Nellie Bowles looks into the rise of restaurants in big cities being converted into co-working spacing during off-hours:
The company that laid the extension cords and power strips across Elite Cafe’s copper tables is called Spacious. Since it was started two years ago, Spacious has converted 25 upscale restaurants in New York and San Francisco into weekday work spaces. Membership, which allows entry into any location, is $99 a month for a year, or $129 by the month. With $9 million in venture capital it received in May, Spacious plans to expand this year to up to 100 spaces. A restaurant makes for the perfect conversion, the Spacious team argues. Bars become standing desks. Booths become conference rooms. The lighting tends to be nicer, less harsh and fluorescent, than an office, and the music makes for a nice ambience.
Originally, the founders of Spacious thought they would have to sell restaurateurs on the idea. Instead, restaurants, struggling to pay rent and wages and frustrated with disappointing lunch traffic, are coming to them, eager to strike deals for a slice of the membership dues. Only 5 percent have made the cut to become Spacious spaces, said the company, which is unprofitable.
It’s interesting to see businesses adapting to the changes in industries and technologies. The idea of using restaurant space when meals aren’t being served makes a lot of sense, but I wonder if this business model is a solution or a band-aid.
This article reminds me of a book on my to-read list, Bullshit Jobs by David Graeber.