Washington Restaurant Market Watch: Co-Working Gains Momentum

Washington Restaurant Market Watch: Co-Working Gains Momentum https://wahospitality.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/kistch2016a.jpg

By Paul Schlienz

Co-working spaces are a hot new trend. But what are co-working spaces and what is their connection to restaurants?

“The [co-working] idea is to tie-up with restaurants and [convert] them into co-working spaces during the day,” Japreet Sethi, co-founder of YoStartups.com, explained in moneycontrol.com.  “There are a lot of restaurants in every city which are well designed and furnished. These restaurants open late or do not do a lot of business during the day. The idea is to convert these spaces into co-working spaces during the day leading to some additional revenues for the restaurant owners.”

According to Sethi, predictions are that 10,000 co-working spaces will open throughout the world during 2016. Demand for co-working spaces is continually increasing due, in great part, to the rise in the number of freelancers and startups coupled with more flexible working arrangements.

Freelancers and others without an office love co-working spaces as an alternative to crowded coffee shops, according to Preston Pesek, co-founder of Spacious, a New York-based startup that makes use of empty restaurants as co-working spaces. His company takes advantage of the fact that in Brooklyn and Manhattan alone, more than 2,000 restaurants are closed before 6 p.m. every day,

“This is much better to conduct business meetings in a social way,” Pesek told Business Insider. “When a [restaurant] is closed until 5 or 6 p.m., it basically means an excess capacity that the city at large has. Meanwhile, in every coffee shop that you pass by, people are piling on top of each other with laptops.”

One reason for coffee shops’ success is that they can fulfill a need for a “third place” – neither home nor office – turf-neutral, where entrepreneurs can pursue their own projects or have meetings with contractors. Coffee shops, however, rarely possess all the proper amenities including high-speed broadband, power strips, flexible meeting space and flexible meeting space. And of course, they’re not the place to be if you’re looking for snacks and alcohol as a part of your work environment.

Not surprisingly, the co-working trend has reached Washington state.

In 2014, there were nearly 24 co-working spaces in Seattle. The concept gained steam when WeWork opened a large space in South Lake Union for freelance tech workers.

“Co-working is now a real thing,” Su-Zette Sparks, co-founder of Downtown Seattle’s Coterie WorkLounge, told Curbed.

Until the WorkLounge opened, in late 2015, even Seattle’s best neighborhood locations lacked the elegance of a prestigious office. With 10,000 square feet of space on 4th Avenue, Coterie WorkLounge exudes classiness and boasts a full bar and assortment of private and semi-private workspaces in addition to conference rooms. In the future, Sparks and Leah Richmond, her partner, plan on turning the WorkLounge into an event venue for companies that need flexible after hour space.

“Increasingly, professionals work in a variety of locations — at home, in a coffee shop or even in a bar,” said Richmond. “Coterie Worklounge melds the best features of the workplace and private clubs to create a stylish lounge that performs like an office.”

Expect to hear a lot more about the co-working concept in the near future.

“Co-working spaces are still in the maturation stage and are a hotcake for investors right now,” said Sethi “It was estimated that the co-working industry raised around $1 billion during the last year.”