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How long should you stay?


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So my friends and I were debating the other night on how long should you stay in a coffee shop. I am not sure with the people here but I find coffee shops as one of the best places to write down a chapter whenever you are having an awful dose of a writer's block. For some reason, the aroma really activates and unhinges my mental block. Of course, you would have to buy at least one of their products to stay there. So aside from you continuously chugging down mug after mug of coffee and slice after slice of your favorite cheesecake, up to how long should you really stay?

 

Example: I could consider staying for 4 hours and you only bought a small cup of coffee would be a little too much. That's me being considerate of other customers and the shop that could profit from them.

 

Thoughts, anyone?

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I think it would depend on two things. How bust the shop is at any given time and if you buy SOMETHING periodically.  A busy shop would prefer to have the table turn over. Quiet day the sure sale, even if it's small, would be appreciated.

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I agree. Holding a table for hours in a busy place only buying a cup o' joe isn't fair to the cafe. However, if it's a really slow day, having actual people in there could be a way to get others in there. I know I have issues going into a completely empty place. 

 

Maybe ask your favourite place? What do they prefer? Some could prefer the homey feel of steady patrons treating their place as a living room. Some won't. No need to be annoying when you can find out. 

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for me, it would depend on circumstances. is the place busy than i wouldn't stay long. empty, then i'd stay, but would buy something more than just coffee. i worked serving coffee. the one just sitting hour or more ate into my tips. quiet day, it was nice company.

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There is a Coffee shop nearby called Lestat's that hosts people all day. Their only proviso is that you get up and buy a refill every now and then and the guys that run the place aren't sticklers for that either. The place reminds me of a college library! Everyone is in there with laptops doing homework! It's kind of cool!

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I once stayed in a Starbucks, for around six hours, off and on. This one was inside Tampa General Hospital, and I kept checking to make sure it was alright for me to sit there. I did buy a lot of coffee that day, among other stuff they had. It was fairly busy, at times, but there were others sitting their longer than I.

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I think it depends on what you ordered. If you only got a coffee, then I don't think it's fair for you to stay more than a couple of hours. Also depends on how busy the place is. Sometimes Cafes prefer to have customers at the tables to encourage more people to come in. 

 

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It also depends on your behavior. If you are polite and courteous, you can probably stay a lot longer than if you are rude, noisy, and take up extra space. Well behaved patrons are generally tolerated much longer.

 

People who appear to be homeless (by their clothing or the numerous belongings) are likely to be chased out faster than any other group, so even if you are in fact homeless, make sure you don’t fit the stereotype appearance. People never believed me when I told them I was homeless because I dressed better than other homeless people and I had most of my things in storage so I didn’t have to cart them around with me. (I’ve been housed for about five years now.)

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  • 3 weeks later...

I go to a coffee shop/craft brewery (yes, thats a two-in-one thing here) in my neighborhood 3-4x a week to do schoolwork. Everyone who works there knows me, and I usually only buy one thing. Most weeknights I will stay for 2-3 hours, and on weekends sometimes I'll sit in there all day doing work. The place is always filled with other people in grad school doing work who sit there for hours. This place is expensive ($4 for a cup of coffee, cappuccino or latte is around $6-7), so I damn well better be able to sit there for a long time and work. I'm sure the fact I come in there frequently makes them less likely to view me as a hassle for occupying a table for so long. 

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There really is no limit to how long you can spend in a coffee shop using the WiFi connection and working or playing. Cafe owners want full cafes, happy customers, repeat customers, good reputation, etc., etc. Some coffee shops are now introducing a WiFi connection timer, in which case you have your answer from the owner as to how long!

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31 minutes ago, William King said:

There really is no limit to how long you can spend in a coffee shop using the WiFi connection and working or playing. Cafe owners want full cafes, happy customers, repeat customers, good reputation, etc., etc. Some coffee shops are now introducing a WiFi connection timer, in which case you have your answer from the owner as to how long!

