Ben Brooks takes to task the thick-headed notion that letting people work in cafés is bad for the coffee-selling business:
Coffee Shops started sprouting up everywhere in the U.S. because of massive demand for the coffee shop — not massive demand for coffee, mind you, but for the seats in the shops. This is evident with the way most shops are setup, but no more evidence needed than to look at the move of Starbucks providing free WiFi, instead of paid WiFi they started with.
My own behavior can obviously only serve as anecdotal evidence, at best, but speaking as someone who often chooses and/or needs to get outside the house and work: I will never, ever buy coffee from a shop that won’t let me hang out for a while with a computer. That’s the whole point of a coffee shop.
I find myself less and less likely to spend any time—or money—at the downtown location of Philz here in Palo Alto, despite the fact that theirs is my favorite coffee in the world. I simply cannot stand the fact that their WiFi access is provided by Facebook, and requires me to “check in” before I can log on. Philz loses a lot of money I’d otherwise be giving them for even this. If they became completely antagonistic to their customers and tried to shoo them along, I’d soon find myself never buying anything from them ever again.