16:39 10 May 2017
To encourage customers to actually talk to each other, more and more coffee shops have adopted a no-Wi-Fi policy. Some have even gone a step further eliminating comfy furniture and narrowing counters to make them less accommodating for laptops.
Jimson Bienenstock, the president of a coffee shop that withholds Wi-Fi, HotBlack Coffee, said: “It’s about creating a social vibe. We’re a vehicle for human interaction, otherwise it’s just a commodity.”
Although he admitted that their approach is not revolutionary, he said that it’s a response to society’s deep immersion into all things digital that leads people to seldom communicate face to face.
“You’d have a hell of a time concentrating in our place because there’s so much noise,” he said. “There’s so many people talking to each other.”
Jordan Michelman, a founder of Sprudge Media Network, which writes about coffee news and culture, weighed in on the issue and said: “I think a lot of shops think of offering Wi-Fi as being somewhere between offering nice soap in the restroom or offering a kid’s play place,” he wrote. “It’s not quite an essential amenity or legally required to open, but it’s nice, it makes customers happy, and makes your space feel more like their space.”