Feeling some growing pains? Perhaps you run a successful catering business out of your home? Your Food Truck which offers unique Asian/Mexican/Vegan options inspired by the cooking you learned playing on your grandmother's kitchen floor while she cooked, has lines of evangelists waiting around the block at lunch time. Maybe you are a recent grad with an edgy concept that has serious investors ready to provide funds for your new restaurant concept.
What's the best next step? New businesses have significant start up costs and risk. Hunting for the right location, managing the lease, finding the right suppliers, creating the proper legal infrastructure, securing insurance, securing permits, hiring qualified staff, training . . .this all takes money and TIME. While you're doing all that, don't forget you're going to need to invest in marketing, building a platform and the execution of your concept.
Co-working spaces are evolving in the business world and are growing in popularity. There's no way an organization can replicate the benefit of using a portion of all assets provided in a shared space versus buying and securing it all yourself. The pay-per-use option is really attractive as well. Even if you did choose to go the solo route, as technology continues to enable advancements it will be difficult to sustain growth while managing resources wisely. Business has WeWork and the tech industry has 1871. The pay-per-use, shared space concept is now evolving for the restaurant industry. ThePilotWorks which opened its most recent location in Chicago on May 3rd offers a collaborative space with a multitude of resources for culinary entrepreneurs to benefit from.
Co-working spaces not only offer the use of tangible assets but access to ideas and sharing best practices while minimizing risk. One immeasurable benefit is probably inspiration. It's hard to go it alone, the entrepreneur will find they and their leadership team are isolated in their challenges. Shared spaces offer an opportunity to benefit from a peer to peer experience which might grow into collaboration, mutual investments or cross-marketing.
Pilotworks provides a variety of services and space for food entrepreneurs, including affordable access to state-of-the-art shared and/or dedicated kitchen facilities for up to 200 companies. Cold and dry storage, co-working space, distribution, access to a diverse membership community of makers, a vast mentorship network for 1:1 advice, as well as educational workshops and networking events are available. Pilotworks can support a variety of business types, such as packaged food brands, baked goods, meal delivery, catering, R+D and growing businesses in need of extra space.
While a restaurant or a culinary concept may start in a shared space, there's no reason they have to stay there forever. After launching a concept, or trying and testing several business models starting at a collaborative shared space might be the stepping stone needed to launch a great idea. Could be that you choose to keep the resources of a shared space in your back pocket as a low cost entry into the marketplace as you continue to grow, expand and test your latest entrepreneurial inspiration.