Several restaurant partners of New York-based startup Spacious boast Michelin stars, but for the company’s users — remote workers just looking for WiFi and a pleasant atmosphere from which to toil on their laptop — the comfort of the dining room matters more than the the quality of the kitchen. Spacious, which operates in 14 New York restaurants, expanded its subscription-based membership model to San Francisco last fall, and it’s been growing steadily since, unveiling its latest restaurant partner, Barcino, today.
Barcino is a sensible fit for Spacious: It’s centrally located in Hayes Valley, doesn’t serve lunch, and offers a handsome wood dining room with plenty of booth seating. Other SF Spacious partners are the Elite Cafe, Finn Town, Buffalo Theory, and the Press Club.
Table for one?
Spacious CEO Preston Pesek, who co-founded the company after working in commercial real estate, sees the Spacious proposition as a win-win. For restaurants that often operate on razor-thin margins and have the extra space, why not take advantage?
“From a very basic perspective we offer a monthly check” he says. “And then there’s increased visibility:” Spacious customers, Pesek suggests, can become restaurant customers, too — some lingering past the end of Spacious’s office hours and into a restaurant’s happy hour, for instance.
Spacious draws comparisons to companies like WeWork, but it might also appeal to remote workers and freelancers otherwise hopping from coffee shop to coffee shop. A Spacious subscription is $129 a month (or $99 per month with an annual plan) — a better deal than WeWork, whose cheapest hot desk option is $220 a month. And more competitors are entering the market: KettleSpace, which operates several restaurant spaces in a similar fashion in New York, has plans for San Francisco, too.
Just how much do restaurants stand to benefit from the arrangement? That’s not clear. “Having a way to activate your space, in terms of helping on the bottom line, is pretty minuscule,” says Golden Gate Restaurant Association president Gwyneth Borden.
“But something’s better than nothing,” she adds, “and if doesn’t get in the way of you prepping for dinner service, every little bit can help keep your doors open.”