Coffee Shop Laptop Crackdown Results In Sales Boost

Coffee shop laptop crackdown efforts have resulted in a sales boost for one San Francisco area coffee shop owner, according to a Monday report.

Luigi Di Ruocco, who owns and runs the San Francisco Coffee Bar, said in comments to the SF Chronicle that he noticed a “15 [percent] to 20 percent” boost in sales once he instituted a policy that would curtail coffee shop laptop use from noon to 2 pm each day.

Di Ruocco said he “unclogged the clog,” claiming that many potential patrons were unable to get a table on account of the free Wi-Fi users, who would camp out all day.

“One of the unforeseen problems [with free Wi-Fi] was that people stayed a really long time and others who came in couldn’t find seats,” Di Ruocco said. “As a business owner, it broke my heart to turn away business. But at the same time I couldn’t chase off the existing patrons because they might not come back.”

“We made it work for the office workers in the area who wanted to grab a quick lunch. Now they can actually get a table,” Di Ruocco said.

Other restaurants that have taken measures to reduce the amount of “coffee shop squatters” include Panera Bread (an 11 am to 1 pm timeframe, at least in my area) and Starbucks, which recently announced it would be teaming with Google for faster Wi-Fi at around 7,000 locations.

Only time will tell if the sales boost will sustain itself and result in as much revenue as having a few regulars to fill out the down times, but for Di Ruocco, it’s definitely worth the try.

As someone who’s been both a victim and a perpetrator of coffee shop squatting, I find this move pretty understandable. In my experience, attention for work wanes after two or three hours in a coffee shop, so it doesn’t hurt to relocate. Besides, too much of the stuff will kill you anyway. And if you don’t believe that…

But what do you guys think — should coffee shop laptop use be curtailed to a couple of hours, not allowed at all, or scheduled around the busiest times? How would something like Di Ruocco’s move affect your patronage?

[Image via ShutterStock]