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Case Study: Top Laptop-Friendly Coffee Shops in NYC That Have Cracked the Profit Code

Case Study: Top Laptop-Friendly Coffee Shops in NYC That Have Cracked the Profit Code

TLDR

Imagine strolling into your local coffee shop, laptop in hand, ready to get some work done over an expertly crafted latte. But as soon as you flip open your computer, you're greeted with stern signage: "No Laptop Use." It's a common frustration for New York's growing remote workforce. However, a handful of forward-thinking NYC coffee shops have cracked the profit code, welcoming laptop users while still driving sales. Take Poetica Coffee's nine distinctive locations, focused on personal connections and creating memories. Or Bluebottle Coffee's tech-friendly lobbies. In this blog, we'll highlight five laptop-friendly coffee shops proving cafes can make good profits - and keep customers coming back. We'll share key strategies any coffee shop owner can learn from.

How Laptop-Friendly Coffee Shops Are Boosting Profits

Offering Free WiFi and Charging Stations

Providing free, reliable WiFi and charging stations for customers has become standard for most coffee shops today. For locations in New York, it is essentially required. Offering these amenities, especially in a city where many live in small apartments, encourages remote workers and students to frequent the cafe and stay for longer periods, increasing sales.

Creating a Comfortable Workspace

Laptop-friendly coffee shops design their space with remote workers in mind. They provide ample seating, standing desks or bar counters, strong WiFi, and adequate power outlets. Some even have designated work or study areas. By catering to those seeking an alternative office, these cafes have tapped into a sizeable customer base with repeat business potential.

Building Customer Loyalty

Coffee shops that have become a “third place” for remote workers and students have an opportunity to build lasting customer loyalty. They can offer subscription programs, loyalty rewards, or special events and promotions targeting these customers. Some cafes have found success in fostering a sense of community through initiatives like networking events, public talks, or partnerships with local startups and freelancers. Keeping customers engaged and coming back is key to long-term success.

Additional Revenue Streams

While food and beverage sales will always be the primary source of income for coffee shops, additional revenue streams help boost profits. Some options include:

  • Selling retail coffee beans, brewing equipment, mugs, and other merchandise.
  • Renting out space for meetings, events, or coworking.
  • Partnering with food delivery services to reach new customers.
  • Offering catering, specialty baked goods, or meal kits featuring the cafe’s products.

With the right combination of amenities, customer service, and supplementary income channels, laptop-friendly coffee shops in NYC have unlocked the code to thrive in a competitive market. By meeting the needs of today’s remote and flexible workers, these cafes have found a way to boost profits while also building a loyal customer base.

Case Studies of Top Laptop-Friendly Cafes in NYC

Blue Bottle Coffee

Blue Bottle Coffee has multiple locations in New York City, including cafes in Manhattan and Brooklyn that are ideal for remote work. Their minimalist cafes offer strong wifi, spacious seating, and a variety of coffee and snack options to keep you fueled for hours. Blue Bottle is also open early and late, with some locations open until 10 PM on weekdays, making it a great spot for freelancers and students.

Coffee Project New York

Coffee Project New York in the East Village is a hip cafe known for its specialty coffee drinks and vegan fare. The space features rustic decor with large windows, comfortable seating, and strong wifi, attracting many remote workers and students. Coffee Project is open 8 AM to 8 PM daily, providing ample time to work or study. They frequently host events like coffee cuppings and art shows, adding to the creative, collaborative vibe.

Hungry Ghost Coffee

Hungry Ghost Coffee has two locations in Brooklyn featuring exposed brick walls, reclaimed wood accents, and ample natural lighting. They are known for high-quality coffee, fresh pastries, and a relaxing vibe that attracts remote workers and students. Both cafes offer strong Wi-Fi, many tables, couches, and counter seating with outlets. Their simple menu and cozy atmosphere have generated a loyal customer base and good reviews.

