Coffee Shop Owners Explore Seat Fees to Boost Revenue

Coffee Shop Owners Explore Seat Fees to Boost Revenue

Coffee shops, traditionally more about passion than profit, are exploring innovative ways to stay afloat amidst thin margins. One emerging strategy is the implementation of subscription or seat fees for customers intending to occupy space for extended periods. This concept, reminiscent of early-2010s wifi memberships, is seeing renewed interest as cafe owners seek to balance customer experience with financial viability. Tim Taylor of Chicago's Pedestrian Coffee suggests a $20 seat fee for up to four hours, including wifi and possibly a drink and pastry, to ensure profitability and seat availability. New York City's Devoción employs a time-limited wifi access method, requiring additional purchases for extended use. The challenge lies in maintaining a communal atmosphere without deterring patrons who occupy space for long durations with minimal purchase. While initially contentious, this approach may represent a necessary compromise to keep beloved local cafes in business.

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