Sitting down at 780 Cafe will cost you $5.00 starting today

780 cafe, san francisco, food, drink, cafe, i/o ventures, valencia street, mission district, coffee shop

780 Valencia has had a rocky couple of years since The Summit opened and closed and 780 Cafe picked up the reins. It’s still a great cafe with a strong coworking community – but starting today if your order consists of a single coffee it’s going to come in a paper cup. That’s because 780 has instituted a new $5 minimum to sit – and if your order doesn’t hit it they’ll send you out the door.

Cafes in the Mission are in a tough spot – making rent off cups of coffee isn’t easy, and when hordes of laptop workers set up shop for hours they can deprive other customers of seats. Business owners have responded in a variety of ways – some have removed or limited their power outlets, others reserve tables for lunch, others grant WiFi bandwidth for every purchase, and others have cut the internet completely from the equation. There’s ups and downs to every approach, and the policy a cafe takes will determine its clientele.

As someone who occasionally works in cafes, I’m a big fan of the WiFi per purchase model – it encourages patrons to support the business by setting up a clear transaction with added value: in exchange for money I receive a good and a service. Establishing a minimum purchase point to sit down has the opposite effect – instead of an incentive it’s a barrier to entry. What’s your take?


87 thoughts on “Sitting down at 780 Cafe will cost you $5.00 starting today”

  1. stop hogging all the seats assholes,i want a cup of coffee & relax. I didn’t wake up to get away from people in the house to come see your pretentious ass at 6,7,etc.. whatever time.

  2. I don’t work in cafes, but if I buy a cup of coffee in one, I damn well expect to sit down and enjoy it! Thanks for the heads up, I’ll avoid this place.

    1. Yeah never been in here and thanks to this post never will. but thanks for the heads up,now i can look inside on my bike ride by and get a kick out of the people in the window.

    2. GG is missing the point. If they don’t employ some sort of “discouragement” against the table hogs, it won’t matter if you bought a coffee or an entire 5 course meal. You won’t be able to sit because all these lifeless drones have staked out tables for the entire day, and don’t give a sh””t about common courtesy, or whether they’re driving the cafe to financial ruin.

  3. I’ve worked from here a bunch of times and often for multiple hours, but even on a good day its hard for me to last more than 4 hours in any cafe. Even then, I usually buy more than a single cup of coffee and food if they make it.

    Regardless of whats being reported, 780 has plenty of seating throughout the day, solid food and an excellent window seat or 6.

    My personal opinion is that the space is too big for any cafe… and the menu needs to be focused more on bites/snacks to keep laptoppers hungry and making purchases. If the second bit of space was a more appropriate shared space, I would definitely rent. I wouldn’t mind seeing small pop-ups in that second space… or even a Ping Pong hall…

    1. The $5 minimum are for people that sits with their laptops and work all day. I hate to sit to have a great meal and a nice cup of coffee when some retard is squatting a whole table feeling at home, drinking water all day while I can’t even have a comfortable space to eat. This business will be brought to shit if they don’t stop this laptop madness, seriously, be considerate this is the only work friendly place left in SF with amazing food and coffee. Don’t take it away from us.

  4. That’s better than the Summit where they refused to put espresso in a paper cup at all, because they said it ruined the flavor.

    1. Brillo we love your comments and this is not personal. but they were doing you a favor,any cafe that would sell you a espresso in a paper cup is bammer.

      1. I was making a chocolate cake and the recipe called for a cup of espresso. They still refused, like snobs. Besides, maybe my palate isn’t as advanced as y’alls.

  5. First of all, the music is SO loud in there. It’s good music, but it makes it really hard to focus and people have to yell at each other to talk. Regarding the $5 minimum, I totally get that a business has to make money. But going to a cafe and working is a big part of SF culture. It would be shitty to discourage that. And a lot of people don’t want to get more than a single beverage at a time when they go to a cafe. Perhaps they should do what Church Street Cafe does? They give you a personalized code each time you make a purchase (even if it’s below $5) that lasts for an hour or two (can’t remember exactly how long). When it runs out, you make another purchase and get another code.

