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People working on their laptops are actually not a paying customer. Yes, they might come in and buy a single coffee but then they sit in a corner for 3 hours and occupy a seat that could go to other customers that are actually buying things that make a cafe money.

It also has something to do with atmosphere. A cafe should have light chatter and people socializing. If the majority is sitting around in silence, it takes away from the special feeling a cafe normally has. I could get coffee at home for a fraction of the price.

> it takes away from the special feeling a cafe normally has

If people start using Cafes differently, why hold them to a forgotten standard? Cafes should see a business opportunity in that they can align themselves further with the needs of the consumer. Either that, or the consumer walks.

It's up to the cafe owner, really. If they want a cafe with a certain type of atmosphere, it's reasonable for them to take measures to achieve it.

Yeah, but Darwin resumes. Places that don't make it convenient to pull out a laptop might not see as much traffic in 2050.

It could also happen the other way around: places that don't discourage people from "abusing" their hospitality might not survive in such a competitive line of business.

Open, unrestricted wifi comes to mind as an example.

There has to be business opportunity. If you those people are leeching free wifi and sitting spot then any attempt at charging them for it will make them go away. Customer that does not want to pay is not customer, so you cannot align anything.

They have to add some tariff per hour which feels unwelcome. There are co-working areas that do that but they are not labeled cafes

Before laptops people would sit around reading newspapers or books, I'm not sure it's changed that much.

Trying to use the premises (incl. toilets) to do business instead of leisure is quite the change.

Also it's somewhat off-putting for the people trying to have the leisure.

Lloyd’s of London began as a 17th century coffee house where people who sold marine insurance hung out. They’ve been used for business (and studying) as well as leisure since their inception.

Cafés have always been a place for both socializing and working. We just switched from sketchbooks and newspapers to laptops.

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