Davy McAleer
Site Lead and Engineering Manager, Chef - Case Study

When did you set up the company? Why?

Chef is a US software company based in Seattle, Washington. The company is 10 years old, and we opened the satellite office in Belfast in December 2017.

In the last 10 years what have you seen in this changing environment?

Over the last 10 years I’ve seen the needs of satellite software company offices switching from purely office based, needing large offices for a long period of time, to a mix of home working and office based for co–location meeting spaces. 

Chef is a remote first company in the rest of the globe and Belfast has developed as an office first location but with very flexible working arrangements, so our office space is very important to us for collaboration purposes and ensuring we have a premium space to work in if we choose to work in a single location on any given day.

I do see an ongoing need for smaller companies who want to branch out from smaller collaborative, shared spaces into larger dedicated office spaces without the costly overhead of taking on a 10 year lease with a five year breakout clause, there is very little in–between up until now.

What sectors do you primarily work in? 

Software Engineering. 

Why did you choose SPB?

Originally we choose SPB because it was central with high quality facilities and any interactions we had with Donna and the team were truly low drama and overly helpful. Before we even decided to sign up with SPB they let us use their meeting spaces for daily sync–ups as and when we needed it, they couldn’t have done more to be helpful.

Given your substantial growth over the last year or so how has SPB contributed to that?

Since we started with SPB one and half years ago I’ve never had to worry about anything to do with office space, it just doesn’t have to factor into my day–to–day organising for the wider team. 

When we started looking for something other than a shared space and I started to look at taking a dedicated office elsewhere in Belfast, I quickly found the operating cost that comes with managing the process and all the interfacing with third parties that was going to require most of my time and probably an office manager to run it. 

SPB/VenYou, in the form of Donna, then stepped in and showed me Northern Court and that they could provide a dedicated office space, configured exactly how I wanted it, at a very acceptable price, they look after everything and we basically just had to move from SPB to Northern Court in a morning and we were up and running. 

VenYou is at the end of a phone call or an email or face–to–face anytime we have any further needs – I can get on with running and growing a team and focusing on the business.

Has the service provided by VenYou made the difference? And Why?

Donna and Jonny know how to run an office and the facilities we need – they take all the pain and grief away from me, it’s their primary specialism, I’d say, let them do it for you.

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