Shared work spaces (coworking) within a restaurant: two businesses in one
Is it possible to turn restaurants and other F&B outlets into coworking spaces?
It is increasingly common to see people working with their laptops and tablets in cafes and restaurants. This trend, applied to the fact that the productive hours of a restaurant are between 2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. (lunch) and 9:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m. (dinner), results in the following question: how could we obtain profitability of these gastronomic spaces in the other active hours?
This was the question that inspired Preston Pesek, entrepreneur of the Spacius project developed in the New York City, and with plans to expanse to San Francisco, Los Angeles and London. This project is focused on high-end restaurants or cafes, which offers to turn their facilities into coworking spaces the time slots where they are empty, or outside opening hours. Customers get the same services through cheaper rentals as in other spaces dedicated to the same activity, as well as complementary services linked to the space and the gastronomic offer.
Another example is CoworkCafe (cover image in this post), where for $150 a month members get access to an exclusive space with Wi-Fi and a $50 food credit. It also offers day passes for $20, but they don’t include food.
Finally, an European example: FrenchWork. Developed inToulouse by Jérôme Introvigne, it presents a similar model that can bring restaurants up to €2,000 extra per month. In France there is a potential market of more than two million small businesses or self-employed workers that could require this type of space.
In some restaurants that offer coworking, you can choose to have the restaurant staff greet the customer at the door and lead them to the meeting space, thus achieving comfort and saving time. What is not offered (for now) in this type of space, unlike “standard” coworking spaces, is fixed tables or storage space. However, this is not a problem for many mobile professionals used to working without paper in informal settings.
Some calculations estimate that in New York there are more than 2,000 restaurants that could benefit from this business model (especially those that open only in the late-night hours). Given that in Spain the ratio of bars and restaurants per inhabitant is one of the highest in the world, and that there are low moments of difficult profitability within your working day, it could be an interesting line of business to explore.
The objective of this type of project is to work in a different environment, where you can hold meetings and have different exclusive services for the user and her guests. What do you think about the idea?