No Laptops, No Wi-Fi: How One Cafe Fired Up Sales [npr.org]
Customers chat, read the paper and order sandwiches and espresso drinks at the counter of August First Bakery & Cafe in Burlington, Vt., but there’s something different here. Where there used to be the familiar glow of laptop screens and the clicking of keyboards, now the devices are banned.
“I was here working on my laptop when I looked over and saw that there’s a sign that says ‘laptop-free,’ ” says Luna Colt, a senior at the University of Vermont.
During a recent visit, Colt is shocked that using her computer is against the rules.
“My friend and I started talking about it because we’re both on screens,” Colt says. “Then I said, ‘Should I go up there and apologize?’ ”
When owner Jodi Whalen first opened four years ago, she initially offered free Wi-Fi to customers. Students like Colt flocked to the business and started typing away — and staying. All day.
“We saw a lot of customers come in, look for a table, not be able to find one and leave,” Whalen says. “It was money flowing out the door for us.”