Restaurants Finding New Life as Co-Working Spaces?

November 2, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

I used to regularly go to a nearby coffee shop for lunch and to get some work done. Changes in hours left that largely unavailable, though, and I felt the loss pretty deeply. Stories like that aren’t uncommon, according to a new report, and some are wondering if the restaurant has a potential new life as a co-working space.

Remote workers, or those in the “gig economy” as some call it, have a lot of advantages, but for some, working constantly from home and never leaving the house can be a bit of a drag on their soul. Some turn to coffeeshops, like I did, but these can be a problem too; too loud, too poorly-located, or even a lack of seating can be issues.

So that’s when a couple of remote workers got together to start Reset, a company that noticed something: there were a lot of really nice restaurants that were closed for everything but dinner service in the area. Instead of letting those restaurants sit empty, Reset figured, why not engage in a kind of sub-lease where all those empty tables can be put to use?

Reset offers its users single-use day passes, 10-visit passes, and unlimited monthly memberships. There are even free passes to users wanting to try the concept out beforehand, a move which commonly results in larger-scale passes sold later.

The move has even helped the restaurants themselves; when remote workers are working in the restaurant, they may well take an interest in its dinner service or happy hour offerings and come back later. Or, conversely, just stay where they are and get a dinner menu when the place opens.

We know that restaurants are already on a knife-edge when it comes to profit margins, so opening up the space with minimal maintenance might be just the idea they needed. Those booths would make fine working spaces, as long as the wi-fi is on and of sufficient speed and capacity to accommodate all those workers. Meanwhile, the same mobile payments systems that would allow those workers to order dinner there can also be used to pay the subscription costs of working from there.

It’s a welcome idea; if nothing else, it’s certainly a way to get folks in seats, and that’s half the battle.