Convert Your Dining Room into Work Space During Off-Hours
If there was a way to make money while a restaurant was closed, we’d bet our bottom dollar most operators would jump at the chance. Given the industry’s reputation for razor thin margins, any opportunity to lessen the load while bringing in extra profit is a win for business.
A few technology-meets-hospitality companies are trying to do just that. Spacious, a New York-based start-up company, partners with dinner-only restaurants when they’re closed and converts them into collaborative work spaces. The cost: $99 to $129 per month billed to the entrepreneurs and office-less freelancers.
“Our restaurant partners receive a share of the profits generated at their location,” says Jaclyn Pascocello, chief operating officer at Spacious Technologies. “Our goal is to create a profitable partnership immediately. Our partners find the extra cash meaningful…. it helps with the fixed costs of occupying prime real estate.”
And the operators tend to agree. “Spacious is a great partner,” says Laura Fiorvanti, CEO of Corkbuzz, which boasts four locations in Charlotte and New York and is one of Spacious’ 16 restaurant partners. “I highly recommend them to any restaurateur. They are professional and have a great team. The logistics are easy, and they treat our place like their own.”
Dan Rosenzweig, formerly of WeWork, and Nick Iovacchini, owner of Distilled NY, saw a similar need in the marketplace when they founded Kettlespace.
“We had a lightbulb moment when Dan needed to take a phone call, but couldn’t get reception in his apartment or find a non-disruptive Starbucks,” says Iovacchini. “He went to a restaurant and asked to sit there all day; if he ordered something, it was fine. I was using the dining room of my restaurant as work space during the day anyway.
Kettlespace costs members $25 to $99 per month; restaurants pay $0.
“We understand how fragile and complex restaurant ecosystems are,” adds Iovacchini. “Folks outside don’t understand the idiosyncrasies. We engineer mutually beneficial partnerships that protect restaurants’ key interest and adds value in areas needing a boost. We’ve brought them profit at a time when they weren’t making what they wanted. We bring new customers and incremental F&B sales.”
If you’re worried about your restaurant’s brand of hospitality extending into the daytime workspace, precautions have been taken.
“Our hospitality team is always onsite to ensure our operation runs seamlessly alongside the existing restaurant,” says Pascocello. “We are a technology start-up, but hospitality is at the core of what we do.”
All of the co-working companies offer complimentary Wi-Fi, outlets at every seat, and unlimited coffee and tea. And though profit sharing is key, the tangential benefit of these partnerships is the network of members frequenting the workspaces.
“Ninety percent of our members visit a restaurant in our network for the first time,” says Justin Raymond, founder of Flexday in Toronto. “The initial lift in revenue is just the first wave. Many of our members return for happy hour or dinner as a result of their newfound relationship with the restaurant.”
In all, it comes down to money. Utilizing unused workspace during off-hours cuts down on overhead and real-estate costs. Iovacchini, whose perspective is two-fold as both a restaurateur and Kettlespace co-founder, adds, “This business is profit-rich, instead of skinny. If you compare the margin on the value we’re bringing versus the margin restaurants are seeing on F&B, it’s very compelling.”