With an expected 5.1 million people worldwide utilizing coworking spaces by 2022, many companies are cashing in on the recent trend of creating and maintaining operative places for these workers. These coworking spaces help reach the niche of teleworkers who want the traditional office setting without the stifling office feel. These spaces are renovated studios, coffee shops, and, most recently, restaurants.
These spaces offer affordable work areas for people who prefer social interactions throughout the day. They often offer meeting rooms, coffee and kitchen areas, and private desks at an affordable price—much more cost effective than renting out a private office space.
Telecommuting reduces each worker’s carbon footprint and saves the company $11,000 in annual savings per employee—which has led to the recent rise in work-from-home employees. Because nearly every third coworking space has opened within the last twelve months, the market is still relatively new and fresh—leaving a lot of room for growth.
A restaurant’s perspective
Restaurants, which offer ample seating and ambiance, are excellent options for hosting a coworking space. Before the dinnertime rush, a restaurant can easily convert itself into a weekday workspace for those in the area who need it; tables act as traditional desks, booths are more private meeting spaces, and the bar is a trendier version of a standing desk.
An average coworking space has 100 members, who pay between $50 to $150 a month in membership fees. This means that an average space could make an additional $10,000 a month in revenue—which for a restaurant without a traditional lunch service and extremely low margins can be an exciting venture. Not only would this bring extra revenue during an otherwise slow time of the day, it would also introduce customers to a business they otherwise may have passed.
And because coworking spaces don’t necessarily require employees, the maintenance costs of hosting a coworking space can be cheap for those who already pay the rent and utilities on the building. And offering food or drink to those in the building is completely up to the owner; many places have small lunch offerings based on nightly specials, or some institute new happy hours that encourage workers to stay after the work is done.
If starting a coworking space in your restaurant seems daunting, there are companies to partner with to make it even easier. DropDesk helps restaurants convert their unused space into coworking spaces and is based out of New York. Birdnest, a San Francisco counterpart has a model more like AirBnB in which restaurants can list their spaces and users can book space online. Owner Nick Jiang estimates that they help restaurants net as much as 15% more revenue through their partnerships.
Coworking spaces are going to continue to grow in popularity over the coming years as more and more companies look to hire remote workers and to lower operating costs. Because the concept is still relatively new, and because restaurants have often underutilized space readily available, establishing day-time coworking spaces could be a lucrative business venture for restaurants.