In business, zigging when someone zags has always been popular strategy, but what happens when ‘zig’ means taking something away from your customers? Lovely Coffee Shop, a place I frequent for my morning caffeine fix, has done just that. They recently decided to cover their electrical outlets that charge an average 7 or so laptops at any given time during the day. See the coffee shop’s official post here.
After discovering this, I prodded the staff for more information. Apparently, the owners feared the shop was turning into a library of glowing Facebook pages, and the place lacked the lively social atmosphere they imagined when they opened the shop. Now, according to the baristas, business hasn’t been affected. In fact, I would assume that if this decision didn’t make customers too irate, increased turnover would help business.
I definitely applaud the owners for taking steps to define their ideal business. (It’s why people quit their desk jobs). Then again, coffee shops are the offices of the new electronic nomad and neglecting this trend could be detrimental. I think in order to be successful with this effort, the shop would need to embrace and promote this difference and remind people the (read their) coffee shop is a place of social exchange and comfort, not a place to fight for power.