Casual dining group Mitchells & Butlers has signed up O2 to provide Wifi in its 1,600 restaurants and pubs. The service will be offered free to patrons, but the company will also make use of it for operational purposes.

According to M&B operations director Robin Young, the wireless connectivity also allows the company to delve into social media marketing.

Chains included in the three-year deal will be Harvester, Toby Carvery, Vintage Inns, Nicholsons, Browns, All Bar One and O’Neills, with 199 Harvester pubs being the first for deployment and full rollout by October this year.

Talking to CIO UK, Young said "With our newly deployed network and todays announcement regarding WiFi, our Operating Teams will be able to materially improve guest-facing service and performance in the kitchen-management, payment and ordering space. In addition, we will be able to customise offer and communication through our digital-media platform."

The move is part of a root and branch revamp of the company’s IT systems centrally in M&B sites, many of which are listed buildings. It includes upgrades to the company’s stock and menu management systems and the introduction of mobile payment devices.

Earlier this year, M&B struck a deal with Fujitsu to provide a hosted infrastructure on a pay-per-use basis.