How to Incorporate Food and Beverage into Co-Working Spaces

Mathew Green – Director of Culinary Operations, Blue Orbit Restaurant Consulting

 

Co-working space is huge in the modern economy, with an estimated 3.8 million users worldwide by 2020. These spaces provide shared office space to small businesses, freelancers, and large corporations. They tend to charge a monthly fee, have abundant wifi, tons of meeting space, and offer networking events for their members.

With a low barrier to entry and abundant space available (due to the slow death of retail), co-working spaces are popping up all over. Increased competition means that co-working spaces need to find ways to differentiate themselves from the pack. One of the best ways to do that is to invest in food and beverage offerings. This allows you to pull ahead of the pack, increase member satisfaction, and generate revenue at the same time.

All those people working, meeting, and playing Candy Crush (instead of working) get hungry and thirsty. Don’t make them leave work to get food, or, even worse, order Jimmy John’s.

Here are 4 great ways to incorporate a food and beverage offering into your co-working space:

  • Build your own kitchen– With minimal kitchen space and staff you can offer a full menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I’ve seen hotel kitchens that operate with nothing but a toaster, a microwave, and an impingement oven. That’s really all the equipment you need. There are high-quality, pre-made ingredients that you can combine to make delicious food for your members. Talk to any large food service distribution company and they will set you up with chef-developed recipes and all of the ingredients you need to make them. Focus on quality and convenience for meal periods and add in some high energy snack items for the afternoon doldrums.
  • Become your own caterer– With an offsite kitchen (maybe at a shared kitchen space!) you can prepare a wide variety of foods for any size meetings, all of which can be pre-ordered when members book a conference room. You can make a set number of boxed lunches and push a cart around the shared office spaces just before lunch. Be ready with a tablet and a card reader, and your members won’t even have to get up or think about what they’re doing for lunch.
  • Partner with some local restaurants– Outsource the menu development and cooking to a select few local partners. In exchange for access to your members, you can collect a service fee of 10-15% and focus on selling your own beverages and add-ons.
  • Private label beverages– Craft and bottle your own range of stimulating and flavorful energy drinks. Bottle your own cold brew coffee. Offer beverage service at meetings and coffee-breaks for all-day training sessions. Allow members to order smoothies through your website that you deliver to their desks and workspaces.

People love co-working spaces because they are communal, fun, and flexible. Your food and beverage program should be all of that, too. Meet your members where they are and provide another service that makes people excited to come to work.

 

 

Do you need assistance with incorporating food and beverage into co-working spaces ? We’re here to help! Contact us today, and let’s chat.

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