    1. No. going to a cafe in SF and hanging out for HOURS doing nothing but laptop surfing is irresponsible.

      The cafe is in business to ALSO make a profit. You should pay to sit in their space all day.

  6. Seriously, they should just charge $5 to sit there and work. When I go work in a cafe, I don’t want to be a freeloading jerk, I just want to do some work in a nice place with other people around. If I hit the end of an hour or whatever, usually I don’t really want more coffee or another muffin, but I’d toss in a few more bucks to keep working there. The real problem, I think, is payment. The standard SpeedNet or whatever it is just doesn’t inspire the kind of confidence you’d like in an outfit taking your credit card info. Maybe one of the myriad payment startups should go after that instead of all trying to be a loyalty-card replacement.

  7. All I can say is “boo hoo hoo”. There’s too many stuck up coffee places on Valencia. If some die because they can’t make money selling coffee then who the fuck cares. Just fucking die.

  8. MonkeyBrains provides internet to 780 Cafe (as well as CoffeeBar). Last month, we had to rewire the run as the new construction next door was blocking 780 Cafe’s signal. I support the $5 as a fraction of that goes to MonkeyBrains — and that keeps 9 people employed!

  9. I like 780/Summit because it’s a magnet for every douche waffle in the neighborhood and I can work elsewhere in peace.

    Hope this doesn’t change anything.

  10. Ehh, who cares. The Mission is already blown out.

    At least this is just a minimum purchase requirement and not a price hike like they do in Europe.
    If you order and espresso and want to drink it at a table it can cost almost twice as much than just drinking it at the bar (counter).

  11. Lets be honest here, no cafe can’t survived by just selling one cup of coffee a day. 780 Cafe has been more than generous allowing us to use their space to work. It is fair that we contribute, they are not asking much two hours for $5 it’s actually $2.50 an hour. Plus this minimum ONLY applies for the people that go sit there to work. If you still want to come in and enjoy a cup of coffee or anything else you still can without having to reach the $5 minimum.

  12. I’m not sure I understand why this is a problem? I mean, a $5 minimum isn’t a tremendous amount. Hell, that’s what a single cup of coffee can run you at Ritual.

    1. At my apartment, a single cup of coffee will cost you… um, nothing at all. OK, it does cost ME something — but not 5 bucks. If you’re my friend, though, I’m not gonna charge you money to drink my coffee and use my wireless. So my question is — why are people so insistent on using public coffee and public internet? Do they not have any friends? Are they that insecure about their ability to connect with friends?

      I only wonder about this because, usually, the youngsters seem to belong to generation that is rooted in “friending” people.

      1. You can’t be seen about the neighborhood in your friend’s apartment. The premium isn’t about a workspace. It’s about a “hip” workspace where you can see and be seen. You’ll know SF has truly reached Manhattan levels when a shop opens up charging more and is more vigorous about keeping out the riff raff.

      2. not everyone has shiftless friends who sit at home during normal work hours waiting to entertain guests every day. also, most of my friends don’t have espresso machines or offer to make me breakfast sandwiches.

    2. For me, it’s because I often am out and about and just want to get coffee and sit down for a few minutes. I don’t have a laptop, don’t want to stay and work for hours, and would be pretty pissed off if some cafe owner told me I didn’t have the right to have a seat for 15 minutes because my single cup of coffee cost less than $5. I think a reasonable way to address the laptop issue is to limit power or wifi, the way most cafes do.

      1. Yeah but then some dude with a tablet with 10 hours of battery life and a cellular data connection can just drop right in and totally game the system.

  13. There’s nothing outrageous about this. I also prefer the pay-per-use method, but when you take culture, ambiance, and personal feelings aside, the company must still make their own ends meet to continue operating.

  14. Just so you know, the owner of 780 recently looked around at Preservation Hall, at the condos going up next door, and at all the shi-shi restaurants on the block and decided he wants the family that runs 780 out for a more high-rent tenant. He even turned the wireless off which the manager had to re-establish himself. It sucks that a charge to use the wifi had to be levied (unless your a worthless blogger), but I get the feeling they’re holding onto that place by the skin of their teeth.

    In the past, they’ve hosted local fashion shows and lots of local events there, and the space was actually the home of the first SF Hell’s Angels chapter (it’s amazing what you find out when you talk to people, Mike).

