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Cafe’s Dilemma: Can You Offer Free Wi-Fi and Still Sell Lattes?

Do you ever feel the guilt-stare from a barista as you’re sitting in a cafe enjoying its free wireless? The cheapest patrons will nurse a coffee for three hours, while many will cave at the rate of roughly one beverage (or baked good) per hour.


Rather than guilting e-freeloaders (which puts strain on customer-barista relations), some cafes ban laptops or charge for internet access. But according to one study, that’s a bad business move.

A Dutch cafe has taken a sort of middle ground. Its baristas don’t pressure patrons to spend more, and its internet is still free. But the cafe frequently changes the name of its wireless network to things like:




Would this annoy you or perhaps make you laugh and buy another brownie?

What is proper etiquette as far as how much you should spend at a café while using its free internet?

Here’s another café-laptop dilemma: what do you do with your laptop when you have to use the restroom?

(Hat tip: Mike M.)