THE END OF THE RESTAURANT AS YOU KNOW IT
I walked into the Sweet Spot, a bar-meets-ice cream shop-meets-candy store, and found myself a taco.
It was about noon, but the Crested Butte, Colorado, store wasn’t yet serving shots of tequila or scoops of rocky road. It was technically closed, but there was another unexpected food option located in the same prime locale at the base of one of Colorado’s best ski mountains. Elevated Taco Supply was operating a cart in the 3,000-square-foot space, which was filled with arcade machines and hungry, ski boot-clad people, buzzing about in the booths as they noshed on pulled pork.
The conventional restaurant model is dying, and that’s a good thing. No longer is a single restaurateur or type of cuisine assigned to a single property. It’s all about feeling the foodie love and sharing space.
Spurred by the artisan food movement and more people moving into urban centers, shared dining spaces are the new normal. These restaurants are an extension of the sharing economy we’ve come to embrace through Airbnb, Uber, and Lyft.
Sharing space allows small businesses that ordinarily would not be able to afford a brick-and-mortar setup to take less risk, grow, and keep profits healthier. That’s certainly the case for the Sweet Spot’s owner, Laura Silva. Elevated Taco, which is owned by Brian Kuhn, covers about 30 percent of expenses associated with her highly desirable and expensive piece of real estate. Even better, it operates during hours the space would ordinarily be sitting empty.
Arranging various restaurants in a single property also helps tenants maintain customers interested.
“When there’s limited real estate, and maybe you have a product that doesn’t fill the customer’s needs completely, you can collaborate in a way that makes sense,” says Silva.
When restaurant businesses come together and break bread, we all get to feast on the delights.