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This App Lets You Reserve a Seat at a Coffee Shop

This App Lets You Reserve a Seat at a Coffee Shop


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Croissant allows customers to reserve a spot at their local coffee shop, and then get charged automatically for time spent there

Tired of walking into a coffee shop only to find that every single seat has been taken? This app should help clear up some frustrations.

The founders of the new app Croissant know that sinking feeling all too well: You head over to your local coffee shop with the intention of buying a latte and getting some work done, and every single seat has been taken. Well, with Croissant, you’ll be able to reserve a spot at your local coffee shop or coworking space ahead of time and pay for the time you spend there.

Founders Dave Idell, Adam Chew, and Nisha Garigan told TechCrunch that customers will be able to check in on the app and even order food and drinks ahead of time. The coolest part of the app is that customers won’t even have to take out their wallet once they’re inside the coffee shop. The Bluetooth Beacons register each customer’s device, and their credit card is automatically charged once they leave.

The app was revealed at the TechCrunch Disrupt NY Hackathon, but it’s unclear if and when it would be released to the public.


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Don't Be That Loitering Jerk: Café Etiquette for You and Your Laptop

It’s noon on a Saturday at the cutest (read: most crowded) luncheonette in town and you’re craning your neck to find a table. You spot someone in the corner, solo, hogging a two-top with his MacBook Pro and a half-empty cappuccino. What gives? Loitering at cafés, coffee shops, luncheonettes, bars, and restaurants is an art, and there is a way to linger and enjoy yourself without being an insensitive jerk. Here’s how it’s done.

Look and See

The number one rule is to be aware of your surroundings. Assess how busy the place is. "Don't look at the line by the register. We try to clear everyone's order quickly. If the seats are more than half occupied, we consider that busy," says Justin DeWaard , manager at Barista Parlor in Nashville and formerly of Rowster Coffee in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This is especially true at peak hours, like rush hour and weekend brunch time.

There are also signals to let you know you're teetering on the edge of irresponsibility: "If you feel hawk-like eyes staring you down that aren't the waitstaff, that's a sign," chef Gerardo Gonzalez of New York's 15-seat El Rey Coffee Bar and Luncheonette joshes. He adds that a no WiFi or no laptop rule is probably a gentle warning that the place is sensitive to customers overstaying their welcome, even when they just come with a long lost friend or a book.

The window seats at El Rey are more comfortable for drinking than eating, so dinnertime coffee customers are encouraged to sit here. Photo: Peden + Munk

How Long Is Too Long?

But that's not saying you should rush. Treat a smaller café or luncheonette the way you would a restaurant : You wouldn't finish a meal, pay the check, and stay at a table for another two hours without ordering another glass of wine or a dessert. "Once you finish your beverage or food, you have around 30 minutes," says Gonzalez. After that, order something else or consider packing it in.

Caroline Bell , CEO of Café Grumpy in New York, acknowledges that it's tough to set specific time limits, and the rules vary by time and location. For example, it's totally fine for people to use Café Grumpy's original location and roastery in Greenpoint, Brooklyn as an office, and laze around all day. There's room for it and it's not on a major commuting route. But Grumpy has removed outlets and WiFi from its five other locations, many of which are in busier Manhattan.

WiFi and outlets do encourage camping. But even though DeWaard and Barista Parlor offer free WiFi (and therefore don't hate laptops), the coffeeshop and restaurant recently had to install customized, mega high-speed internet to accommodate its internet-using patrons, despite the fact that they're sometimes the ones who pay the least.

People wait for hours to sit in one of the less than 20 seats at L.A.'s Sqirl. Photo: Michael Graydon + Nikole Herriott

Food > Coffee > Tea

Gonzalez doesn't mean to lay the blame on tea drinkers, in particular, but, okay, yes, sometimes it's tea drinkers that ask for one free hot water refill too many when there are 10-plus people waiting in line outside. Rents on Stanton Street, in New York's Lower East Side, are very high and Gonzalez admits, "We would never survive on just coffee alone." The reason El Rey (originally just El Rey Coffee Bar) tacked "and Luncheonette" to its name was so that it could serve food and, therefore, better pay the bills. Now, it serves dinner (and wine!) and requires coffee-only customers to take their drinks to go after 6 p.m. Coffee-drinking vibes clash with nighttime drinking, and El Rey would rather have the seats occupied by dinner-goers to cover labor costs, anyway.

Patisserie Craftsman and Wolves in San Francisco gets busy. Let other people enjoy it as much as you do. Photo: Erin Kunkel

Paying Grace

There is such a thing as buying your way into good graces. " In a weird way, people are renting space , so adding a pastry to the order helps," says Bell, adding that someone sitting there till sundown might want to order a few items rather than just nurse one tea. And, please, for the love of everything, "Don't bring outside lunch. If you're hanging out here all day, best practice is to buy food at the place otherwise, leave for lunch and come back later," says Bell.

The Bottom Line

Keep in mind that cafés and luncheonettes are businesses with thin margins that rely on high volume to survive. DeWaard says, "I just want people to realize that you need to buy a coffee or something every hour or so. We need it to keep the lights on." What it comes down to is respect—for the business you're in and for other customers who want to enjoy their time there as much as you do. Levels DeWaard, "I love people, I love being in the people industry, and I love taking care of people, but there needs to be mutual respect."


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This App Will Put Your Name on the List, Then Text You When Your Table Is Ready

The only thing more annoying than busy restaurants that won&apost take reservations are busy restaurants that won&apost take reservations and won&apost tell you over the phone whether or not there currently is a long wait for a table. Enter new app Nowait, which has partnered with over 4,000 restaurants nationwide to allow customers to put their names down for tables remotely𠅊nd receive a text when their tables are ready. Customers save time by not waiting around in a restaurant&aposs foyer, and restaurants get to streamline their seating system—so everybody wins.

"For restaurants, Nowait integrates, streamlines, and optimizes the entire front of house𠅏rom waitlists to table turnover to analytics and more—so that they efficiently provide amazing service," Nowait&aposs website explains. "Guests use Nowait to add themselves to a restaurant&aposs list, get texted when their table is ready, and privately rate their experiences at the end of the meal. Easy to use and even easier to love, Nowait provides the ideal restaurant experience for both sides of the table."

Even better? Yelp recently announced that it&aposs partnered with Nowait, and will allow Yelp users to join a Nowait queue directly from the Yelp platform. So if you&aposre browsing Yelp for dinner, you&aposll soon be able to put your name down for a table𠅎ven at the last minute. "This partnership has multiple benefits," Nowait CEO Ware Sykes told TechCrunch. "It helps us by enabling us to drive more traffic to our restaurants and it allows us to bring the Nowait experience to as many consumers as possible."


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Welcome!

I'm Maya Krampf - cookbook author, recipe developer, meal plan creator, writer, photographer, and keto advocate. My low carb keto blog contains EASY, natural, keto & low carb recipes, with 10 ingredients or less!

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