Gone are the days when restaurants only focused on food, ambiance and customer service. Today, restaurants are not only a place to eat lavish cuisine, socialize and have a chat. Restaurants have become a place to work as well.
Changes in how we work and where we work have significantly impacted several areas of our economy. The restaurant industry is no different. More restaurants are participating in a new trend that could transform how we think about eating establishments forever – the inclusion of coworking spaces in their locations. Coworking spaces offer freelancers and entrepreneurs an opportunity to get work done while being mobile. They can sit in a comfortable environment, work on their laptops and interact with other workers outside the home or their traditional offices. While there are cafes and coffee shops available to mobile workers, these are not always ideal for every type of entrepreneur, especially if there is a need for printing capability, very strong Wi-Fi and true business interaction.
The number of coworking environments has exploded over the last ten years, as mobile workers try to avoid too much alone time and increase their productivity by avoiding the home-office monotony. More traditional coworking spaces (if there is such a thing), such as WeWork, Industrious and Regus, are looking to expand their presence in more non-traditional locations.
Significant Growth in Coworking
According to Coworking Resources, an online coworking publication, the number of coworking spaces worldwide is expected to continue its growth, reaching an estimated 25,968 by the year 2022, an increase of 42% from 2019. In addition, year over year growth of coworking locations is expected to be 9.5% in 2019 and the three fastest growing markets for coworking locations are London, New York and Toronto.
How Restaurants Do It
Some dinner-only restaurants offer coworking spaces from the morning to just before dinner time and also offer coffee, tea and snacks. Such coworking spaces are often more affordable than more traditional coworking locations, as the overhead costs do not rely solely on coworking memberships. Guests pay a nominal fee and get a spacious place to work. For those looking to bring multiple remote guests into the space, simply reserve a full table and get the team to work.
Benefits to restaurants incorporating this trend are many, but the primary benefit is increased revenue. The restaurant industry is hyper competitive and new eating establishments come and go. As a hedge against the volatility typically associated with this industry, coworking offers an opportunity for establishments to diversify and strengthen the cuisine portion of their business. Furthermore, coworking companies such as DropDesk and Spacious offer almost turnkey solutions to existing restaurants, enabling everything they need to set up their underused space for a fee.
With coworking companies ready to do most of the heavy lifting to convert restaurant space into coworking areas, restaurant owners can more easily take advantage of this growing trend. In most cases, inviting décor already exists and many of these locations offer a lunch menu for those who want to combine work and food. These options are also ideal for workers or companies looking for a convenient location to hold meetings with built-in catering capabilities. In addition, cross selling dinner options with coworking solutions enables restaurants to market to a built-in audience and possibly grow their evening traffic.
Coworking beyond restaurants
In addition to restaurants, established shopping malls and shopping centers will have their own coworking spaces as well. Companies such as Industrious and IWG are already slated to move into traditional shopping locales in Georgia, Arizona and New Jersey.
Coworking options offer restaurants an ideal way to diversify, leveraging unused or underused space and contributing to the bottom line. It also gives patrons greater flexibility to work and then partake of great cuisine once the workday is done.