I get a LOT more done during the day if I go somewhere than I do if I stay home. So, I’m pretty familiar with all the WiFi spots near me. I know which ones have a good/strong signal, which ones nag for multiple logins, which places have good food, and even which of my favorites beers are on draft where…for that 5pm reward for a hard day’s work!
I’m also a courteous customer. I always order something. I usually have a meal just before or after a peak time for the business. And, I don’t stay if there aren’t free tables during these peak times unless I have put food on my tab. I know that the free WiFi is a benefit, not a right. I know that it’s a perk for customers. I know they use it as a draw to get people in the door to spend money. I follow these same rules even at fast food joints.
Today, I hit one of my infrequent standbys. I love Kerbey Lane, so I occasionally treat myself.
I was a little befuddled when my MacBook Pro didn’t remember the password for the WiFi, but figured they had just changed it. I even wondered if they no longer had WiFi for customers. Turns out, they have had to set it on timers that turn it off during peak hours.
So, some inconsiderate customers ruined it for me: one customer at a tiny table in the bar area (where they don’t seat people unless the customer requests this spot). There are ~always empty seats in the bar area. Plus, I spent $15 on my appetizer, dessert, and Diet Coke; certainly comparable to any other person’s lunch tab. And, I tip well. In my opinion, a nice tip is part of the deal when you make heavy use of the free WiFi.)
This is what is NOT ok when using the free WiFi at a business…especially if they have table service.
- Failing to order.
- Failing to tip.
- Ordering just coffee (or any other refill drink) and staying longer than an hour.
- Keeping a table occupied if anyone (any ONE) is waiting for seating.
- Hogging a big table all day, keeping them from easily seating large groups…and yes, that corner booth counts. Don’t make the servers pull tables together for every party of five that comes through the door.
- Talking on the phone at the table or holding a video conference. (Yes, I’ve seen this!) If it’s that critical to your work, either sit outside in this 100+ heat or rent a conference room at the local co-working office. Besides, how professional is a conference call/video from a restaurant, anyway? You might as well be at home with the crying baby and barking dog in the background.
Respect that others around you are dining and are on a break from work.