Stumptown Coffee

Stumptown Coffee, born in Portland, Oregon, has expanded to multiple locations in NYC. It's a top choice for remote workers and students with its high-speed WiFi, numerous power outlets, air-conditioned interiors, outdoor seating, and Instagram-worthy decor. Plus, it's great for taking calls hassle-free.

Devoción

Born in Colombia, Steven Sutton founded Devoción in 2006 to create the freshest coffee possible. The Brooklyn spot is well-lit with a spacious skylight, offering a lovely setting for laptop use. The place is both beautiful and welcoming, featuring quick and friendly service, speedy Wi-Fi, and ample seating. Customers can savor their coffee and soak in the beautiful sunlight; there's no need to hurry out.

Additional Strategies

While providing strong Wi-Fi and ample seating attracts customers, coffee shops must have effective strategies to generate profits. Keeping menus simple with high-quality ingredients helps streamline operations and improve customer experience. Loyalty programs, subscriptions, and partnerships also provide additional revenue. An inviting atmosphere and good reviews help establish a devoted customer base. With the right combination of amenities and strategies, laptop-friendly cafes can crack the profit code.

Explore our blog for a complete subscriptions guide for your coffee shop.

Offering Free WiFi & Laptop Zones - A Winning Strategy

Providing Strong, Reliable Internet

To attract remote workers and students, these coffee shops in NYC invest in fast, free WiFi and ample seating. Customers can connect easily and work for hours without interruption. Reliable internet is non-negotiable for patrons who depend on it for their livelihoods. With City’s bustling, competitive coffee scene, subpar WiFi is a deal breaker.

Designating Laptop-Friendly Zones

In addition to strong WiFi, the most successful shops designate ample space for laptop users. They section off areas with spacious tables, outlets, and comfortable chairs - ideal for working or studying for long stretches. Some shops brand these areas as “laptop bars” or “work lounges” to set the right expectations. The lobby of the Ace Hotel Brooklyn features a stylish laptop bar with leather armchairs and marble tables.

Fostering Community

While providing the essential infrastructure for remote work, these coffee shops also cultivate a sense of community. They aim to be a “third space” - not a home or office but a place for human connection. Some offer weekly events like book clubs, language exchanges, or mindfulness meetups. They make an effort to learn regulars’ names and orders, creating a welcoming vibe. Building this community spirit and personal connection leads to customer loyalty and word-of-mouth promotion.

Location, Ambiance & Customer Service - The Key Differentiators

Locating in High-Traffic, Visible Areas

Successful coffee shops like Poetica Coffee and Blue Bottle Coffee situate themselves in highly visible, high-traffic locations to attract customers. Their cafes can be found in popular city areas like Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, allowing them to tap into existing foot traffic. Strategically choosing retail space in busy city centers or commercial districts exposes the brand to new potential customers.

Creating an Inviting Atmosphere

Coffee shops like Poetica Coffee and Coffee Project pay close attention to ambiance and interior design to provide customers with an enjoyable experience. They create cozy, hip spaces with comfortable seating, lots of natural light, plants, art, and stylish decor. The inviting atmosphere encourages customers to stay, socialize, and work for hours. Ground Support Cafe's warm, laid-back vibe and ample seating and outlets, in particular, attract those looking for a laptop-friendly spot.

Delivering Excellent Customer Service

Successful coffee shops like Stumptown Coffee build loyalty through friendly, attentive customer service and technology. They hire and train staff to provide helpful, knowledgeable assistance genuinely. Baristas are passionate about the products and able to make recommendations and suggest pairings. The overall service experience leaves customers feeling valued, which drives repeat business and word-of-mouth marketing.

Making Your Cafe Laptop-Friendly Without Hurting Margins

Designating Work Zones

Owners recommend designating certain areas for workstations and setting time limits, such as a 2-hour maximum stay during busy periods. They also suggest offering special rates or packages for remote workers, such as discounted refills or a “workspace pass.” These approaches create a welcoming environment for laptop users without sacrificing profits from quicker customer turnover.

