There are approximately 15 Starbucks within a 20 Km radius of my home in north Toronto, Ontario (Scarborough). Several are in Scarborough, several are in Markham, some in Unionville, some in Richmond Hill, some in North York.
Over the past year I have brought it to the attention of many store managers, district managers, regional managers and North American Operations that a lot of Starbuck's customers like to take advantage of the wireless wi-fi that can be found at a Starbucks. It is not unusual to find one person sitting at a table for two or four individuals using a laptop (these days even tablets) with other books, papers, etc scattered all over the table. 60% of the time the individual has purchased a Starbuck's beverage but on average the individual purchases only one beverage and remains at the table for hours (anywhere from two to eight hours, depending on the Starbuck location). When you ask Starbuck staff to suggest to the individual to purchase another drink or packup and leave they refuse.
It is a little known fact that the City of Toronto does have a loitering by-law which basically states you have 45 minutes from the purchase of your beverage to use a table (facilities) within the merchant's building. After 45 minutes you either purchase something else or move on. Tim Hortons and Timothys actually have signs posted in their establishments warning customers of a time limit.
But, heck let us do some simple math. On average a Starbuck's beverage costs $5.00. Two individuals each buy a beverage and sit at a table; $10.00. In 45 to 60 minutes they leave and another two individuals take their place, so that one table is averaging $10.00 per hour. BUT, if one person with a laptop purchases one beverage and stays at that table for four hours Starbucks has lost $35 in gross revenue, not to mention that if a lot of individuals are doing the same there will be additional lost revenue because individuals coming into to "socialize" can't find a place to sit and enjoy a Starbuck's beverage.
Change this up to a table of four. $40 per hour gross revenue. One person at the table with a laptop purchases one beverage. An immediate loss of $35 gross revenue in the first hour. If that one person stays at the same table for up to four hours it slowly becomes $100's of dollars in loss revenue.
In New York City Starbuck's managers are actually covering plugs in an attempt to keep to laptop users from sitting for hours at a table doing what ever it is they are doing on their laptops. Writing their memoirs?
There are more and more blogs on the web regarding this issue but management at Starbucks (not just Canada but North America) don't seem to want to take any action to prevent lossed revenue.
Starbucks needs to go back to the two hour limit and you need to long on with a valid Starbucks Card number to gain access to the wireless wi-fi.
As I said before I have written formal letters to store managers, district managers, regional managers and North American operations and all I get is "thank you for your interest in Starbucks and here are some free beverage coupons".
SO, the matter at hand is this. When I go to a Starbucks (and I am finding this to be an issue not only with the 15 around my home and business) with business associates or my spouse we cannot find a place to sit because the memoir writing techies (laptop, tablet users) have filled up the Starbucks and no one of the Starbucks Staff is willing to go up and confront a laptop user who has been in the location for hours (yes, we sometimes go back to the location and see if the same people are there and normally they are) and ask them to leave. For a company that is in the business of providing a service of a well brewed beverage and a place to sit down and enjoy it, Starbucks is providing VERY VERY POOR customer service in this respect and therefore this is why I have posted THIS GRIPE!