How to a Add a Coworking Space in Your Restaurant and Get the Most Out of Your Square Footage

Young woman working safety in empty cafe outdoors. Social distancing in quarantine. Freelancer wearing protective mask, using laptop. Restaurant terrace, coronavirus lockdown restrictions. Lifestyle

Change is the name of the game in 2020, especially in the way that restaurants do business. But restaurant owners like yourself are resilient, you just have to get a little creative in these challenging times. 

One of the ways you can make the most of your restaurant’s square footage is by offering a socially distant coworking space for customers during the day. Give your customers the option to break out from their home offices, have a small taste of normality, and help your business with this easy idea. Encouraging customers to work in your space can even add to your bottom line making it a win for them and you!

Adding a coworking space is perfect for coffee shops that used to have this type of environment all the time, restaurants that are only open in the evenings, and or any eatery where you want to drum up business.

Creating an effective “office” environment is actually very simple on your end, just follow the tips below and get the word out to your regulars. 

Must-Haves for Your Coworking Space 

Offering this space to your customers doesn’t need to be an elaborate study room, it just needs some of the essentials to accommodate them while they work. It’s likely you are hosting fewer events during this time, so put that private party room or outdoor patio to use as your new coworking space! Don’t have a designated area? Reserve the quiet corner of your establishment and see what happens.

Besides the space itself, here are some things that you’ll want to make sure you’re offering:

  • Room to separate customers 6’ apart (at least) – Keeping social distancing requirements will help prevent the spread of germs but also make customers feel more comfortable.
  • A specific mask policy – Are you requiring customers to wear a mask unless eating or drinking? Or can they take them off if properly social distanced? Keep all CDC guidelines in mind to maintain the health of your customers and staff.
  • Accessible outlets – Give these customers the ability to charge for however long they stay.
  • Furniture that’s easy to be wiped down – Have a staff member keep an eye on the area for quick wipe-downs between customers
  • Hand sanitizer – There is no such thing as too much right now!

Be Smart About How You Offer Your Space

There are a couple ways you can offer your spaces to customers. You could have the whole area you designate as a coworking space to be first come, first serve. But you could also try offering reserved spaces for a small fee (revenue you would not have made before, not counting anything they purchase while being at your establishment) for the space they occupy. Charging a fee will not only make people more likely to show for their reservation, they may be more likely to spend the money to secure their spot if they are dead set on not wanting to work at home that day. Using a scheduling assistant like Google Calendar (free) or Calendly can help reserve spots and keep your guests safe without crowding. 

Containing the coworking space to a set area (and set hours of the day) where customers can take advantage of your space will help your business get the best of both worlds. 

Post Specials or Offer a Limited Menu

People that will be coming to work in your space are going to have to eat at some point, you might as well get them to order from you! This will be very simple if you are a coffee shop or already offer some sort of grab-and-go menu. The offerings don’t need to be complex, just make sure to have something while these people will be in your space for what will likely be hours on end. 

You could also offer a special for those who are there to work such as a grab bag lunch or some sort of drink loyalty program. The idea is to get these customers to continue to spend their dollars with you as they are using your space.

If you aren’t normally open during this time, make sure to have an employee or two on hand to fulfill any orders and take that money! 

As you consider whether offering a coworking space is conducive for your restaurant, make sure the logistics check out. This kind of event is meant to only diversify and supplement your business, not deplete your resources. 

Is this something you would try in your restaurant? Let us know! 

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