Cafés are the ideal spot for networking, social integration or really just scrolling through your Instagram feed (for free) with the warm smell of fresh pastries and coffee. In this age, people are making more use of the Internet on the go and they expect to access the WiFi hotspots while they are on the move. Cafe’s all over the world offer free Wi-Fi these days as they know that it’s pivotal to draw in customers and secure their repeat custom. But in Ghana, the reverse is sadly the case – Most “Cafés” are yet to see the importance or added edge in offering customers free Wifi.
In this digital and social age, youngins snapchatting their meals, entrepreneurs checking emails, and students working on papers or homework all have something in common – a strong desire for free public WiFi. Although many active internet users have cellular data plans on their smartphones and tablets, WiFi allows them to surf without fear of expensive data overage fees.
I’ve always been a big fan of working out of Cafés for reasons I’m yet to realize. Sometimes I say to myself, it’s probably the soliloquy since I love working without the distraction of others (Say in an office), or the constant aroma of freshly brewed coffee that keeps me in focus, or the hum of people chatting in the background that allow me to zone out and get into my own chimera, but whatever it is, as a freelancer and a writer always seeking inspiration, i can’t get much done in a Café without Wifi.
Over the past year in Accra, I’ve sampled quite a few Cafés in search of the perfect spot with very reliable Wifi. Sad to say I’ve been disappointed with some of the services available at Most. On the flipside, I’ve been really impressed at the ingenuity of some also.
Vida e Caffe
A good friend recommended i start with Vida “e” Caffe being that it had the most outlets in the greater Accra region and particularly one close to me. I paid a visit to the spot at Labone, with high hopes of getting work done. It gets good points for location. It was pinged on google Maps, hence, wasn’t so difficult to locate. With coffee and frozen chocolates averaging 12 GHC per cup and a wide range of edibles slightly higher, I was sold on the menu already.
Connecting to the wifi wasn’t so much of hassle, though i had to watch a promotional video every hour to re-connect which was definitely good PR for them. I had a Skype meeting and on different occasions, I had to switch to my Busy4G modem so i could have a steady connection. This says a lot about their wifi services. It dragged and dragged multiple times, and i could barely download a 200mb file in the 4 – 5 hrs I spent there. I involuntarily paid visits to their other spots (One Airport Square, ICON house, Ridge) and while they aced their menu, they also lacked in quality Wifi.
In my search for better service, I stumbled upon Cafe Kwae, hidden in a well architecture space at One Airport Square (tucked behind Holiday Inn). The space already felt like heaven. Air conditioned, neat, the smell of fine wood and freshly brewed coffee, I was already loving it. I needed clarification on a certain food item on the menu, and the owner Yvette Ansah was happy to help. Menu was vast and deeply seasoned. Coffee and hot chocolates averages between 12-20 GHC, and the food menu isn’t bank breaking either.
Connected to the wifi and i wasn’t sure when I loudly uttered “Holy Mary, Mother of Jesus!”. For Ghanaian standards, the wifi was FAST. Cafe Kwae is definitely a winner, setting the pace for wifi enabled cafe’s. A good spot to seal that business deal that you’ve been working on. I recommend.
For curiosity sake, I also tried out Cuppa Cappuccino, tucked away in airport city. You know those places you just have to try for the sake of “Oh, I’ve been there. It’s sh*t”?
That’s Cuppa Cappuccino! I paid a visit on a very hot Friday afternoon, only to be welcomed by faulty air conditioners.
Menu was exorbitant. Wifi was sh*t. I couldn’t even pay with my card. Although many say its a pioneer in this Cafe business, their services are still stuck in the Ice age.
Second Cup Coffee
I couldn’t complete on this journey of finding greatness without giving Second Cup at the Accra mall a try. I was wrong to pay a visit on the ever bustling Accra mall Saturday. The mall was a mad house. I defeated the odds of soliloquy and decided to go in with an open mind. They had a very attractive range of smoothies and hot drinks (Not what you’re thinking. Coffee not Gin).
This very short conversation ensued while i ordered:
Me: Can I please have your wifi deets?
Salesperson: (hands me voucher) Here Sir.
Me: How long does this voucher last?
Salesperson: 1hr Bossu.
Me: Ah! Only? Okay can i have another voucher? Because i intend staying a while…
Salesperson: No be so we dey do am Boss.
Me: How do you do it then?
Salesperson: One cup, one voucher.
I really don’t know what i felt. Shock, disappointed, cheated. But well, Life goes on. The wifi service didn’t turn out so bad. All in all it was a fairly good experience. I only wish they had less noisy outlets and an unlimited use of their wifi.
Cafe Mondo was particularly interesting due its easy access. Located at A&C mall, in the heart of East Legon, accessibility is such a niche for them. I hear they’ve launched outlets in Marina Mall and Labone. Good choice of locations – their estate surveyor must be paid well. Menu was vast with a wide range of Lattes. There was also Jollof on the menu – that’s a big minus. These brands need to understand that a menu also makes your Cafe what it is. Wifi was available, though problematic to log in to. After hundreds of attempts and settings changes, I finally got it to work. Speed was fair. Good experience.
Then there are those that don’t even know why they’re in business. The likes of Mercedes Cafe, D’Cafe, Cafe dez amis etc. They should just rebrand to jollof-serving eatries.
WiFi At Cafés Are The New Wave
Little do they know how much they can benefit from having wifi services in their spot. While people sip their coffees and check their Facebook feeds, you can be capturing all sorts of data that will help you effectively target repeat customers in the future.
The benefits are endless. Customers can log onto your Wi-Fi and automatically ‘like’, ‘share’ or ‘follow’ your business. As a business, you can profile your customers from the demographic information attached to their social media account and also send your customers details of offers and events to make sure that they keep coming back. Simply put, with free Wi-Fi customers stay longer and spend more money.
The whole world is moving in this direction. Cafés in Accra need to jump on this locomotive now so they don’t end up playing catchup later.