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Starting a Pop-up Restaurant

Monika Kamińska

Monika Kamińska - marketing and communication enthusiast, psychologist by education. For almost 20 years he has been working in areas related to marketing activities, customer path and decision making. Experience has taught her that the most important thing is efficiency. She boldly sets goals and implements them by choosing online and offline tools. Her passion is the analysis of customer behavior and content marketing.

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Are you looking for a restaurant business idea? Or perhaps you possess the culinary abilities but you are not sure how to get out there with your skills? Have you ever thought about starting a pop-up restaurant? It would be a great opportunity to experiment with various ideas and dishes. Do you have any delicious food creations that you would like to share with the world? If you happen to be an aspiring chef or an existing restaurant owner, a pop-up restaurant business might be a good way to build up your reputation in the food industry or simply try out new ideas and see the reception of your fresh concepts.

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How to Start a Food Pop-up Restaurant?

Pop-up restaurants have been around us since the early 2000s. Even though it is not a new phenomenon, we have been experiencing some sort of a pop-up revival. If you wish to start up your own temporary pop-up restaurant business, then you should definitely create a pop-up restaurant business plan. It is no secret that a pop-up eatery, like a food truck or tent, will cost you way less than opening up a year-round restaurant. You still need to figure out things like hiring your staff, getting the equipment, finding the location, setting up the menu and marketing plan. There are many purposes of opening up a pop-up restaurant. Some people (who are restaurant owners) would like to try out a totally new concept of food, they want to offer their customers new culinary creations. Others want to raise up money for a good cause. And there are those who are new in the food business, so they just want to see if their food will get the public acclaim. So, once you figure out the purpose of your pop-up food business, then you can take the next step!

Location is Important!

How to open a pop-up restaurant that will attract a lot of customers? You need a good location. Of course, you want it to be located in a good area, with a lot of people passing by, right? Remember to also check if there will be enough space for your mobile kitchen and temporary dining area. Some people might be okay with take-outs, but there are those customers who would like to eat right away. Make sure there will be an access to running water and electricity. What is more, do not forget about the safety regulations as well. Applying for all the necessary permits and licenses might seem like an ordeal, but do not get discouraged! Once everything is set up, you will be able to focus on the menu!

Oh, the Menu!

There are two things that are equally important in both pop-up and brick-and-mortar restaurants: staff and menu. You must remember that a satisfied client is the one that will most likely return to your eatery. That is why you need to offer the best customer service and the best food in the whole town! Once you figure out all the paper work, the venue, mobile kitchen and such, then you should concentrate on the menu and hiring the right people. How to create a pop-up restaurant? By creating a good environment both for your customers and employees. Whether your pop-up business is located on a busy street, or in a tent for the food festival – you should always look after your customers and give them the reason to come back for more! Pop-up restaurant customers tend to be more open minded, so you might want to experiment a bit with the food here. Do not be afraid to offer your clients some different food variations. Afterall – the pop-up business idea was also aimed to see if the product would find its enthusiasts, right?

How to Open a Pop-up Restaurant and Get the Recognition?

Okay, so you either bought a food truck for your pop-up restaurant, or perhaps you rented a mobile kitchen. You hired qualified employees. You spent some time on creating the menu. Oh, did you set up a temporary dining area? Wow, everything seems to be ready, right? What about your marketing plan? Opening up a restaurant, even a pop-up kind, requires some marketing strategy, that will attract those customers. Pop-up businesses relay on social media. If you want your pop-up eatery to be visible, you need to advertise. If your business will take part in a food festival or restaurant’s week event, then you will still get some recognition (since all the event are always advertised), but if you decided to get your food truck out there, you will definitely need some help from social media. The very first step would be setting up an account on different platforms. Since the pop-up business is temporary, you do not necessarily have to create an online website for your business, but if you do have the time, then you can always make a free website, where you can put a short info about your business concept, menu, opening hours and location.

How to Create a Pop-up Restaurant That Will Stand Out?

Restaurant business is considered to be a tricky one. Demanding customers, health and safety regulations and such. But – on the other hand – this business is highly profitable. If you decide to enter this business, then you have to make your restaurant stand out. Not all of us know a famous celebrity, that will post a picture on their Instagram page and promote your food joint, right? Do not worry, there are other ways to become visible! Perhaps you can offer a signature dish or have special Friday offers? Maybe your pop-up restaurant comes with a photo booth next to it? Hot summer Sundays? How about a free can of soda with every meal? You can also collaborate with other businesses. Reach out to a friendly pastry shop and ask if they would be interested in collaboration. Every client who orders a dish at your pop-up eatery will get a 10% discount on any treat at the pastry shop and vice versa!

Any Disadvantages of a Pop-up Business?

Just like in every field, there are always pros and cons. Well, the biggest advantage of a pop-up restaurant is definitely a smaller budged that is needed to start the business. One of the disadvantages of a pop-up restaurant are the limitations. You might need to compromise with some things. Mobile kitchen might not look like your dream one, but you must remember, that you may have to fit everything that is essential on a very small area. It is doable though! It might require your imagination, but if you really want to test your culinary skills, or simply try out some new food concepts, then a pop-up restaurant is the right thing for you.

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Now you know some basics on how to start a food pop-up business. Even though a pop-up restaurant is way smaller than a brick-and-mortar one, it still requires some planning. Remember, that a pop-up restaurant can also host or cater events. It gives young chefs an opportunity to gain their confidence and recognition. Who knows, perhaps your pop-up eatery will turn out to be a total hit and you will be opening a year-round joint soon!

Monika Kamińska

Monika Kamińska - marketing and communication enthusiast, psychologist by education. For almost 20 years he has been working in areas related to marketing activities, customer path and decision making. Experience has taught her that the most important thing is efficiency. She boldly sets goals and implements them by choosing online and offline tools. Her passion is the analysis of customer behavior and content marketing.

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