Engineering, Management, Technology Consulting

Coffee Shop or Coworking Center?

I admit my bias against those working in coffee shops freely.  I can no longer go anywhere in the afternoon and have coffee and hang out, talk with people, treat myself, or simply people watch.  Albina Coffee, Stumptown, even Crema.  Every table is taken with a single person, a laptop, and a pile of papers as they work.  On the rare occasion where I do grab an empty table, I can see others coming in, spotting a shop full and leaving.  It simply seems to me that the business model for coffee shops is broken, that they are losing business and cache and becoming trivial, soon to be replaced by carts or somewhere this function can be done.  One can’t make money with one cup being purchased per table per large block of time.

Enough on that, I spoted this recent study showing that it is actually cheaper for folks to rent a “flexible desk” during regular business hours.  Now which coffee if going to open a space and charge for this?  Winning idea folks, send your percentages here.

According to the Deskwanted study, the average cost of renting a “flexible desk” during regular business hours is $152 a month. As Deskwanted’s analyst Sophie Bonnet points out, that’s probably less than what it would cost to work out of a coffee shop, assuming that a reasonable amount of drinks and snacks were bought throughout each day. A flexible desk membership that allows for 24/7 access to the space costs an average of $209 per month. As you might expect, the study found that renting a permanent desk at a coworking center is more expensive: A permanent desk that’s available for use during regular business hours costs an average of $308 per month, while one with 24/7 access costs an average of $387 per month.

Deskwanted also carried out a similar study six months ago, which found that the average price of renting a flexible desk to be $150, so prices have increased slightly, despite increased competition in the market as more spaces open.