A few weeks ago, I ate at Koa Pancake House in Hawaii Kai. The restaurant was clean and bright orange, the prices were reasonable, and everyone was smiling. Mmm, chocolate chip pancakes. Sometimes, the only thing better than breakfast for lunch is… breakfast for dinner.
But as we were leaving, I noticed their hours: 6:30 am to 2 pm! No chocolate chip pancakes, no strawberry crepes with whipped cream, no chili and cheese omelets for dinner.
And that got me thinking: what does the restaurant do after 2 pm? Nothing. After the last employees clean up and prep for the next day, the restaurant is closed. But what if it didn’t have to be that way?
I once saw a TV commercial in which a clothing store by day transforms into a trendy restaurant by night, its paneled walls swiveling to reveal new products and furniture. I wish I could remember the commercial better – if you remember it, please let me know! It sparked an idea.
What if two businesses could share the same location, the same space, but make their businesses totally different from each other? We could start a new trend of “Day and Night” restaurants and stores – one store by day, and a totally different store by night!
Here are just three ideas that “day and night” stores can help entrepreneurs and our economy:
* Shared restaurant spaces. This would be a great way for retirees to run their own business in the morning, leaving their afternoons free. We all know that if you don’t get there early enough, some okazu-ya and manapua restaurants close when the food runs out. Meanwhile, younger chefs could open just for dinner, trying out new menu ideas and starting their own business on a smaller scale. The two restaurants could share basic cooking appliances, utensils, and supplies.
* Shared office spaces. Two companies may be able to share the same office space – if one of the companies runs a customer service call center, an after-hours medical or security monitoring service, or a student mentoring program by night. Cubicles and offices could be designed with two sets of lockable cabinets, but could use the same password-protected computers and desk supplies. One traffic solution is not to build more roads and parking lots, but to use the buildings we already have.
* Shared retail spaces. It’s harder for retail companies to share the same space, but in one TV commercial they had rotating wall racks and sliding wall panels with entirely different products. Maybe two related businesses could partner to offer “night and day” products, like selling swimsuits and exercise clothes in the morning and evening dresses at night.
It’s not a totally crazy idea. After all, telecommuters sometimes share cubicles, and there are even business service companies that rent office space and meeting rooms. I am fascinated by the idea that you could have a part-time business, a part-time store – and a fraction of the risk.
With a little trust and cooperation, can two companies share the same space? What do you think?