Local cafe’s laptop sanctions create a social space for all

Owner of Rhostio Speciality Coffee, Tunahan Kirktepeli, says his restrictions upon laptop users have created a multi-purpose space for all the community

People sitting at tables in a cafe using their laptops despite laptop ban
Remote workers using their laptops in Rhostio on a Friday afternoon

Despite remote workers being one of the most reliable customers in cafes, a Cathays coffee shop has imposed laptop restrictions to ensure their business remains an inclusive space for all customers. 

Tunahan Kirktepeli, owner of Rhostio Speciality Coffee on Crwys Road, says he enforced the restrictions in order to keep customers satisfied, whilst keeping the place profitable. 

During the week, wifi codes are available for a duration of 90 minutes before the customer is expected to make another purchase. On weekends, there is an imposed laptop and wifi ban, prioritising customers who use the cafe for socialising, and provide the majority of revenue. 

Kirktepeli, 40, commented that although everyone is welcomed at the front door, Rhostio is an independent business. In order for the staff to survive, customers need to spend money. “It is as simple as that”, he said. 

A study conducted by Broadband Genie last month found that 23% of UK employees opt to work in a coffee shop once a week in order to minimise energy bills, boost productivity and be surrounded by other people. 

However, Kirktepeli emphasised that being on the business side of the table has given him a new perspective, being left with no choice but to reduce the number of remote workers. He added, “We are, as a team, trying to make it possible for both parties.” 

Despite initially receiving negative reviews from laptop users who were struggling to adapt to the changes, Kirktepeli acknowledged that six months on, customers now have a greater appreciation for the qualities which make Rhostio such an appealing place to be.

“We have a unique place,” he explains, “it’s an unusually shaped building with a rooftop area, a house coffee roastery, and home baked goods. These are reasons why anybody would like to be here.”