It’s an understatement to say that cities lack space. Whether you’re crammed into a packed subway car or paying an arm and a leg for an apartment the size of a cardboard box, chances are you understand how claustrophobic they can be. With this lack of space, real estate is an enormous roadblock for new companies who can’t afford spaces or have the time to fight for ample space at digital cafes week after week. This feeling of helplessness is what drove Peter Litvinenko to face this problem in a new creative way. His company WorkEatPlay partners with restaurants and other spaces to rent their seats out to people looking for places to work during the day. This is great not only for those looking for space but also for restaurants that may have a hard time getting customers in during normal 9 to 5 business hours.
Litvinenko recalls the idea came to him in a moment of frustration. “It was like an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm,” he remembers as he and a few of his colleagues piled into a tiny cramped corner of a West Village coffee shop in order to get some work done. With a faint WiFi signal and no access to outlets for their laptops, they were getting absolutely nowhere. That’s when Litvinenko had a brilliant idea: Why not try the empty restaurant across the street? They walked in and asked if it would be alright to work there for the day and in exchange promised to order coffee and possibly some lunch. And from there, WorkEatPlay was born.
With WorkEatPlay, you can claim a seat in one of their participating venues where Litvinenko and his team will make sure that they are fully outfitted with fast WiFi, power outlets and free coffee and tea for those who use the service. At a price point of $10 a day or $150 a month, it’s a hard bargain to beat.
So far, WorkEatPlay has partnered with such NYC mainstays as McCarren Hotel & Pool, The Chester, Library of Distilled Spirits, Bolton and Watt, San Remo and even Montauk, Long Island’s Surf Lodge to bring a new work experience to their customers that is anything but the normal daily grind. And because the company is going the extra mile to only partner with the best of the best, Litvinenko sees this service as a chance for people to broaden their horizons. “We tend to sit in the same exact seat 8 hours a day, five days a week,” he explains, adding “to be be able to give people variety, incredible lunch menus to try everyday and the chances to meet new people is great.”
As someone who has also had a long career in the service industry, he believes it is his company's duty to lend a hand to shops in need of support during the slow times. “For someone who has come from working in hospitality, you really feel for some of these businesses,” he says, but understands the leg up this will provide those trying to make a name for themselves in the business world with limited resources. “Real-estate is the biggest factor in a company’s success,” he explains “as a young entrepreneur being able to have your team work together and to afford a WeWork is really hard but really important.” By forming this win-win relationship between professionals and venues, Litvinenko can only see WorkEatPlay’s concept catching on in cities across the country.