Showing posts with label coffee shops. Show all posts
Showing posts with label coffee shops. Show all posts

15 December 2008

A simple solution

Sometimes I hear about an idea that I think is so cool that my entire day is made. One of these times was last Friday, when I saw this image on swissmiss:

If you're not in the mood to click on the image to read it all, I'll give you a summary. There is a chain of coffee shops in Holland called CoffeeCompany. They wanted to attract more students, so they introduced free WiFi to their stores near universities. You can probably guess what happened: a ton of students started showing up, but then they would sit there for hours on their computers and not really order anything to eat or drink.

From my limited experience... when this has turned into a problem in New York coffee shops, they take it away from us. Aroma – an espresso bar around the corner from Naked – turns off their WiFi from noon to 3pm. Blackbird Parlour in Williamsburg put a tiny sign over their electrical outlets asking patrons to kindly not use WiFi on Saturdays or Sundays. This kind of thing has always left me thinking "But that is part of the joy of a coffee shop for so many people!," but I didn't know what the alternative could be so that a) people would be happy, and b) the coffee shop would sustain their business.

crossroads smoothie

Enter THEY, an agency in Amsterdam. Their solution: renaming the WiFi networks every now and then to advertise food and drinks, instead of just calling it "CoffeeCompanyWiFi." So, when students would sit down, open their computers and search for the network, it might say

or "BuyCoffeeForCuteGirlOverThere?"
or "TodaysSpecialEspresso1,60Euro."

A tiny explosion went off in my head. And then my face lit up and I sent it to the entire office.

Reading through some of the comments on swissmiss, pparently this type of execution has been done before. But I love the CoffeeCompany example. It leveraged a nearly unexplored channel to address a business problem, rather than an "everything else is cluttered, where else can we stick our message" problem. Made me smile.

16 July 2008

Coffee shop chalkboard signs

In the past several months, I have been taking photos of chalkboard signs outside of coffee shops. Very specifically: Sweet Farm and El Beit in Williamsburg. These two shops started out being next to each other, and I wasn't sure how each one would do, competition-wise.

After a while, each shop ended up claiming a firm position in my mind because of the stuff on the ever-changing chalkboard signs outside each store. El Beit tended to focus a lot on dreamy imagery like tiled teddy bears, coffee mugs with wings, clouds, etc. Endearingly cute but not in a cloying way. Sweet Farm liked to use puns and a little bit of absurdity that made me laugh. I for some reason can't find any of the El Beit photos and I can't imagine why, but here are some from Sweet Farm:

Sweet Farm


I just found this on my phone

Much to my dismay, I noticed a few months ago that Sweet Farm was gone and had been converted into something called Penny Licks. I don't know if they have really figured out who they are yet, but for now they tend to focus on pretty writing that makes me want dessert. I guess that's a good strategy for a place that has sweets.

Penny Licks - replaced Sweet Farm

Yesterday, I wondered if maybe El Beit decided to take some of the silliness that Sweet Farm used to use. This is what I saw over the weekend:

The first big word I ever learned...

I assure you that I am making this whole thing out to be more than it really is (the personality of coffee shops and such). I bet it's just the same guy who does the board each day and he has a fun personality. Ditto the other shops. Oh well, nice to daydream.

13 February 2007

coffee shops

Amarin Cafe
Originally uploaded by tokyohanna.
Hello from JFK airport. My flight is predictably delayed, not because it is JFK (as per usual), but because of the crap weather. Hopefully I make it to my destination!

Anyway. My point. Right. Coffee shops. This is a topic that has been written about to death. Most recently, the organized, communal meetup. But I'm talking about going alone here. Going to take advantage of some good quality me-time.

It's something I did at least twice a week last summer. I had just gotten my Master's degree, and I was officially unemployed. I would spend hours and hours emailing people that I wanted to work for while at different Richmond coffee shops (most notably and agressively, Paul: ask him. I think I annoyed him into hiring me.) ...working on my book, writing down reflections and thoughts about the whole thing. I would often order the special tea or coffee of the day. I would be there with Stella (my iBook), a journal, a pen and headphones. I had a mental list of a few places I would go to - Crossroads, Wired, Shockoe Espresso. My favorite, above all, was World Cup, though. One entire wall was a transparent garage door that they would open whenever the weather was nice. Sunlight filled this place like you wouldn't believe. There was a little park right outside of that garage door, where people would ride by on bikes (Richmond bike culture is another entry altogether) or sit with their dogs. I would love it. Mango green tea. Tropical green tea. China gunpowder (for those extra productive days). I wish I had the time and money to do this as often as I used to. But anyway. It was the best part of that summer.

I didn't mean to write an entry on coffee shops - I really just meant to link to this piece on coffee culture in Serious Eats. It was written by the Amateur Gourmet - whom I've been reading for a year and a half - and is brilliant. Spot-on. He did a bang-up job. Especially this part:

...the quality of coffee is slightly less important than the quality of environment when weighing the merits of a coffee shop. Good coffee will certainly make you want to come back, but if there's nowhere to sit, or if the seats are uncomfortable, or if the staff is inhospitable and irritated at your commandeering a table with your laptop, you won't want to go back.

There is a very very cute part at the end, too. I had no idea that that's how he met Craig!

Anyway. Yay. Coffee shops. Introspection. Inspiration. Making things. Getting a job (the job of my dreams, the one I most wanted more than anything else) after three months of toiling. Continuing to write. And waiting for my plane to take off :)
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