Now here’s a brilliant idea that seems both obvious and ingenious: Spacious, a new startup based in New York, aims to transform restaurants that are otherwise empty and unused during the day into coworking spaces.
Cofounders Preston Pesek and Chris Smothers noticed that many large, well-designed restaurants throughout New York City sat empty during the day until about 5 or 6 p.m. when dinner service would begin. Why not take advantage of the space, which would have otherwise gone unused?
Because of the low overhead costs, the startup is able to offer memberships at almost half the cost of traditional coworking spaces. A monthly membership costs $95 and includes access to any restaurant in the network, which provides free coffee, water, and Wi-Fi. A lunch option may be added in the future, and conference rooms (converted private dining rooms) can be reserved for a fee.
Spacious is more than just a coworking company, however. It hopes to reimagine the idea of space in an urban environment and how to use it efficiently—as well as helping residents experience their city in a different light. "It's about not having to build more capacity, but realizing that the capacity is already there," Pesek tells Fast Company. "You just need to reprogram the space to accommodate the way that people want to use it in the 21st century. If you can do that, you can get a lot more out of what you already have."
Restaurants typically have systems like air conditioning running all day anyway, so why not take advantage of it instead of those resources going to waste, Pesek figures:
All this energy is being wasted if you don't invite people in to activate these spaces. Not only is it an aesthetically beautiful environment that's going to inefficient use, but the energy that it takes to keep it open, and the amount of resources that it took designing the interior and building it out. If it's only open between 6 p.m. and midnight, that represents a huge waste. I think that we can make something out of that.
Daniel Boulud’s DBGB Kitchen and Bar on the Bowery in New York is among one of the restaurants in Spacious’s network, which will soon expand to Los Angeles, San Francisco, and London.