    So by all means, “boycott” this horrible injustice just because of some uninformed glorified Yelp bitch session. I look forward to Mike’s earnest future entry about how the neighborhood has changed so much.

    For the real story about how the landlord is raising their rent from $9000 to $30,000, here’s an article that includes actual research:
    http://uptownalmanac.com/2012/11/it-time-ban-new-restaurants-opening-valencia

    1. “Too late, too late,” will be the cry when the man with the bargains passes you by.

      The neighborhood has already been blown out of the water. Merchants who have been profiting off of this for the last three years don’t want to be the “victims” when their landlords cash in on a trend they’ve been thriving off of They want to slam the door shut on everyone coming in right behind them.

      There is no mythical bust coming to return the neighborhood to some virgin hip state. Much like the Marina, Pac Heights, Nob Hill, etc., the money in the Mission has begun to run deep and it’s connected to industries that are here for the forseeable future.

      Oakland has already begun to get fucked by the kids who went to the Mission to be cool only to find it had already moved on years ago. Please stay away. We don’t have enough fancy coffee or overpriced burgers over here.

      1. Just so’s y’know, y’all, you can get pretty much ALL the benefits of, with mostly NONE of the deficits of living in the SF Bay Area, by moving to any large mid-western university city in the USA. Try Texas, Kansas, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, or some of them others. You don’t have to go to the school! They have culture there, too!

      2. It is either hot as fuck or snows 5 months out of the year in those places, and they lack fresh veggies and decent wine….but that being said, if you are going to sit around all day and hog tables in a business, they have every right to bill you for it…

      3. Yeah, but they have summer air-conditioning and winter heating, neither of which exist in San Francisco. It’s all a question of what you’re willing to put up with — hipsters, or weather.

      4. That’s my point. People don’t move to middle of the nowhere, usually small, college towns because ones that aren’t in urban centers usually don’t have a ton of jobs for those of us without PhDs.

      5. nigga, move to portland with this shit. you had a point but then you fucked your point in the asshole with your self righteous shit.

      6. Don’t worry, I don’t want to move to Oakland. Why would I want to live in the suburbs instead of The City?

      7. Oakland IS San Francisco — if you could fill in the bay (or try living in LA), you’d recognize it right away. Oakland is San Francisco’s South Gate/Willowbrook/Compton.

      8. If you’re a town in the San Francisco Bay Area, and you’re not San Francisco itself, you are necessarily a suburb of San Francisco. Q.E.D.

      9. Being raised in S.F. I always considered anything outside of it the suburbs.

        Common name: San Francisco Bay Area or Bay Area

        Largest city

        San Jose
        San Francisco

        Other cities

        Oakland
        Fremont
        Santa Rosa
        Hayward
        Sunnyvale
        Concord
        Santa Clara
        Vallejo

        Population

        – Total

        7.15 million[1]

        – Density

        1023.76/sq. mi.
        395.29/km²

        Area

        6,984 sq. mi.
        18,088 km²

        Country

        United States

        State(s)

        California

        Elevation

        – Highest point

        Mount Hamilton
        4,360 feet (1,329 m)

        – Lowest point

        Alviso
        -10 feet (-3 m)

      10. No, if you’re a town in the San Francisco Bay Area, and you’re not San Francisco itself, you are necessarily a part of Metro San Francisco. Q.E.D.

        I put it in terms of Southern California, but I could just as easily assert that Queens is New York, and I would be right.

        Santa Rosa, on the other hand, IS a suburb (bedroom) of San Francisco — much like San Bernardino or some place on the ass end of Long Island.

      11. Suburbs are partly about a relation to an urban center and partly about density. In this case, neither standard makes Oakland a suburb. If we want to get super technical, we’d also add that a suburb must be primarily residential, with the housing meeting the needs of the urban center that the suburb is connected to. Academics would likely classify parts of SF as suburban, as well as parts of Oakland based on the qualitative assesment of whether or not the neighborhood is predominately residential, single family or duplex residences dominate and the area is relatively well off. There are many parts of SF that fit this defition.

