Restaurants are increasingly not just a place to rest and play (and enjoy good food) – they can be a place to work too.

Hot-desking is increasing in popularity, as the freelance worker market grows. Whilst coffee shops are the typical location for this away from home or office working, there’s also an excellent opportunity for restaurant tables to be used as desks or meeting spaces during quieter periods.

With the number of self-employed and freelance workers in the UK standing at over 5 million in 2018 and rising, a larger proportion of Britain’s workforce are seeking out an office substitute than ever before. Freelancers choose to hot-desk for a change of scenery, a bit of company, or convenience when between meetings. Plus, many believe they perform better in a bustling environment.

What’s in it for the restaurant you might ask? Well, they’ll buy drinks, enjoy your food, and arrange to meet others there – increasing your customer-base even further. Keep them happy and they’ll return time and time again.

One venue that’s in a prime location to take advantage of the hot-desking opportunity is The Signal Box pub at London’s Euston Station. Manager Nina Dahl says: “The Signal Box opened last year and has been clearly designed with hot-deskers in mind. There are numerous plug sockets and USB points and we try to ensure that they are easily accessible so you don’t have to crawl under half a dozen tables to get to them.
“We have table service throughout, which ensures we keep those who are hot-desking in coffee and we are on hand to upsell breakfast, lunch or dinner too. While most people are catching a train, we do see some people who arrive from the train, will hold a series of meetings in the pub during the day, and then head back home.

“Hot-deskers might well be on their own – but if they are with you for a while, they will drink quite a lot of tea and coffee and often eat with us too, so they are great for business.”

Hot-desking offers a great opportunity to boost sales during quieter periods. Here’s how to attract these workers to your venue:

1.Spread the word

2. Reward regulars

3. Partner with local businesses

4. Join a local freelance community

5. Display ‘hot-deskers welcome’ signs

One company’s gone a step further and built an ‘app’ to attract hot-deskers. ‘The Workroom’ app which launched in London in June this year, serves as a platform connecting restaurants with the increasing numbers of freelancers and entrepreneurs. It allows users to select their location of choice and book a table.

Des Gunewardena, CEO of luxury restaurant group D&D London and co-founder of The Workroom, said: “There’s been a big shift in the way Londoners operate day-to-day. I myself am hardly ever in our office and I’ve certainly noticed more people using our restaurant spaces to work in and, while other operators are trying to combat that, we thought why not embrace it? Introducing The Workroom initially into five of our restaurants will hopefully make them busier during quieter times through the week and also bring in a new audience who may not have visited before.” For more information visit