ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Why a Coffee Shop is Still a Good Work Hangout

Updated on July 26, 2020
Coffee and a croissant is a good way to start the day
Coffee and a croissant is a good way to start the day | Source
A Coffee shop is a good place to meet clients
A Coffee shop is a good place to meet clients | Source

Creative people need new ideas to be productive. If you are a writer, your surroundings are crucial to the success of your craft. If you are uncomfortable where you work, it’s difficult to write or create anything of substance.

The local coffee shop is a good place to hang out. In 2012, there were about 20,000 coffee shop businesses in the U.S.[1] College students and work at home businessmen and women like it. We see them all the time, working on their laptops, oblivious to others. Laptop users dominate many coffee shops. In fact nowadays, it's almost always difficult to sit down in a popular coffee shop because the ‘regulars’ take most of the seats.

Let's assume that the regulars obey etiquette rules concerning hanging out at a coffee shop. He buys coffee every hour. He buys pastry. He allows others to sit at his table when it’s crowded. When the shop goes into its busy period, he knows it's time to go home.

Considerate regulars understand that a coffee shop needs ongoing revenue to stay in business. At the same time, there are mitigating circumstances that cause us to go to our special coffee shop over and over again. There are those who abuse coffee shop etiquette. But for most of us, we enjoy the pleasant and welcoming atmosphere of our local shop.

When the establishment offers free Wi-Fi, it’s to encourage visitors to the store. It does not differentiate between the squatter and the visitor. A squatter takes and gives nothing back. A visitor buys from the store commensurate to his stay, and leaves after a reasonable amount of time.

Given all this, there are reasons why a coffee shop draws regular visitors:

Don't like Being Home Alone. Most of the time, the comfort and quiet of home is the best reason to have a work-at-home business. The quiet and serenity of working at home is why most entrepreneurs prefer this location. But at the same time, no one wants to be a home all the time. It’s why one would take a walk during work to change the atmosphere. Having another place to work and be creative helps a self-employed person.

It's Close to Home. There is a coffee shop on almost any main street. A local coffee shop is great if it’s a short walk from home.

Can Work Uninterrupted for Hours. This is a boon for the computer worker or college student. It’s the main reason why the coffee shop is so popular. Especially during off-peak hours, a coffee shop is a quiet place to work.

Interesting People Come In. Depending on the nature of the coffee shop, one can take creative inspiration from those who patronize. Mothers with babies or children in strollers, excited children laughing, college students wearing headphones, the elderly, and other writers are a few who purchase at these shops. Also, as you become a regular, you can be friendly with those other regulars to the shop.

Ideas Flow Better and Faster. A coffee shop can offer inspiration. Sometimes you need a different venue for your muse to emerge.

It’s a Good Location to Have Meetings. Some members of organizations like to have committee meetings at a coffee shop. The meetings introduce others to the coffee shop for future patronage.

It’s a Good Place to Bring Clients. If you have a work-at-home business, you will periodically need a place to meet clients. If you choose the right place, a coffee shop is a good location to network or have business meetings. Go to a quiet corner and meet with a client. Of course, you’ll pay for the coffee and muffins as a business expense, right?

The Coffee, Food, Pastry and Music are Good. It wouldn't be a good hangout if the coffee and snacks weren’t great. Add soft music in the background, and a coffee shop is a pleasurable place to work.

Some Solutions to Circumvent Coffee Shop Abusers

Naturally, those who take advantage of coffee shops, especially small ones, spoil it for other regulars. Writer Bruce Kennedy, in his July 2013 article, “Coffee Shops Look to Oust ‘Laptop Hobos’” on, called it right. The article discusses in part, how Starbucks[2], Panera Bread and small coffee shop owners now restrict laptop customers from taking up valuable seats during peak service hours.

Selfish customers who patronize a coffee shop several times a week contribute to the financial end of the shop. They do this by parking in a seat all day on one or two cups of coffee. Then, paying customers stop frequenting because they have nowhere to sit. Coffee shop abusers need to acknowledge that they are using the shop’s electricity, are limiting the shop’s ability to serve new customers, and should stop taking unfair advantage.

Small business owners need to find creative ways to have a welcoming atmosphere without allowing thoughtless customers kill their business. Here are some suggestions of policies a coffee shop can use to encourage an inconsiderate person to be a better support to the shop.

  • Talk to the regulars and explain the situation, and mutually agree on terms of use
  • Insist that those who use tables purchase something at least every hour
  • Keep clearing the table. It will hopefully force the person to keep ordering something, because the table is clean
  • If they ask for water, sell bottled water to force a sale
  • Don’t offer Wi-Fi. It’s not necessary to using the computer; it only affects using the Internet. If business slows down because there’s no Internet, see the next suggestion
  • Have a time limit to taking up seats during peak periods, and depending on the size of the shop
  • Reserve and limit the number of seats laptop users can take up
  • Limit the number of electrical outlets available to the public, and don’t allow extension cords
  • Do not allow laptop users to take tables meant for four people

A small shop of 10-15 chairs needs regular turnover to survive, which means regular paying clientele. Negotiate with the laptop users and come to mutual terms of use. It should be a win-win situation that will not interfere with either’s rights. And, other customers will appreciate a shop’s attempt to make it available to all patrons, not just laptop users.


[1] SIC Code: 5812, NAICS Code: 72221

[2] “Coffee Shops are Banning Laptops” –, Michael Thrasher, July 12, 2013

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2014 Carolyn Gibson


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)