Upsell Items to Laptop Customers

To further maximize profits, cafes can upsell additional items to laptop customers during their stay, such as pastries, sandwiches, or café drinks. Staff should frequently check on workstation customers to build personal connections and take new orders. Owners recommend training staff to strike a friendly, unobtrusive tone when interacting with laptop users, as these customers often prefer minimal distraction while working.

Offering Tiered Wi-Fi packages

Offering tiered Wi-Fi packages allows you to charge higher rates for faster, more reliable internet access. Basic Wi-Fi can remain free, while “premium” options with greater bandwidth and connectivity cost a small fee. Laptop users relying on your cafe’s Wi-Fi for work will likely opt for a premium package.

With the right balance of accommodation and profit-generating strategies, cafes can cultivate a base of loyal laptop customers without hurting their bottom line. Those seeking a “third space” to work remotely will come to appreciate cafes where they feel welcome to stay as long as they continue actively supporting the business. 

Final Thoughts

As we've seen, welcoming laptop users doesn't have to mean sacrificing profits. With the right strategies, coffee shops can become productive hubs that build community while driving revenue. The keys are offering value, building loyalty, and facilitating connections. Provide free wi-fi and ample seating as a draw. Then focus on premium products, member perks, and events that get people coming back. And create an environment conducive to networking through design, technology, and programming. So don't be afraid to open up your space to mobile workers. With some smart tactics, you can crack the code and make it work for your bottom line.

Case Study: Top Laptop-Friendly Coffee Shops in NYC That Have Cracked the Profit Code

Case Study: Top Laptop-Friendly Coffee Shops in NYC That Have Cracked the Profit Code
by
Soma Amir
by
Doron Segal
by
Tomer Molovinsky
by
Olivia Terenzio
by
Jessica Buckley
by
Ashley Rodriguez
December 21, 2021

TLDR

Imagine strolling into your local coffee shop, laptop in hand, ready to get some work done over an expertly crafted latte. But as soon as you flip open your computer, you're greeted with stern signage: "No Laptop Use." It's a common frustration for New York's growing remote workforce. However, a handful of forward-thinking NYC coffee shops have cracked the profit code, welcoming laptop users while still driving sales. Take Poetica Coffee's nine distinctive locations, focused on personal connections and creating memories. Or Bluebottle Coffee's tech-friendly lobbies. In this blog, we'll highlight five laptop-friendly coffee shops proving cafes can make good profits - and keep customers coming back. We'll share key strategies any coffee shop owner can learn from.

How Laptop-Friendly Coffee Shops Are Boosting Profits

Offering Free WiFi and Charging Stations

Providing free, reliable WiFi and charging stations for customers has become standard for most coffee shops today. For locations in New York, it is essentially required. Offering these amenities, especially in a city where many live in small apartments, encourages remote workers and students to frequent the cafe and stay for longer periods, increasing sales.

Creating a Comfortable Workspace

Laptop-friendly coffee shops design their space with remote workers in mind. They provide ample seating, standing desks or bar counters, strong WiFi, and adequate power outlets. Some even have designated work or study areas. By catering to those seeking an alternative office, these cafes have tapped into a sizeable customer base with repeat business potential.

Building Customer Loyalty

Coffee shops that have become a “third place” for remote workers and students have an opportunity to build lasting customer loyalty. They can offer subscription programs, loyalty rewards, or special events and promotions targeting these customers. Some cafes have found success in fostering a sense of community through initiatives like networking events, public talks, or partnerships with local startups and freelancers. Keeping customers engaged and coming back is key to long-term success.

Additional Revenue Streams

While food and beverage sales will always be the primary source of income for coffee shops, additional revenue streams help boost profits. Some options include:

  • Selling retail coffee beans, brewing equipment, mugs, and other merchandise.
  • Renting out space for meetings, events, or coworking.
  • Partnering with food delivery services to reach new customers.
  • Offering catering, specialty baked goods, or meal kits featuring the cafe’s products.

