NYC's Kindred pivots during Covid, turning its restaurant by day into remote office space

Key Points
  • Kindred, a New York City restaurant, started renting its tables during the day to remote workers as a way make money during the Covid pandemic.
  • Table rentals cost $25 per person and come with free coffee, WiFi and bathroom access.
  • The restaurant's venture is another example of how small businesses are innovating to combat the pandemic's economic disruptions.
Kindred NYC partner on New York City's 'third workplace'

New York City restaurant and wine bar Kindred has added a way to differentiate itself during Covid and make extra money: charge for tables during the day as co-working spaces.

Targeting the cohort of remote workers that grew during the pandemic, the East Village spot offers table rentals for $25 per person. It includes free drip coffee, WiFi, and bathroom access.

"The main goal was getting people in there," Moshe Schulman, one of Kindred's partners, told CNBC on Monday. "We started this back in September during the height of the pandemic when things were looking pretty dire."

"This allowed us to have some passive income and also have marketing for the dinner service, and that's continuing to be the case," he added on "The Exchange."

Each co-working table is equipped with a charging station for laptops and phones. They're available to reserve from 10 a.m. ET to 4 p.m. ET, which, crucially, allows Kindred to pick up revenue during a time of day when it previously wasn't serving customers. On its website, the restaurant urges people to keep their tables for Happy Hour, starting at 5 p.m. 

Prior to the pandemic, Kindred was only open for weekday dinner service at 5 p.m. On Sundays, brunch service begins at 11 a.m.

Kindred's decision to become a dayside co-working location serves as another example of pandemic-era innovation from small businesses seeking to stay afloat in a time of significant economic disruption. The operation is profitable, Schulman said, and it now accounts for about 10% of Kindred's sales.

Kindred, located in New York City's East Village, launched a remote-work operation that lets people rent tables during the day.
Courtesy of Archer Lewis

"Once you book the table, it's yours for the full day. We won't sell it, so you can come and go," Schulman said, suggesting that feature is one advantage over going to work at, say, a traditional coffee shop.

Compared with a specifically designed co-working company, Schulman said he believes Kindred is "extremely accessible" and has fewer "strings attached."

"We also offer lunch, and it's just a way for people to have a great place to go without being stuck at home," he said. Lunch and select beverages, besides coffee, are extra.

Schulman said Kindred's offering has grown in popularity since it reopened in May after a pause during the colder months and a rebuild of the establishment's outdoor seating area.

Around 230 "unique guests" had worked at Kindred through the end of May, he said, expecting that number to grow to more than 300 by the end of June.

"I think this will continue, especially if we continue to have the outdoor seating," Schulman said. "We are ready for the winter. It's winterized. We're ready to go indoors if we have to and expand because right now we have a unique customer list that wants our space and wants to have that service."

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