The idea of working out of a restaurant or coffee shop isn’t exactly a new concept. Way back when, Starbucks discovered that by offering free Wi-Fi customers would stay longer and buy more coffee. But today, restaurants as coworking office spaces are taking the concept to a whole new level.
Restaurants are tapping into the growing coworking trend
Only a few short years ago coworking office companies like WeWork and Industrious began taking on the traditional and somewhat boring private office layouts of four walls, a door, and – maybe, if you were very lucky – a window with a view.
Now, as ‘non-traditional’ workspaces become mainstream, restaurants are partnering with coworking companies to tap into the booming demand for coworking space:
- There are nearly 14,500 coworking spaces in the world today
- In the U.S. alone there is over 27 million square feet of coworking office space
- By 2020 nearly 3.8 million people worldwide will be using coworking space, and over 5.1 million by 2022
- Over the next 5 years the coworking market is expected to grow by 15% per year
- Nearly 75% of landlords say that working with coworking operators has major benefits for their buildings
Restaurants are increasing their ROI by offering coworking space
According to Nation’s Restaurant News, restaurant traffic has been more or less flat over the last several years. That’s bad news if you’re a restaurant owner. Restaurants invest a tremendous amount of money in tenant improvements, furniture and fixtures, sound systems and décor, not to mention fixed costs to lease space in high-rent districts like Chelsea in Manhattan, the Financial District – Barbary Coast in San Francisco, or the Chicago Loop.
Coworking space in restaurants is typically found in high-end places offering dinner-only service. From morning through late afternoon, during a time when the restaurant would normally be closed, the space is used for coworking. Restaurants offering coworking space generate extra revenue by receiving a share of the money that the restaurant coworking office operator brings in.
Why people like coworking in restaurants
The biggest benefit of using restaurant coworking space versus ‘traditional’ coworking space is the reduced cost. In restaurants the expensive build out has already been done. Because restaurant coworking companies don’t need to spend money on things like TIs, seating, or utilities they’re able to pass that savings through to the restaurant coworking user.
Prices to use rent a restaurant coworking space usually range from around $125 for an unlimited access month-to-month plan, to less than $100 per month for an annual membership. Buying food isn’t a requirement – in fact, other than offering free coffee, water, and tea, most restaurant kitchens aren’t open for business during coworking office hours.
Granted, restaurant coworking space doesn’t offer perks like 24/7 building access, staffed reception areas, high-tech conference rooms, and private offices. But coworkers using restaurant space during the day can save a tremendous amount of money compared to renting space in a traditional coworking office.
A win-win for restaurants and the coworking community
Restaurants offering coworking space during dayparts when the business is normally closed make extra money and coworking office users save money. But the benefits don’t stop there.
By welcoming remote workers in the gig economy restaurants increase their visibility in the community, generate valuable word-of-mouth advertising, and increase their core restaurant business. Although the coworking part of a restaurant closes late afternoon, more than one coworker has been known to hang around for happy hour, dinner and drinks – which creates additional business for the restaurant.
People using restaurant coworking space get a sense of variety and stimulation from the varied environments that restaurant space offers. At the same time, they benefit from the same social interaction and networking opportunities that traditional coworking offices provide.
5 restaurant coworking companies to keep an eye on
Coworking office space in restaurants is a trend that’s just beginning. Here are five restaurant coworking companies that are at the forefront of this latest evolution in coworking office space:
- Spacious currently operates in New York and San Francisco, transforming unused space into a city-wide network of productive workspaces
- KettleSpace believes coworking in a restaurant is the next cool trend and operates nine locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn
- WEach Seats focuses on the Philadelphia office market by renting space to coworkers in five locales like Cavanaugh’s Headhouse, the Writer’s Block Rehab in Midtown Village, and the Fairmount – Paris Wine Bar that are all instantly accessible to coworkers via the WEach Seats smartphone app
- Switch has teamed up with Reset to offer coworking restaurant space in Austin
- WorkEatPlay works with 5-star restaurants offering daytime coworking space in top office market locations like New York City, Boston, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Miami, Amsterdam, and London.