To Kindle or Not to Kindle—That is the Question

A writer for the New York Times recently complained that when he took out his Kindle e-book reader that he was not allowed to use it in two different restaurants in New York City, ostensibly because there was a policy in place at these establishments whereby computers were banned. He argued that the Kindle is not a computer but rather a book reader, but to no avail.

An Era of Persistent High Unemployment

In an era of persistently high unemployment, many people are trying to find a place where they can sit and send out their resumes undisturbed, while perhaps sipping a cup of coffee or eating a piece of cake.

However, when these people occupy a table for three or four hours at a time, spending just $3 for a cup of coffee, it becomes increasingly difficult to see them as customers. Instead, they may look begin to look like freeloaders! This is the reason why some restaurants are now trying the “no computers policy” on for size.

Steady Customers

Many of the arguments for allowing computers in restaurants and even offering free wifi and charging stations for them revolve around the fact that customers who come in regularly, even if they don’t buy too much, are worth more than the occasional drop in customer.

But as you might guess, this value will be different for every restaurant, café, or coffee shop, and depends on a multitude of factors.

There is no right or wrong answer to whether or not you should implement a no computer policy. It is up to each restaurant owner to set their own terms based on what they see happening in their own establishments.

How to Be Fair and Still Protect Your Bottom Line

However, we did like the suggestion made by one commenter at the New York Times – Simply place a time limit per person at a table. A half hour for one person, an hour for two people, an hour and a half for three or more. This way, everyone can be accommodated while still allowing for turnover and avoiding those who park themselves for four hours at a table for four, and spend just $3 for a cup of coffee the entire time.

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