Cafe and coffee shop laptop curtailment is on the rise with owners announcing revenue increases since they began limiting laptop users. But there are other cafe owners like John Kim, who feel differently about the issue. According to an article in the Chicago Tribune News, Kim is one of two brothers behind The Brothers K Coffeehouse in Evanston, a popular cafe for laptop squatters. Kim’s opinion? “I love it, as long as I have space for it, which is generally the case.” Instead of blocking electrical outlets and limiting laptop users, Kim placed plug multipliers at each electrical outlet and installed a counter along two windows where laptop users can enjoy the view.
There are approximately 20,000 coffee shops in the United States with combined annual revenues equaling almost $10 billion according to the Center for Economic Vitality at Western Washington University, Bellingham, Washington. Two noteworthy factors mentioned in this coffee shop study are:
- Market research and understanding
- Non-Coffee Sales…”coffee culture”
Cafe owners can use a little ingenuity and add a possible 5 percent extra to their revenue by adding laptop culture merchandise to their inventory. It’s using simple marketing and understanding consumer needs like the Outpost Cafe in Brooklyn, New York has done in catering to laptop users. If a large portion of cafes and coffee shops are laptop users, sell merchandise such as flash drives and coffee cups with a picture of a laptop or a flash drive and a tech-savvy caption.
Try an out-of-the-box idea like a separate area with a couple of exercise machines such as a treadmill and charge $2.50 for 15 minutes or $5.00 for 30 minutes to use it. What’s this got to do with market research and understanding? It may prevent the laptop squatters from getting a blood clot from sitting too long and generate extra cash flow for the cafe.
WiFi access for laptop users is a consumer need that is not disappearing anytime soon. It’s better to cater to the laptop squatters than to lose them.