        Oakland’s density is about 2,704 people per square kilometer. SF’s is 6,600 per square km. San Jose has about 2,1000 people per sq. km. All of these cities are dense enough to qualify as urban. For comparison, Walnut Creek’s density is 1,300 per sq.km. Also, the name of our CSA is the SF – SJ – Oakland CSA.

        I understand that Herr Doktor just wants to make fun of Oakland, but this was a good teaching opportunity.

      12. Exactly. Every town in the San Francisco Metro Area that is not San Francisco is necessarily a suburb of San Francisco.

      13. On the contrary, Oakland is my FAVORITE suburb of San Francisco. But even the best suburb is still a suburb.

      14. I can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic or not. Cuz, you’re right, Queens is not a suburb of New York City. Because Queens is actually part of New York City.

    2. Didn’t the Summit have to leave because of the landlord too? Someone needs to have a sit down with SF landlords of these places! (like Tosca, Gold Dust, etc)

  15. I don’t understand why people say “the Mission is ‘blown out'” when it is really just a few blocks of Valencia that have really blown up. I mean, sure, there are the Central Kitchen, Flour + Water, Local Mission… (I always thought those were horrible names) places, but Mission Street itself could use some new places and I am pretty sure rents wouldn’t be as crazy. There are lots of vacant storefronts east of Valencia that I know local residents would love to be occupied with anything really.

    1. What’s happened on Valencia is a public, easy to reference reflection on what has happened in much of the Mission. That’s why people talk about it in order to indicate the change that has taken place in the neighborhood.

      As you’ve pointed out, not all blocks in the Mission are created equal. But, the new Valencia magnifies the rent throughout the neighborhood when it comes to housing and commercial space.

      Those storefronts will be occupied eventually, but the neighborhood will have changed a ton in the meantime and those local residents who’d like change now might not be around to see it come.

      1. It is a shame that there seems to be difficulty finding a balance, right? Who wouldn’t want more organic options at their corner produce stand or a nice little cafe in that vacant storefront on your walk/ride home from work?

        Unfortunately, although every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment, humans do not. We move to an area and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way to survive is to spread to another area.

        There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus.

        NOTE – replace natural resource with affordable apartments and mom and pop stores.

      2. Hahaha, it’s true. Certain neighborhoods have balance now, they’re just not the “coolest” or fanciest places to live. Divis is a good example of this and is already feeling the onslaught of those fleeing the Mission. Same with some of the hoods in Oakland. Unfortunately for us, Oakland has basically no rent control and basically no eviction protection for tenants who live in a building built after ’83.

      3. “Unfortunately, although every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment, humans do not.”

        WTF?

  16. All they need to do is go Italian, just make a standing bar for people to enjoy their coffee for a few and get on with their day.

    Not sure if they already have this in place, but it would get rid of all the kiddies hanging around.

    1. I guess you had to go home to post this, you have a smartphone, or you hang out at not-the-best-coffee-places where you get wifi!

  17. Are you sure they haven’t already changed this policy in response to backlash? I dropped by last night out of curiosity and didn’t see any signage, etc. to that effect, just a “2-hour limit” sign and an area (the smaller room on the south side) that was signed as a “no laptop/cellphone area.”

  18. The $5 limit to sit discourages non-laptopers to go there as a destination. So you’re ensuring that you fill your space with the people whom you feel aren’t paying their share. And how will those laptop folks make up the difference? Probably by adding a pastry to their order, and my understanding from when I worked at a coffee shop is that the margins on food are way lower than on drinks.

    If you charge for wifi, on the other hand, you target the folks that you feel aren’t paying their share. The only reason you’d need wifi is if you’re bringing a laptop, and if you go to the trouble to bring your laptop, you’re likely not planning on just being there for 15 minutes. So then you don’t piss off the non-laptop folks. The downside is that it pretty much ensures that laptopers will go somewhere else, where wifi is free.

  19. I’ve been here a few times when it was the summit. I haven’t been back since. With this sort of talk already, I think I’ll go to one of the other 100 coffee shops on Valencia.

    Considering that the landlords are a VC firm, I think it’s hilarious that they are unable to keep a coffee shop open because of invading hordes of laptop slingers. You would think that they would be able to capitalize on that.

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