Coffee Shops Putting Curbs On Laptop Users
Coffee shops have for long been synonymous with leisurely sips of coffee and great conversation with friends and colleagues. However, the New York coffee houses have been putting curbs on people who come to spend hours while ordering just one cup of coffee. Now a Washington, D.C., coffee outlet, the “Filter Coffeehouse” is also closing in on people who spend too much time while keeping potential customers waiting outside. The coffee house has specifically targeted those who bring laptops with them and use the free WiFi services to do their work. Read on to know more about the story.
1) The Key Changes
After enjoying its share of popularity at the Dupont Circle, “Filter Coffeehouse” opened a new outlet at the Foggy Bottom earlier this week. While announcing its presence, the coffee shop also made it clear that it will not provide WiFi services at the new location. However, if that sounds extreme, listen to this – the shop owner Rasheed Jabr told the media that he was banning the laptops inside his shop. While the practice of not allowing laptops to be used inside coffee shops may not be all that new in cities like New York, it is definitely a first in Washington, D.C.
2) The Predicament
Explaining his predicament, Jabr said, “We’re going to put some up nice little polite signs that say ‘Please leave your laptops in your bags. This coffee shop is for socializing and conversation.’” His dilemma may find support in the fact that a 2010 survey conducted by WorldatWork, a non-profit global network revealed that 34% of respondents worked from a restaurant or a café. The figure was 23% in 2008. Explaining this trend, Kate Lister, president of Telework Research Network, said, “We’re social animals. We like to have other people around. The coffee shop is the next chamber of commerce.” So, you see, the coffee shops are not completely wrong in discontinuing the WiFi services and discouraging usage of laptops inside shops.
3) The Trend Elsewhere
If you look at some of the signs put up at neighborhood coffee shops in New York City, you will understand what the trend is. Sample this, “Dear customers, we are absolutely thrilled that you like us so much that you want to spend the day.... people gotta eat, and to eat they gotta sit.” This sign can be seen outside more than one of Naidre’s coffee shops in the city. The present economic downturn is responsible for the owners of these coffee shops pinching on facilities like WiFi and wanting to bring in more customers than usual. Idle workers, who usually occupy tables, nursing a single cup while surfing Internet for hours cannot be good news for the coffee shop business.
4) The Conflict
While the customers are not very happy about this development, the owners of these coffee shops themselves appear to be in a conflict of opinion. Naidre’s owner Janice Pullicino, who has earlier dabbled in computer-graphics business, loves technology and she is remorseful about limiting its use in her own shop. However, business won over remorse as she explains that once she saw that people who were using laptops at her shop were keeping the lucrative business out, she thought of this “cost-cutting measure.” However, some shops are considering more laptop users as a means to expand their business. Sebastian Simsch, co-owner of Seattle Coffee Works, added “more outlets and higher speed” because of the growing number of laptop users, whom he considers a “reason to expand.”
This trend seems to be a part of the evolution of the coffee house culture. However, the overall sentiment is against laptop users for now as a website recently wrote, “Good luck staying open when you’re turning half your clientele out on a Friday night.” So next time, you head to your neighborhood coffee shop, leave the laptop home.