Company Culture
Business / Coworking / Food and drink

What’s going on with all these restaurant coworking spaces?

With Share Space, and now Chai + Wifi, restaurants are trying to cash in on the coworking concept.

Inside Share Space. (Photo via Twitter)

Remember when yoga coworking first launched in D.C.? We certainly do. Now a new type of space is getting in on the concept (and profit) of offering coworking during the day — restaurants.
In July, 14th Street’s Mulebone opened Share Space, a free “community work space” where unlimited coffee is just $3. And now, Indique in Cleveland Park is debuting Chai + Wifi. The concept is this: For $35 a month (that’s the introductory offer) you can work out of the restaurant during weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. You also get unlimited chai.

“We were having trouble finding a place to work out of that met our needs and was affordable,” the Indique team writes on the Chai + Wifi site. WeWork felt too pricy for their remote work needs, apparently, and so they started working out of the restaurant during off hours. “A few months in, we started thinking that some friends and neighbors may want to come work with us as well — and thus Chai + Wifi was born.”
Both Chai + Wifi and Share Space are different from the more time-tested “working out of a coffee shop” method because they are actively encouraging customers to think of the space as a work place. But given that it all wraps up at 4 or 5 p.m. when it’s time for dinner, they’re also a far cry from the WeWorks, MakeOffices or coves of the city.
So what’s up with this trend?
MakeOffices CEO Raymond Rahbar has a simple analogy he uses to explain the whole thing. Back in the ’90s, he told in a recent interview, every company desperately wanted to have “dot com” somewhere in its name, almost irregardless of this making any sense. Now, he said, that’s happening with coworking.
And despite the fact that I can work out of Chai + Wifi for $35 a month while a desk at MakeOffices will run me around $250 for the month, Rahbar doesn’t see the yoga or restaurant coworking spaces interfering with what he offers.
“We like that they’re broadening and expanding the concept,” he said. “We’re kinda proud and honored.”

Companies: cove / MakeOffices / WeWork
People: Raymond Rahbar

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