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Day-to-Night Restaurants: Maximize Your Space


We had some meetings at Denver Bicycle Cafe this week. The morning-time coffee shop buzzes with regulars popping in for their morning coffee. The bar and community tables are always full with independent workers who set up shop to work through breakfast and likely on into lunch. Why? Because the space is set up for a perfect day-to-night transition. A freelancer could easily sit at the bar, sip a latte while answering emails, and then work through lunch ordering a beer and a pretzel.

“Don’t see something you like?” says the chalkboard behind the bar in big letters. “Feel free to bring your own food or ask for a menu from a local restaurant.” Recognizing the benefit in maximizing a space and encouraging guests to stay for extended periods through the day, I watched many patrons go back for second, third, even fourth orders. To top it off, the baristas were friendly and with the pool of regulars spilling through the front door, it felt like a place into which you were invited to stay for awhile, not imposing some waiter who wanted their tables quickly filled with the next guests.

Denver Bicycle Cafe didn’t stop there though. Had I needed to work through the lunch hour, a full bar opens up for Happy Hour. There were ten beers on tap, more kept cold in the fridge, plus additional non-breakfast drink and food options. We could have posted up all day. And so the coffee shop that was perfectly happy to serve that need in a traditional sense, expanded their purposes and maximized their space.

Maybe this is easy for a coffee shop to do. People want coffee, or at least the atmosphere, at all times of day, so even if you’re not offering up anything besides coffee, maybe you’ll get some good use out of your space.

But consider Denver Biscuit Company, a local breakfast and brunch spot made quickly popular by their outrageous gourmet biscuit sandwiches and biscuit French toast. They never fail to attract a crowd in the morning hours, but then patrons keep coming even after breakfast has ended. Denver Biscuit Company shares space with Fat Sully’s, a bar and pizza hotspot–all housed in the Atomic Cowboy. That’s two restaurants in one and some prime real estate that is always full of hungry customers.

We’ve seen the fast-food side-by-sides making an effort at this for awhile. But it is a clever tactic that more high-end destinations are beginning to employ. Find a good space and maximize it. Find a way to stay open longer or cater to a broader audience. Or team up with someone doing something that goes hand-in-hand with your business model.

We specialize in these unique and forward-thinking ideas and business models. Contact us today for an operations analysis and find out how you can maximize your space and your profit.

Photo courtesy of Steve Wilhelm