It’s become a staple to many city cafés seeking to lure students and professionals, but wireless Internet won’t be served at lunch any longer at Cambridge’s Dwelltime.
Jaime van Schyndel, owner of the café at 364 Broadway, said that beginning today, the café will shut off its free wireless Internet service to customers between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
The small café with 20 seats can’t afford to have too many people lingering on their laptops while other paying customers can’t find a seat, he said.
“I’m not trying to stick a thumb in their eye and say these people are ruining our business,” van Schyndel said. “I don’t want it to just be quiet, basically a library in here.”
His café is not the first to wrestle with the dilemma of customers lingering on their laptops while others hunt for a seat.
Restaurants, such as the Rosebud in Somerville’s Davis Square, don’t allow laptops, and Michael Sobelman, the owner of popular lunch spot Michael’s Deli in Brookline said he’s been called the “Deli Nazi” because he doesn’t allow anyone to read in his restaurant at busy times.
Located halfway between Harvard and MIT, Dwelltime serves a number of students and professionals in Cambridge, and van Schyndel said he’s trying to keep his café a social spot where people talk and interact with each other.
The wireless Internet is offered to his customers as a courtesy, but van Schyndel said he has recently noticed that the Internet service has transformed his café into a co-working space at certain times of day.
He said he’s hoping to expand the café to more than 40 seats and his longterm plan is to dedicate a seating area for people on laptops. But for now, van Schyndel said he’s also considering whether to shut off the wireless Internet on weekends when high volumes of customers are coming in and out of the café.