With the right combination of amenities, customer service, and supplementary income channels, laptop-friendly coffee shops in NYC have unlocked the code to thrive in a competitive market. By meeting the needs of today’s remote and flexible workers, these cafes have found a way to boost profits while also building a loyal customer base.

Case Studies of Top Laptop-Friendly Cafes in NYC

Blue Bottle Coffee

Blue Bottle Coffee has multiple locations in New York City, including cafes in Manhattan and Brooklyn that are ideal for remote work. Their minimalist cafes offer strong wifi, spacious seating, and a variety of coffee and snack options to keep you fueled for hours. Blue Bottle is also open early and late, with some locations open until 10 PM on weekdays, making it a great spot for freelancers and students.

Coffee Project New York

Coffee Project New York in the East Village is a hip cafe known for its specialty coffee drinks and vegan fare. The space features rustic decor with large windows, comfortable seating, and strong wifi, attracting many remote workers and students. Coffee Project is open 8 AM to 8 PM daily, providing ample time to work or study. They frequently host events like coffee cuppings and art shows, adding to the creative, collaborative vibe.

Hungry Ghost Coffee

Hungry Ghost Coffee has two locations in Brooklyn featuring exposed brick walls, reclaimed wood accents, and ample natural lighting. They are known for high-quality coffee, fresh pastries, and a relaxing vibe that attracts remote workers and students. Both cafes offer strong Wi-Fi, many tables, couches, and counter seating with outlets. Their simple menu and cozy atmosphere have generated a loyal customer base and good reviews.

Stumptown Coffee

Stumptown Coffee, born in Portland, Oregon, has expanded to multiple locations in NYC. It's a top choice for remote workers and students with its high-speed WiFi, numerous power outlets, air-conditioned interiors, outdoor seating, and Instagram-worthy decor. Plus, it's great for taking calls hassle-free.

Devoción

Born in Colombia, Steven Sutton founded Devoción in 2006 to create the freshest coffee possible. The Brooklyn spot is well-lit with a spacious skylight, offering a lovely setting for laptop use. The place is both beautiful and welcoming, featuring quick and friendly service, speedy Wi-Fi, and ample seating. Customers can savor their coffee and soak in the beautiful sunlight; there's no need to hurry out.

Additional Strategies

While providing strong Wi-Fi and ample seating attracts customers, coffee shops must have effective strategies to generate profits. Keeping menus simple with high-quality ingredients helps streamline operations and improve customer experience. Loyalty programs, subscriptions, and partnerships also provide additional revenue. An inviting atmosphere and good reviews help establish a devoted customer base. With the right combination of amenities and strategies, laptop-friendly cafes can crack the profit code.

Explore our blog for a complete subscriptions guide for your coffee shop.

Offering Free WiFi & Laptop Zones - A Winning Strategy

Providing Strong, Reliable Internet

To attract remote workers and students, these coffee shops in NYC invest in fast, free WiFi and ample seating. Customers can connect easily and work for hours without interruption. Reliable internet is non-negotiable for patrons who depend on it for their livelihoods. With City’s bustling, competitive coffee scene, subpar WiFi is a deal breaker.

Designating Laptop-Friendly Zones

In addition to strong WiFi, the most successful shops designate ample space for laptop users. They section off areas with spacious tables, outlets, and comfortable chairs - ideal for working or studying for long stretches. Some shops brand these areas as “laptop bars” or “work lounges” to set the right expectations. The lobby of the Ace Hotel Brooklyn features a stylish laptop bar with leather armchairs and marble tables.

Fostering Community

While providing the essential infrastructure for remote work, these coffee shops also cultivate a sense of community. They aim to be a “third space” - not a home or office but a place for human connection. Some offer weekly events like book clubs, language exchanges, or mindfulness meetups. They make an effort to learn regulars’ names and orders, creating a welcoming vibe. Building this community spirit and personal connection leads to customer loyalty and word-of-mouth promotion.

