s distinctive notification sound go off. Flooding the real world with similar products makes all kinds of sense.