According to a survey of 1,000 people by marketing firm Purple, 60 per cent of diners said being given internet access would increase their loyalty to a restaurant.
And despite the popularity of ‘no phone zones’ in venues, four in ten people said they always log in to the WiFi when out for a drink or meal.
It follows a previous study by OpenTable which found that two in five people would not go to a restaurant if it didn’t have WiFi.
Gavin Wheeldon, CEO of Purple, said venues should use their smart-phone addicted customers as an opportunity to boost business.
“There’s a huge opportunity for venue owners to respond to the demand for WiFi and utilise it for targeted and timely marketing,” he said.
“It’s a massive help in turning casual customers into brand ambassadors.”
Just over a third of customers surveyed said being able to access special offers via WiFi would make them a more devoted customer, while 45 per cent said being offered incentives to pay online would do the same.
Three out of ten said they use the internet in bars and restaurants to check for promotions on drinks and food, while just under a quarter use it to look at reviews.
However, venues that mis-use online marketing could have the opposite effect, with two-thirds of respondents less likely to visit a bar or restaurant after receiving ‘irrelevant’ messages from the brand.