Location, Ambiance & Customer Service - The Key Differentiators

Locating in High-Traffic, Visible Areas

Successful coffee shops like Poetica Coffee and Blue Bottle Coffee situate themselves in highly visible, high-traffic locations to attract customers. Their cafes can be found in popular city areas like Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, allowing them to tap into existing foot traffic. Strategically choosing retail space in busy city centers or commercial districts exposes the brand to new potential customers.

Creating an Inviting Atmosphere

Coffee shops like Poetica Coffee and Coffee Project pay close attention to ambiance and interior design to provide customers with an enjoyable experience. They create cozy, hip spaces with comfortable seating, lots of natural light, plants, art, and stylish decor. The inviting atmosphere encourages customers to stay, socialize, and work for hours. Ground Support Cafe's warm, laid-back vibe and ample seating and outlets, in particular, attract those looking for a laptop-friendly spot.

Delivering Excellent Customer Service

Successful coffee shops like Stumptown Coffee build loyalty through friendly, attentive customer service and technology. They hire and train staff to provide helpful, knowledgeable assistance genuinely. Baristas are passionate about the products and able to make recommendations and suggest pairings. The overall service experience leaves customers feeling valued, which drives repeat business and word-of-mouth marketing.

Making Your Cafe Laptop-Friendly Without Hurting Margins

Designating Work Zones

Owners recommend designating certain areas for workstations and setting time limits, such as a 2-hour maximum stay during busy periods. They also suggest offering special rates or packages for remote workers, such as discounted refills or a “workspace pass.” These approaches create a welcoming environment for laptop users without sacrificing profits from quicker customer turnover.

Upsell Items to Laptop Customers

To further maximize profits, cafes can upsell additional items to laptop customers during their stay, such as pastries, sandwiches, or café drinks. Staff should frequently check on workstation customers to build personal connections and take new orders. Owners recommend training staff to strike a friendly, unobtrusive tone when interacting with laptop users, as these customers often prefer minimal distraction while working.

Offering Tiered Wi-Fi packages

Offering tiered Wi-Fi packages allows you to charge higher rates for faster, more reliable internet access. Basic Wi-Fi can remain free, while “premium” options with greater bandwidth and connectivity cost a small fee. Laptop users relying on your cafe’s Wi-Fi for work will likely opt for a premium package.

With the right balance of accommodation and profit-generating strategies, cafes can cultivate a base of loyal laptop customers without hurting their bottom line. Those seeking a “third space” to work remotely will come to appreciate cafes where they feel welcome to stay as long as they continue actively supporting the business. 

Final Thoughts

As we've seen, welcoming laptop users doesn't have to mean sacrificing profits. With the right strategies, coffee shops can become productive hubs that build community while driving revenue. The keys are offering value, building loyalty, and facilitating connections. Provide free wi-fi and ample seating as a draw. Then focus on premium products, member perks, and events that get people coming back. And create an environment conducive to networking through design, technology, and programming. So don't be afraid to open up your space to mobile workers. With some smart tactics, you can crack the code and make it work for your bottom line.

Soma Amir

About the author

Doron Segal

About the author

Hey I'm Doron, the co-founder & CTO of Per Diem — a mobile app platform for restaurants. I'm also a dad and a husband. I love to travel and meet new people.I love creating things, and see people using the stuff I built.Prior to Per Diem I worked at Saildrone, OpenTable, Apple, Beats Music, Siemens.

Tomer Molovinsky

About the author

A second time founder with a passion for building products at the intersection of hospitality and technology. I've had the pleasure of launching reservation systems, mobile payment solutions, and loyalty programs at OpenTable and Resy, and witnessed how operators were losing a direct connection with their customers online. We built Per Diem to strengthen the relationships that businesses have with those customers, and to ensure that local businesses can thrive in today's economy.

Olivia Terenzio

About the author

Jessica Buckley

About the author

Ashley Rodriguez

About the author

Ashley is a freelance writer and podcast producer based in Madison, Wisconsin. She hosts a podcast called Boss Barista and writes an accompanying newsletter with full transcripts of each episode and articles about coffee and restaurant work. You can check out her work here (ashleyrodriguez.work/).

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