Many high-end restaurants that don’t open until late afternoon or evening are rife with opportunity. What to do with space that goes unused for most of the day?

How about run a company?

Several startups are offering off-hours restaurant spaces as an affordable alternative to traditional coworking offices, reports FastCompany:

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Photo credit: FastCompany

Turning empty offices into coworking spaces isn’t cheap: You need to pay rent and buy desks, chairs, perhaps a fancy coffeemaker for the kitchen. So while a coworking membership is often cheaper for entrepreneurs and freelancers than renting their own office, it can cost several hundred bucks a month depending on the city and how much access or privacy they want.

But what if freelancers, consultants and entrepreneurs worked out of existing space that sits unused during the day? Several entrepreneurs are testing that concept by turning restaurants or coffee shops into coworking spaces.

Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 10.18.59 AMCoworkCafe opened last year inside of Arlington, Virginia, coffee shop Boccato. After 6 p.m., the area of the shop reserved for coworking opens up to the general public. For $150/month, CoworkCafe members get a $50 food credit, access to reserved space and high-speed Wi-Fi ($20 day passes are also available but don’t include any food credit). LinkLocale, more traditional coworking space in the area charges $30 per day, $175/month for flex space or $475/month for reserved space.

Aside from being cheaper than alternatives, cofounder David James says CoworkCafe offers a more relaxed vibe that many members (who include a novelist, software developers, marketing consultants, and nonprofit professionals) like. “Having a place that’s relaxed and comfortable is very good for creative type work,” he says. “There’s a certain feeling that you get in a place like this you can’t get in an office-type building. They really love the feeling of the space; they don’t want to be in a traditional office setting.”

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