Coffee shops are not like fast food restaurants in urban areas which typically post signs limiting your stay to 30 minutes. Usually those limits are imposed nearly exclusively on those they identify as homeless. Since I didn’t look like the stereotypical homeless person even when I was, in fact, homeless, I was never asked to leave even though there were times I spent several hours in them.  ;-)

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Based on your answers, your ability to stay really depends on how much you have portrayed yourself. Interesting, the 'culture' is kinda found across the globe. I thought there was some level of exclusivity for that kind culture. This shed some light to a few things. :D 

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I go to coffee shops to meet up with friends to decide where to go or to do, but to go there as a destination or to use the wi-fi to write would never be my cuppa joe, especially at $4 or more a cup.  I prefer the peace, quiet, and clutter of my own desk and coffee pot.

 

Therefore, I couldn't comment as to how long would be appropriate, but I'd think the servers would be a bit irked at someone taking up one of their table for hours with not much ordered.....Most servers I know depend on their tips.

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I don't think it’s possible to have a blanket ‘correct’ answer to this question. Some shops are set up for a quick turnover of customers, rather like urban fast food restaurants which have a 30 minute limit posted. Other shops encourage or at least tolerate longer stays, somewhat like fine dining establishments that expect diners to eat over the course of an entire evening.

 

I’m sure someone sells or could easily develop a system which generates limited-time access codes printed on the receipt, if coffee shops really were concerned with turnover.

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11 hours ago, Curti said:

I used to manage a local coffee shop. I had various regulars from the guy that bought a drip coffee every 3 hours and wrote his sermons (sometimes accompanied by three or four other guys as they debated religion)... to the lady that bought a $7 coffee beverage (milkshake) and hung outside and had a few smokes. I had a guy that owned an internationally known ski supply company, a lady that adopted all three of her amazing boys, A crazy successful consultant that we'd see 2-3 times a day, his wife first thing in the morning, his daughter when she finished school in the afternoon and their entire family on Sunday mornings on their way to church. Actually 85% of my business came from my regulars that I saw each and every single day. Some stayed for awhile, some grabbed a quick drink and dashed out to work. My whole team knew their names, their drinks, their interests, etc. In the three years I managed the store I watched kids graduate school, I saw people fall in love and get married (both regulars), I watched a guy restore a very sick 1956 mustang. If it wasn't for those regulars that felt comfortable enough to stay for a few hours a day the shop would not have stayed in business. Not all of them stayed for longer then a few minutes, but the whole store had a very strong community surrounding it and it's because of the regularity of our customers.

 

Coffee shops thrive on this community, be respectful, buy a drink, don't take up an entire table if there's enough space for someone else, don't forget to tip your barista and become a regular and learn all your barista's names. 

@Curti I missed you! This is Lann, I think you still remember me, I had a change of name. Lol. HAHA. Yes, I think I saw a few pictures of that coffee shop on your FB, if I am not mistaken. Not sure if you remember which FB friend I am. You're only one of the few here who knows my real identity. :P 

 

On topic: Coming from someone who manages the shop, then this is a good review. My undergraduate thesis was actually based on this information. The 'regulars' actually have interaction with the baristas and they could go up to somewhere between how you would treat a "friend" and a "family member." I support your claim when you stated that it's the sense of "community" that holds of the coffee shops business. :) 

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I live in a suburb and there's a starbucks across the street from my house. By now I'm probably considered a regular even though I don't talk to the baristas. It's my community, why shouldn't I be able to hang out here? I just buy a coffee and sit in the corner to write. Sometimes I get a refill or go to Taco Bell for lunch and come back. No one seems to mind as long as I'm quiet and respectful.

 

The time limit is usually reserved for homeless people and I don't look homeless.

 

Someone mentioned here they go to Lestat's. Is that the one in San Diego? I live a few blocks away in North Park.

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54 minutes ago, Narias1989 said:

Someone mentioned here they go to Lestat's. Is that the one in San Diego? I live a few blocks away in North Park.

 

@Narias1989 That would be me. You must be talking about the original Adams Ave. Lestat's, perhaps? I love that one!

 

Typically I used to go to the one on Park Ave. and now the one across the street from me in Hillcrest which is the newest one!

