NY restaurants share space with freelancers during down hours

Global Business

With astronomical rents, it’s hard for many bars and restaurants to survive in New York City. For some, the solution is opening their spaces during off-hours to a different kind of clientele—one that won’t be served anything.

CGTN’s Karina Huber has more on a fast-growing business sector called “co-working.”

The Hotel Chantelle in New York City is a bustling bar and restaurant by night. By day, it’s transformed into a workspace for some of the city’s freelancers and entrepreneurs.

It’s one of six establishments affiliated with KettleSpace, an app that links remote workers with bars and restaurants looking to boost revenue in their off-hours. They get a percentage of the membership fees.

“It’s meaningful revenue that requires very little operational effort for them and they see an uptick in food and beverage sales—either that flow directly from our members on site or that they order after hours when the space is turned back into a restaurant,” said Andrew Levy, Co-founder of KettleSpace.

Alex Portera, a writer and video producer, comes often. He gets unlimited beverages and snacks. He says it’s far superior to setting up shop in a café, where he says it’s hard to get work done.

“I almost never get an outlet, the WiFi is spotty, there’s usually music blaring that I don’t necessarily like and I also – like I like coffee, but I feel guilty all day long if I’m working there and not buying stuff. So, I end up spending like $15 – like I’m over-caffeinated by the end of the day and I have to buy a sandwich that I don’t necessarily want,” he said.

Levy said membership with KettleSpace costs less than a fifth of what it does at shared workspace giant, WeWork.

KettleSpace is just one of many new startups to appear on the New York scene that enables bars and restaurants to boost their revenue through alternative sources.

There’s also Luluapp. It directs tourists to the nearest available bathroom in participating restaurants and bars. Users pay a fee that’ll vary between 99 cents and $5. The bars and restaurants get 65 percent of the fee.

Bagbnb finds places for tourists to leave their luggage. It splits the six-dollar fee with its clients.

Hospitality expert Andrew Rigie says technology is helping many establishments stay afloat.

“New York City is an extremely competitive and an extremely expensive place to run a business. So, you really need to make sure that you’re running efficiently and you’re generating additional revenue,” Andrew Rigie, Executive Director of NYC Hospitality Alliance.

With rising costs for food, rent and labor, Rigie said he expects more restaurants to harness mobile technologies to become multi-use spaces. Karina Huber, CGTN, New York.