How to Make Your Coffee Shop Into a More Profitable, Productive Business


Coffee shops have become known as Americans’ favorite “third place” outside of work and home, and with more people working remotely than ever before, coffee shops are seeing the effects of in-store traffic. However, a known challenge for coffee shops is the dreaded “lingering customer” who buys a $4 beverage and then takes up a table for 2–3 hours or more. Customer expectations for what a coffee shop is supposed to provide — delicious food and drinks; fun ambience; quirky spirit of community; and of course, fast, reliable FREE Wi-Fi — seem to be increasing, while seat-in customer spending is too often staying flat. Too many coffee shop customers seem to treat your business like a public library: hanging out on your free Wi-Fi network all day, while taking up table space that could be going to more profitable customers.

How can your business avoid falling into this $2-an-hour per customer trap? How can coffee shops redefine the customer experience while boosting profitability? One way is to find the right kinds of customers who will truly be loyal community-builders at your coffee shop, and offer them a more compelling value proposition enabled by the latest technology. The best coffee shop customers are willing to pay more for a premium experience that supports your business’s bottom line. Here are a few ideas for how to run your coffee shop not just as a beloved low-cost community hangout, but as a technology-driven business that delivers more value to the customers who value you most!

Managing Customer Expectations and Building Coffee Shop Loyalty That Lasts

Customers today are expecting bunny slippers and puppies from their coffee shops. Photo by Andrew Branch via Unsplash

One of the best ways for coffee shops to boost customer loyalty is to change the way you manage your Wi-Fi. By offering managed, secure Wi-Fi that is tied to a purchase, you can create a win-win ecosystem that motivates additional in-seat transactions and offers a better experience for your best customers.

Customers today are expecting more from their coffee shops, including: convenience, connectivity, ambience, comfortable seating, noise levels, cleanliness, clean bathrooms, a great menu and top level barista service. And yet, as their expectations rise, many coffee shops are seeing typical per-customer spend remaining at $4.75 per customer across 2–4 hours at a minimum. People are camping out at tables with their laptops while spending barely enough money to keep your shop’s lights on.

Instead of relying on low-spending customers, coffee shop operators need to look for new innovative ways of offering managed, secure Wi-Fi with premium subscription options. Instead of a coffee shop as just a “place,” think of your coffee shop as offering a premium service that your best customers can buy into and keep coming back to again and again.

The Upsides of Managed Wi-Fi: The Right Customers Will Pay for Better Wi-Fi

Is it possible for Wi-Fi to be more than an infrastructure cost? YES, YES, YES. Photo by Jordan Sanchez via Unsplash

Many coffee shop operators might be reluctant to move to a managed Wi-Fi solution, but there are several benefits of changing the way you manage your Wi-Fi.

  • Better Store Experience: Open Wi-Fi can be detrimental to a coffee shop’s social environment when laptop workers spend their time hunkered down at tables without engaging with the community or giving back to your business. As described in this Wall Street Journal article, several New York coffee shop chains are eliminating Wi-Fi altogether in order to create a more convivial atmosphere and improve table turnover times. Managed Wi-Fi can help change your coffee shop from an all-day hangout to a more profitable and dynamic atmosphere.
  • Better for Your Best Customers: Coffee shop owners often find that just as they’re willing to pay a premium for great coffee with a unique heritage, their best customers are willing to pay more for a premium in-store experience. By offering managed Wi-Fi, you can offer premium secure Wi-Fi to each customer (for example with unique personal Wi-Fi PINs) with other amenities, such as reserved seats, special offers for in-seat purchases tailored to the customers’ interests, special rewards and loyalty programs, or other benefits. Give your best customers the best experience and they will keep coming back.
  • Better for Your Staff: A managed Wi-Fi solution can help make your staff’s job easier and improve productivity by understanding your shop’s peak access times and being able to better predict which products will be in demand on any particular day. Managed Wi-Fi can give your staff better visibility into the overall store traffic and workload to make for easier, more efficient shifts.
  • Better for Your Bottom Line: Managed Wi-Fi can help your store avoid leaving money on the table with low paying customers who camp out all day. What is the true value proposition that your coffee shop is offering to your customers? Don’t underestimate the value of great secure Wi-Fi and a comfortable atmosphere for co-working or business meetings or networking: a table and chair with fast Wi-Fi, a nice restroom and great staff is worth at least $4.00 per hour. That’s the additional revenue per customer per hour that your business is currently leaving on the table.

Real-Time In-Store Analytics At Your Fingertips

Why did we sell more macaroons today? Hmmmm… Photo by Eaters Collectivevia Unsplash

People in your coffee shop are not just drinking coffee — they are digital consumers who are open to a wide variety of online engagements, offers and transactions. By not fully depending on your POS system, your business gains valuable insights into what your customers like and length of time spent in your venue.

Laptop customers will fall in love with your location when they can easily order food and beverage or a retail product right from their seat while using their device. You might find that with premium Wi-Fi subscriptions, your coffee shop becomes a hub of small business owners and freelancers who need a dedicated workspace but without the hassles and commitment of a rented office — and these business professionals are willing to pay more for a better coffee shop experience.

Reward Them!

GoGoGuest enables your customers to earn built-in rewards with every purchase, letting them know that your coffee shop is dedicated to making their life better. Our solution also makes it easy to create email campaigns to keep customers coming back to your coffee shop with location-based special offers, new product samples, and promotions.

The consumer data-driven insights we retain empower a coffee shop to re-market retail products or offer additional food and beverage products by the hour. Easy access to this data will help you make better-informed marketing decisions to attract new customers and spread the word about your coffee shop beyond your neighborhood.

How GoGoGuest Works

GoGoGuest is the non-technical person’s best friend for Wi-Fi management and marketing. Photo by Alexander Dummer via Unsplash

Instead of giving away Wi-Fi for free to all of your customers, GoGoGuest has developed a simple and modern way to transform your coffee shop’s free Wi-Fi into a Premium Wi-Fi experience tied to transactions, building contact lists, automating email marketing, social engagement, rewards and product samplings.

GoGoGuest makes this engagement process simple for the sellers and fun for the customers. Our solution charges your customers a small hourly fee for premium Wi-Fi service — they’re not just “customers” at your coffee shop, they’re “subscribers” to the GoGoGuest service, which enables your coffee shop to present hourly purchase offerings, product samples, reward points, and more. With GoGoGuest your coffee shop can seamlessly manage your Wi-Fi on an hourly basis and make precisely relevant marketing offers to your best customers, achieving 30% more transactions (or more) with in-store eCommerce.

Wi-Fi Management and Marketing Without IT

GoGoGuest is super easy to install. You do not need an IT person or engineer on site to get you up and running. After signing up and providing the relevant information to set-up your account, we simply ship your hardware with our pre-installed proprietary technology. When it arrives, you unbox then all you need to do is plug it in and your Premium Wi-Fi with everything you need to attract new customers and to bring back your loyal customers is good to go!

Learn more. 

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small group of vibrant dressed people all stare down at their individual mobile devicescoffee shop wifi service