It's been hot here in LA this week since the Labor Day weekend. People hit out in the malls, coffee shops, and deli sections of supermarkets. It was the coffee shops that was most interesting.
I went to Starbucks, Coffee Beans, and a couple of local places. The most interesting aspect was how they cater to mobile warriors.
During this hot week, you've got the regular foot traffic. People I recognize from time to time. Then you've got the folks who came to get a cold drink and escape the heat. Well, once the weather changes, this latter group would disappear.
And we mobile folks know which coffee places are friendly than others. Starbucks places no restriction on Wi-Fi use at all. Coffee Beans gives you two hours. And the local places make the users ask for the mobile access information.
Of the three, which would you go if all things being equal? I think the best way any chain or independent coffee shop owners who want to gain better traffic against Starbucks is to simply put a sign on the window that says "laptops welcome!".
And the coffee shops should feel free to jack up the price. After all, they are providing a premium mobile space.