I have many clients that come in from the college down the road. They feel that because "they don't like coffee" they should not have to purchase anything and will use our wifi. We have now posted one note on every entrance and on our microwaves that no outiside food is permitted. I try my best to ask them politely to purchase something or leave but this is a difficult thing. I dont want people to leave that would have purchased something when the rest of their group came, for example. I recommend when it's not too busy to just have our staff clean the tables around the person and ask them if they have been helped and, can get them anything. Chances are a waitress kind of attitude from the staff gives the customer a chance to say "oh, I'm waiting for ...." and if they tell me they're not getting anything I have recommended the library down the street from us that gets Federal funding to be in business with free wifi while we don't.

I went to a coffee shop that had little signs that said "admission is one cup of coffee" but I haven't gotten that ballsie.

Good luck and let us know if you find something that works

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To be honest, it's hard to find a solution to this. I guess you have to just be flexible. If one person comes in and has a buddy that doesn't buy anything but both uses wifi, I would let it slide. If there's 3 people using wifi only 1 person bought something...it's borderline. The best thing I would do is simply go over and ask if he/she would like to buy anything....if they say no, I would kindly say, "Sorry maam/sir, the wifi is actually for customers only...but, I guess we can make an exception this time. *Smile, and just walk away. Hopefully next time it wont be the same guy/girl doing the same thing, but at least this way you get it through their head, and next time if they DO do it...they'll feel really awkward about it knowing they have been told before hahaha. That seems to be the nicest way to get to them, without offending them in anyway (even though they are not a customer)
Lots of discussions on this have happened recently. Look through those for some ideas.

password protect your wifi, change it daily and give the password to your paying customers.


And of course: stop giving away "free" wifi.  


We post a sign, free WIFI upon purchase. Yes change password daily and filter out wifi users who don't buy anything...Usually, they get the hint and at least buy something.

Ron Serapio said:

We post a sign, free WIFI upon purchase. Yes change password daily and filter out wifi users who don't buy anything...Usually, they get the hint and at least buy something.



How do you put a password on your wifi?  How do you feel about electical outlet use?



Most cafes in London and in Australia don't offer wifi for this very reason. It's better to lose one customer to lack of wifi than lose three to lack of seating because the wifi users are either a; taking up a whole table to themselves with their computers, or b; sitting for for hours on end not buying anything or only sitting on a single purchase and thus taking up a an otherwise perfectly usable seat.


In this day and age, offering wifi is becoming less and less necessary as more and more people use iphones and android phones (among others) with data packages. Unless they're downloading huge amounts of data (movies for example... which, if your customers are students, is probably what they're doing) then they can easily get by through tethering their phone to their computer or even just using their phone on its own.

Password protecting our WiFi has worked so far.

We don't offer WiFi, but we do have a nicely-lit, pleasant environment with great food and great coffee.  We're located about 1/2 a block from the local (brand new) library that does offer WiFi, but doesn't allow food/drinks.  We're also located a few doors down (in the same complex) from a chain coffee shop that also offers WiFi, but only has 2-top tables.  


So, there's a woman from the local theological seminary college who gets a coffee at the chain shop and then comes into our shop, spreads out her books, laptop, etc. on a 4-top table, plugs into the outlet 5 feet (and 2 tables) away and proceeds to camp out for hours on end.  I'm not exaggerating...she usually stays for at least 5 hours at a time.  She usually buys a bagel or a cupcakes, but it doesn't nearly make up for the amount of time she spends here.  Even worse, she only spends about 50% of the time studying - the rest is spent on Facebook, on her cellphone (usually while sitting at another table), or with her head down on the table napping.


I know I should have said something it first started, but it wasn't as bad in the beginning.  Is there anything I can do at this point to curtail her loitering?  If you tell me it's too late and now I just have to deal with it, I'll understand ;)

Dawn, password protection usually comes with the router settings. The one
we are using have a feature that filter connected mac.

We just monitor those who are charging and limit them to 30mins only. Otherwise,
we inform them they will have to pay for it. By the way we have limited electrical outlets only.

Gigi, ask her to buy something or kick her out. She is not a customer, you are not the library or a community center.


Here's another, more relevant topic. There have been others recently too. Lots of ideas.


Good luck.

From a customers perspective; if people are camping out and taking advantage of your good nature and generosity, they know it. If they don't they should and if you politely call it to their attention by asking if they have been helped or let them know that Wi-FI is provided for customers they should take the hint. Your paying customers that are not treating you that way certainly notice and are upset when they buy your product and can't sit down to enjoy it. I don't suggest that you be unfriendly, but you need to be in control of your business and worry about your paying customers, not those that take advantage of you.
I think it might be to your advantage if the word gets out that you don't allow people to tie up your tables and use your utilities if they are not supporting your business. If you are a non-profit of government supported operation that's another story. Just my 2cents worth

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