New York real estate is expensive, restaurant margins are low, and consumers, many of whom now work remotely for at least a few days a week, are fed up with spending time at home. Combine these three things and you have the side business of New York’s restaurant and Kindred wine bar – tables to rent to remote workers during the working day. CNBC reports that in September 2020 the restaurant started renting out its tables for $ 25 per day, which includes unlimited coffee refills, internet access, charging points and use of the bathroom.

This working environment, neither at home nor in the office, reflects Starbucks’ philosophy of the “Third Place,” the concept of a space that, according to the original definition of sociologist Ray Oldenburg, is an environment that “the regular, voluntary, informal and happily expected In fact, in 2018, following a racially insensitive incident, Starbucks made it public that consumers would not need to make a purchase to take advantage of this third-place environment.

As the chain’s CEO Kevin Johnson once stated, “Starbucks stores have always been known as the ‘third place,’ a welcoming place outside of our home and work where we meet over a cup of coffee.”

Of course, most smaller businesses cannot afford such an open door policy. By setting a flat rate that can be high enough to discourage many consumers, Kindred avoids the problem many hospitality establishments have in opening their rooms to remote workers – the so-called “laptop squatters” who are nearby stay for the day without making any purchases beyond the first $ 3. Some coffee shops that attract these remote workers have a “one purchase per hour you stay” policy. Others have a “no-laptop policy” to discourage these types of customers while remaining a welcome third place for social gatherings.

For coffee shops and other work-friendly hospitality establishments without such guidelines, the risk can be worthwhile in markets where real estate is more affordable. Because bringing customers to their door is the first step in getting them to buy. However, in cities like New York, where every minute is expensive, the honor system may not be cut.

“Three hours on $ 5 coffee is not a working model,” David Wynn, co-owner of the now-closed Triniti coffeeshop in Los Angeles, told the New York Times in 2018. The news agency noted that some coffeeshops with subtle nudges to Encourage customers to use the space more thoughtfully. Uncomfortable furniture can keep customers from spending hours in the store, while Wi-Fi that triggers users regularly can remind customers that given their long time in the store, it might be time to place another order.

Of course, teleworkers are also an essential source of income for many coffee shops, so that too hostile nudges may alienate these customers and send them back to their home offices or co-working spaces. Perhaps a flat-rate day-to-day plan like Kindred, which welcomes these workers but ensures they pay for the space they occupy, may be the solution food establishments need to maintain the third-place environment.

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NEW PYMNTS DATA: AI IN FOCUS: THE BANKING TECHNOLOGY ROADMAP

About the course: The AI ​​In Focus: The Bank Technology Roadmap is a research- and interview-based report that examines how banks are using artificial intelligence and other advanced computer systems to improve credit risk management and other aspects of their business. The playbook is based on a survey of 100 bank managers and is part of a larger series evaluating the potential of AI in finance, healthcare and other sectors.