If you’re thinking about opening a coffee shop, or even frequenting one with any, um, frequency, I encourage you to learn from my experiences.
1. Make it big. I go to coffee shops to be around other people. Small, hole-in-the-wall shops just mean that it will be the barista and me. Awkward.
2. Use your front window to put the loners. I love the bar-style seating that runs along many front windows. I can sit comfortably and not feel guilty about taking up a whole table.
3. Offer free Wi-fi. If people are abusing the bandwidth, kick them off. Otherwise, charging for Internet access is antiquated and cheap.
4. Figure out your refill policy. If you’re going to offer a “bottomless mug”, make it convenient to get a refill. If you’re going to charge per refill, state it clearly on your menu and don’t charge an initial price that’s out of line with other shops.
5. Keep it clean. When a place is crowded or messy, there’s a short window of time before I decide to just move onto the next place. Having a person on staff to quickly clean vacated tables is like rolling out a welcome mat just for me.