Why pop-up restaurants are here to stay


Head to any UK town or city and you’ll come across a pop-up restaurant. Unlike traditional restaurants that tend to serve tried and tested cuisines they know people love, like pub grub, Italian, and Chinese, pop-up restaurants often include more experimental dishes.

If you’re a budding a chef, who has the skills, tastebuds, and even the cookware to get started, but are still unsure if a pop-up restaurant is for you, we’ve got some interesting facts and figures that might just persuade you to take the plunge.

What is a pop-up restaurant?

A pop-up restaurant is a place where customers can get food for a limited time at a temporary location. They can be open to the public or in an event setting. Pop-up restaurants can be in situ for a few hours or a few months.

Why pop-up restaurants are so popular?

Pop-ups are a relatively inexpensive way for a chef to get their name out to the public or help establish the restaurant brand in a new area. Established restaurants can benefit from pop-ups by trialling a new concept or new menu.

One of the great things about pop-up restaurants is that they give chefs the chance to test their new dishes on the actual public. This is especially helpful for younger chefs with low amounts of capital who aren’t able to use kitchen facilities without risking bankruptcy.

Pop-up restaurants also allow owners to test the brand model at a much lower cost. Another benefit of pop-ups is that they allow you to be flexible with pricing to a certain extent. You can experiment with flat tickets, prix fixe menus (which is the favoured pricing for most pop-ups). Unlike a la carte menu pricing, prix fix allows you to charge a set amount per head.

How 2020 impacted the industry

When millions of restaurants around the world closed their doors last year, you may be forgiven in thinking the food and beverage sector was obliterated. But in fact, it highlighted how many of our social interactions are centred around good food.

According to Companies House, takeaway food shops and mobile food stands accounted for 9,062 new businesses. Pop-up restaurants are opening up everywhere, from parks to warehouses, private gardens and pedestrianised streets – and it’s a trend that looks set to stay.

Covid-19 forced nearly every sector of enterprise to rethink their role and business model, and the restaurant industry is no different. With more than 172,217 empty commercial buildings in the UK, there’s a real opportunity for landlords to embrace the pop-up trend. The constant change in inhabitants will also have a knock-on effect for the wider community in bringing people back into town and city centres.


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BDC 317 : Jun 2024