Businesses losing money over free Wi-Fi

By Evrod Cassimy – bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Free Wi-Fi offered by restaurants and coffee shops has made it easier for people to get work done on the go. But the same free service is taking business away from the very places that offer it.

"Recently we've been kind of getting a lot of customers in at our peak hours at our coffee shop," said Ellwood Thompson employee, Kim Lewis. "With so many people coming in to use our internet we're having a lack of seating and we're getting some customer concerns."

Because of this, Elmwood Thompson Coffee Shop has cut off its free Wi-Fi service during lunch and dinner hours. This is in efforts to prevent those using the free service from taking up space for paying customers.

When asked how long he usually spends when he's out working at a coffee shop, Shawn Latendresse said all day. Over at Crossroads Coffee Shop, they're dealing with the same problem. For them, pleasing customers, though, is better than losing business.

"We've been kind of looking at it as a wash," said Crossroads Coffee manager, William Herring. "So we've made the decision not to restrict the internet at this point."

And while Ellwood Thompson has limited their Wi-Fi connection, some customers don't seem to mind. They still try to give back to the business that's offering them the free service.

"I think it's fair," said Latendresse. "I buy stuff just so I'm not taking up space."

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