Pilotworks brings a stalwart of the startup world — coworking and incubator space — to the food preparation industry.
“Pilotworks is a new kind of business on a mission to change the landscape of the food industry, helping aspiring food entrepreneurs launch and succeed,” said Pilotworks Dallas General Manager William Judge.
It’s the largest operator of on-demand kitchen space in the U.S., helping burgeoning chefs launch and scale food businesses with six kitchen facilities including Brooklyn, Chicago, Newark, Portland, Maine, and Providence, Rhode Island, along with the Dallas site. The six locations can support roughly 1,000 companies and 2,500 jobs, and the plan for Pilotworks Dallas is to offer space for 150-plus companies at its 24/7 facility.
“With the population growth in Dallas the last few years and foreseeable future, there needed to be a place where all these great ideas could come together.”
Companies selected for Pilotworks’ program have access to flexible hourly kitchen space, personalized mentorship, distribution reach, and educational events and workshops along with Pilotworks’ community of culinary professionals.
“Pilotworks Dallas provides a community of supportive culinary professionals looking to achieve the same goal: change the way we think about food,” Judge said.
Dallas Pilotworks is in the former Le Cordon Bleu culinary school on Webb Chapel Road.
A number of factors went into choosing Dallas for a Pilotworks space, including a lively and emerging food scene, and food makers creating world-class concepts both in growing neighborhoods and behind the scenes, Judge said.
“With the population growth in Dallas the last few years and foreseeable future, there needed to be a place where all these great ideas could come together,” Judge said.
PILOTWORKS USED INTERNAL DESIGN, EXPANSION TEAM
Given the space previously housed a culinary school, the basics were in place for Pilotworks and it used an internal design and expansion team for renovation to ensure the company’s design and operational standards for each facility were met.
Judge said Pilotworks also believes it’s important to include design elements that relate more directly to the local market.
Pilotworks Dallas has eight shared kitchen spaces that range from 1,200 to 1,600 square feet, one demonstration kitchen, a 32,000-square-foot restaurant/special event space that can seat 120 people, three classrooms that hold up to 25 students each, 1,500 square feet of dedicated office space, and more than 1,500 square feet of coworking space. The layout includes space for dry, cold, and frozen storage, and shared conference rooms.
“Our space is designed to allow for makers in various industries (baking, consumer packaged goods, catering, cooking classes) to have their own space.”
“Our space is designed to allow for makers in various industries (baking, consumer packaged goods, catering, cooking classes) to have their own space,” Judge said. “In addition, we have coworking space, dedicated office space, restaurant/special event space with bar and demonstration classes. These spaces have the flexibility to meet several needs including artisan baking, concept and menu testing, large volume production, and cooking and education classes.”
There is a plan to convert around 3,000-plus square feet into light industrial manufacturing to offer food makers with high volume needs the capability to produce their product. Providing a studio and test kitchen for concept creation and food photography is in the works.
“Our goal is to be the food hub of DFW by fostering education, innovation, and job growth,” Judge said. “This will include, but not limited to, distribution of products, workforce training, a small business education launch program, cold storage, and manufacturing/bottling.”
Company name: Pilotworks
HQ: Pilotworks Brooklyn
Co-founders: Nick Devane and Michael Dee
Type of company: Private
2017 sales/revenue: N/A
Products/services: Offerings include educational classes and workshops, access to a national mentor network and tailored membership programs, and rentable space for pop-up dinners, culinary classes, and food photography. Most importantly, Pilotworks Dallas provides a community of supportive culinary professionals looking to achieve the same goal: change the way we think about food.
The building: Inherited existing infrastructure and applied some minor interior renovations to better align with its business. For the interior renovations, most if not all of any renovations were handled internally by the company’s design and expansion team.
PILOTWORKS BY THE NUMBERS
Current food makers
Number of companies that could have space
Hours of operations
Number of shared kitchens
Square footage of shared kitchen space
1,200 to 1,600 square feet
Size range of eight shared kitchens
Square footage of product storage with expansion in the works
Seating capacity of restaurant/event space
Square footage of restaurant seating space with seating for 120
Square footage of restaurant/event space
The number of coworking spaces, each with 2,500 square feet of space with 24/7 access
Square footage of coworking space
Square footage of current class space
Number of classrooms
Student capacity of each classroom
A version of this article appeared in the Dallas-Fort Worth Real Estate Review, Spring 2018.
Photos by Merissa De Falcis
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