Update: So, we got a letter from the owners of S'nice with their side of the story. The gist: It's hard to make a buck these days, so it's kinda understandable why they do this--check it out:
My husband and I own sNice and we had a lot of discussions before we settled on our computer rules. Here’s how it went down about a year and a half ago: noontime rolls in and nearly every freaking table is occupied by a single person on a computer (there’s fourteen of them—I counted!). My capacity is cut in half because they don’t want to sit with anyone else and no one wants to sit with them. A family comes in who wants to eat and I spot a single empty table so I ask the woman on her computer at the next table does she mind moving so this family can sit together and she says yes she does mind! I was flabbergasted. And that evening my husband and I decided that we needed to do something about this.
What it comes down to is that we sell sandwiches. Most of that happens between noon and three and many days we have a full house. During those hours there are still two tables (about 10 seats) at the large tables where the computers are welcome during the weekdays at all hours. If you sit at that table I will NEVER bother you. And let me tell you, some of the people stay for like nine hours! When the Wall Street Journal wrote about computers in cafes last year they interviewed me in addition to the owner of Naidres. I guess they didn’t quote me because I wouldn’t talk shit about the computers. I said they are all customers and I am happy to accommodate everyone as best as I can. But I expect them all to respect the fact that we invested a buttload of money and pay a retarded amount of rent to be there. Once I feel like you are shitting on my business I will call you out on that. And that goes for studiers sitting for hours at a time and for people who bring their lunch from elsewhere to eat at my tables and for mommies letting their kids stomp on my plants in the yard. I’ve had words with all of them.
And yes, I know the computer people spend money but look at it this way: if we didn’t force them to sit at the big table during lunchtime they wouldn’t. They would sit at a two top. Alone. During that three hour period they may order a small coffee (often that’s all they get) but let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and throw a sandwich on that tab. So they spend maybe $10. In that same period we can flip that table several times, with two people sitting there, and make several times more. As soon as the afternoon comes, the computers spread all over the room again and the riot of lunch turns into the silence of an office and everyone’s happy. And those who aren’t happy with that can find another coffee shop to hang at. I gotta defend my lunch. I have bills to pay.