Kingston,Jamaica - Great food and technology helps drive my businesses. As a tech entrepreneur whose office is a Macbook plus two phones, one Digicel and a My Virtual Office phone works locally and on which my Miami and Atlanta numbers ring , wifi..wireless internet is crucial…whether at home, in the small office or wherever I decide to work from that day. The fact is where I have breakfast and lunch especially tends to be heavily influenced by where has free and consistent wifi (wireless internet) and of course good food…I seldom have time or inclination to cook anymore. For me there are not enough places in Kingston that offers free wifi, food and drink and comfortable non traditional cool work space and there’s a heavy and ready market for it.
The digital lifestyle is here and growing fast, among young entrepreneurs, young professionals, expatriates and of course college students - who are connected to work and school via laptops, cell phones and wireless internet access. These road warriors and members of the blossoming digerati need more places to get things done.
Now there are a few places in Kingston that I know of most I have tried. There is Cannonball café’s two locations- New Kingston and Loshushan Plaza, Susie’s two locations- Southdale Plaza and Orchid village, Cuddyz in New Kingston, Haagen Daz also in Losushan, Café What’s On at Devon House, Christopher’s Jazz Café, Game Yaad, Indie’s Pub and Grill. The latter four I’ve not tested for wifi access, good food and comfi space.
From the others I’ve road tested the two places that come out on top are Susie’s and Cuddyz. Susie’s wifi is consistent at both locations and I’ve been there for early Saturday morning breakfast at the Liguanea branch or lingering late lunch at the Barbican Branch. I love Cuddyz, where else can you on a Saturday night and see a group of laptop lingerers in a corner surfing, sipping, nibbling and chatting. The catch with Cuddyz WIFI is you can’t use it from it’s very popular booths, it’s limited to the bar area nearest the mall side entry where the signal is strongest.
The digital lifestyle is growing fast and the food and beverage industry can tap into it a number of ways. I say all this to let more eateries and food and beverage marketers know that there is a need for this kind of service and space. How about a food or beverage brand like Red Bull opening up such a place, branding it, offering REdBull and it’s complimentary drinks and food, freewifi, comfi chairs, sofas, sell merchandise and others of it’s partners, plus all the digital gadgets one could stand, even a mini meeting space, but most importantly letting the people determine the rhythm of the place – make all feel welcome and stressless even if they don’t even buy a toothpick. Someone please, steal this idea.
Ingrid Riley, is a tech entrepreneur with interests in three businesses, her latest venture is The Caribbean Foodie Network which connects uses email and mobile to connect people who love great food and people who offer great food. Caribbean Foodie Network launch date is Wednesday July 25, 2007.Email her:ingridriley-at-yahoo.com