If you're a resident of Des Moines, IA, you've heard of the popular pickleball 'eatertainment' venue Smash Park. They are a "one-stop-shop for food, drink, and fun” that combines lawn games like pickleball and cornhole, with arcade games, live events, and delicious eats and drinks.
When COVID-19 hit the restaurant industry, Smash Park, along with most of the hospitality industry, was forced to rethink how they did business. At first, they opted for Virtual Kitchens, which are slimmed-down versions of a restaurant that cuts costs like labor to focus purely on off-premise sales channels. Simply put, a virtual kitchen is usually delivery only, with some offering takeout options.
However, after reopening from the lockdown, they sensed a unique opportunity to boost their revenue: cater to the work-from-home crowd. They optimized their slow weekday lunches by encouraging folks to come work from Smash Park.
“We thought we could be a comfortable alternative to crowded coffee shops. We put in nicer, larger booths with electrical outlets and USB plugs — and there’s free Wi-Fi, of course.", owner Monty Lockyear says.
It was a win-win situation. So much so that Lockyear and the SHYFT Collective team are designing the next Smash Park locations to better accommodate guests who can work from anywhere.
Smash Park Omaha - Patio Rendering
Smash Park Omaha - Interior Rendering
“In our new design, we’ve added a private conference room with a big-screen television, a projector, and AV capabilities,” says Lockyear, explaining that Smash Park already hosts numerous team-building events and corporate parties. “With a private conference room that fits 30 to 40 people, they can just reserve that space, have their meeting, and then move on to a team-building activity right after.”
Read more about Smash Park's plans for multi-purpose use and remote work here.