NYC Coffee Shop Wages War On Laptop Users


Small cafe's, like Naidre's in Park Slope, have been hit especially hard since the recession hit, mostly due to its relaxed policy toward lingering patrons. (FLICKR)

Small cafe's, like Naidre's in Park Slope, have been hit especially hard since the recession hit, mostly due to its relaxed policy toward lingering patrons. (FLICKR)

PARK SLOPE, N.Y. (WPIX) – A local coffee shop in Brooklyn has brewed up an idea in order to drum up more business: impose time limits on in-house java drinkers who use laptops.

Small cafe’s, like Naidre’s in Park Slope, have been hit especially hard since the recession hit, mostly due to its relaxed policy toward lingering patrons.

Janice Pullicino, the shop’s owner, told The Wall Street Journal that she doesn’t want to dissuade people from entering the store but the policy, which was enforced in the spring of 2008, was put into place because of a drastic drop in revenue.

“You don’t want to discourage it; it’s a wonderful tradition,” Pullicino said.

A small sign has been posted on the café that reads, “Dear customers, we are absolutely thrilled that you like us so much that you want to spend the day … (But ) … people gotta eat, and to eat they gotta sit.”

As part of the policy, laptops are not permitted between the hours of 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. during the week and 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on the weekends, unless the customer is eating and typing at the same time.

Pullicino said she has even covered up some power outlets throughout her shop in order to help cut down on the electric bill.

Other locations around the city reportedly imposing the laptop limits include : Cocoa Bar locations in Brooklyn and on Manhattan’s Lower East Side and Espresso 77 in Jackson Heights, Queens.

But in two of the three Café Grumpy locations — one in Brooklyn and the other in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood — those looking to power up their laptops will have to look elsewhere as computers are never allowed in those locations.

This New York phenomenon is apparently slowly spreading to the West Coast as San Francisco’s Coffee Bar is now asking customers to ask laptop users to share tables and make space for other customers.

While many people who frequent coffee shops on a daily basis seem to understand why the rules are being imposed, many believe, when asked, that instead of helping business, in the long run, the policy will ultimately drive away customers.

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