 

@Curti is quite correct, of course. The sense of community surrounding our local coffee places is what stimulates their business. Where I am, in Hillcrest, we've had any number of small coffee shops open and close in less than a year. One closed because Lestat's opened down the street and Filter (the one that closed) was unpleasant because the baristas were RUDE and also liked to kick patrons out for staying too long. Lestat's opened and continued its policy of 'Make Yourself At Home' and that just sucked the business away from Filter and ALL surrounding coffee houses including the two Starbucks in close proximity. 

 

Another one called 'Couch' opened and they closed in less than 4 months because they had NOWHERE to sit! :o I never bothered going there because of that. Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf and Bread and Cie close by have lots of seating so people can come in, rest, drink coffee, get work done, and chat.

 

Anyways, it seems that coffee places that encourage 'camping out' (within reason) seem to do MUCH better than one's that don't encourage it. Nice baristas that get to know you are also a huge plus! Lestat's baristas and managers always do that just like Curti did in his coffee house.

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On 10/31/2017 at 9:54 PM, Solus Magus said:

@Curti I missed you! This is Lann, I think you still remember me, I had a change of name. Lol. HAHA. Yes, I think I saw a few pictures of that coffee shop on your FB, if I am not mistaken. Not sure if you remember which FB friend I am. You're only one of the few here who knows my real identity. :P 

 

On topic: Coming from someone who manages the shop, then this is a good review. My undergraduate thesis was actually based on this information. The 'regulars' actually have interaction with the baristas and they could go up to somewhere between how you would treat a "friend" and a "family member." I support your claim when you stated that it's the sense of "community" that holds of the coffee shops business. :) 

Lanni!!! I'll never forget you :P and I definitely know who you are on facebook!! I've missed you too!

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  • 6 months later...

Well, I thought I’d update this. Starbucks has had some unflattering press when it comes to non-paying customers and right approach. They are now making official policy that all are welcome... even non-paying customers. A good choice. Most will come back to purchase.

As a customer, it’s only fair to make accomodations for paying customers when shop is busy. Here’s a little on Starbucks stance.  https://www.usnews.com/news/business/articles/2018-05-19/new-starbucks-policy-no-purchase-needed-to-sit-in-its-cafes

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51 minutes ago, BlindAmbition said:

Well, I thought I’d update this. Starbucks has had some unflattering press when it comes to non-paying customers and right approach. They are now making official policy that all are welcome... even non-paying customers. A good choice. Most will come back to purchase.

As a customer, it’s only fair to make accomodations for paying customers when shop is busy. Here’s a little on Starbucks stance.  https://www.usnews.com/news/business/articles/2018-05-19/new-starbucks-policy-no-purchase-needed-to-sit-in-its-cafes

 

It's interesting, because the Starbucks where the whole thing happened is right in the middle of the most tony neighborhood in Philadelphia. Very wealthy, very exclusive area to live with lots of high-end shopping and dining, so it does not surprise me that they got jumpy when two black guys "dressed like black guys" came in. I cannot tell you the number of times I've used a Starbucks bathroom without buying anything. Whenever I'm in New York City and need to go to the bathroom, my first thought is "where is the nearest Starbucks?" Yet I'm young and white so they've literally never once bothered me doing it. 

 

The city took care of this issue in a heartbeat, and settled. If only they could be that efficient about solving the true problems this city faces. Another topic for another forum though...

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3 hours ago, TetRefine said:

I cannot tell you the number of times I've used a Starbucks bathroom without buying anything. Whenever I'm in New York City and need to go to the bathroom, my first thought is "where is the nearest Starbucks?" Yet I'm young and white so they've literally never once bothered me doing it. 

And apparently, you dress so it’s clear you aren’t homeless, another group that people get nervous about!  ;–)

 

In my area, there’s only one Starbucks. It’s next to what used to be the Public Library branch, so people had the choice of which free wi-fi to use. Now that the Library has moved a few miles away, I’m wondering if there’ll be a massive influx of people wanting to use their connection…  ;–)

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