WeWork announced this week it will acquire NYC-based Spacious, a company that helps high-end restaurants turn their dining rooms into coworking spaces for parts of the workday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Spacious has raised $9.1 million to date.
Founded in 2016, Spacious is one a growing number of companies working with restaurants to turn under-utilized dining room real estate into daytime coworking space. Typically, Spacious and other companies team up with high-end establishments that only operate at certain times of the day — for example, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. for dinner — and offer coworking space during hours the business would normally be closed to the public. Spacious manages all logistics around membership, sign-up, and sign-in, and communicates via the Spacious app or website about any changes to the restaurant’s schedule, like it being temporarily closed for a private event.
Restaurants themselves only have to provide the space and limited amenities (e.g., coffee). As I wrote last year, teaming up with Spacious is a smart move for restaurants:
The match makes sense. According to one study, an estimated 5.1 million people worldwide will be using a coworking space by 2022. But not all of them can or want to pay $300 and up for a place like WeWork or Galvanize (more on that in a minute). At the same time, restaurant profit margins are thinner than the blade of a Wüsthof paring knife, and partnering with coworking companies is an opportunity for those businesses to make extra revenue.
The acquisition by WeWork, now officially rebranded as the We Company, is another match that makes sense. Despite labels like “$20 billion house of cards” and much doubt over its impending IPO WeWork has undeniable influence the coworking world. In 2019, the company ventured into the food world by launching WeWork Food Labs, a cross between a physical workspace and startup accelerator for food businesses. Given WeWork’s reach in the coworking arena, the acquisition of Spacious could give more restaurants the opportunity to put under-utilized space to work during off-hours and improve some of those aforementioned razor-thin restaurant margins.
Back in 2018, there was much talk, from The Spoon and others, of restaurant coworking spaces offering more affordable, flexible alternatives to larger coworking entities, and that companies like Spacious could soon be gobbling up WeWork’s customer base. With this week’s news, it seems the opposite is now true.
Disclosure: The Spoon is a launch partner with WeWork Food Labs. Read Mike’s Publisher’s Note here to learn more about why we’ve teamed up with WeWork and the editorial standards we’ve put in place for coverage of WeWork Labs companies moving forward.