I‘ve covered some of the best co-working spaces in Thailand in an earlier post but this time I’m not reviewing some start-up heavy establishments but rather talk about something that I haven’t seen, in such a way, in any western country before.
We all know co-working spaces that give home to up and coming start-ups and entrepreneurial minds that are aiming on creating something special. Tech focused Co-Working spaces such as Lunchpad, Hubba or Hive are striving in Bangkok but also co-working spaces focused on social entrepreneurship, such as Ma:D, have made the city of angels their home.
Those co-working spaces aren’t necessarily something that everyone wants or can afford. While the prices are, obviously, cheaper than renting office space by yourself, they still need to charge enough to offer their services on a high level. Many times this still is too much for the casual freelancer.
Besides working in co-working spaces, cafes have become a very popular goto place for digital nomad-like working class heroes. However those cafes, more often than not, do not offer a stable internet connection. That’s when the third player in this love triangle comes into play.
Fast Food Joints as co-working spaces
Fast Food joints in Thailand, as different as they appear, have one thing in common. More or less stable internet connections, air condition and space. Three things that are not necessarily common for the average working man in the land of smiles. Those features lead to a very high acceptance rate for fast-food restaurants in Thailand. They instantly increase the living quality and add cleanliness and above mentioned features to their immediate neighborhood.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s Burger King, KFC or, the one fast food joint that seems to be even more omni present in Thailand, McDonald’s.
FastFood Restaurants don’t only serve the typical fast-food (Burgers etc.) but also local, rice based dishes to appeal to more than just the junk food hungry teenager, hungover party goer or lazy ass (I’m sitting in a McD right now). The atmosphere within McDonald’s (and other fast-food joints) has changed in most restaurants all across the world (e.g. we’ve got a McCafe on the top floor of a skyscraper with an all glass wall and very comfy chairs and sofas) but here in Thailand it seems to have taken on a development of its own. McD or KFC are not only spots to grab some food before heading to the cinema but they have become places to discuss, debate and collaborate.
Not only thanks to the features (air-condition, WiFi, cleanliness) mentioned above but also due to the fact that they are everywhere and quite liberal (in most McD’s it won’t be a problem to simply buy a small coke and sit there for a few hours – some don’t even buy anything at all).
Chance are high, when checking your closest fast food franchise, that you’ll see lots of customers sitting there with their laptops open and being heavily at work (and not only hookers) while having a small cup of of coke or a small shake standing next to them. I’ve even seen business meetings, tutor classes and more being held at McDs. Even I use the free WiFi here sometimes when I have to hide from the rain or when I need to charge my MacBook – yes, some even offer free electricity.
This is, obviously, not only because the McDonalds, Burger Kings and KFCs of this wordier such nice companies that want to offer us services for free – they hope that the longer you stay, the more you consume. And it does seem to work. While I try very hard to stay away from anything fast-food lots of customers seem not to mind to eat the casual french fries or drink just another shake while staying at McD & Co.
Whether or not it’s really worth it and this attitude / approach makes them a lot of money…I don’t know. It does, however, lead to a certain kind of atmosphere that is less fast-foody and more social and, dare I say, creative.