Pop-up restaurants have been hitting the news lately, riding the after-waves of the Food Truck phenomenon. But, what is this phenomenon: the pop-up restaurant. What are these new conceptual takes on the traditional restaurant? Find out more, and which is right for you: from the traditional restaurant to the pop-up restaurant.
The Old: Traditional Restaurants
A traditional restaurant is a brick and mortar business. Maybe it’s unfair to call them ‘old’, as there are tons of modern and innovative restaurants worldwide. You can exercise your creativity and open a speakeasy like the Staff Room in Ottawa, Canada; located inside another restaurant, Union613, behind a bookcase.
(TurtleMeet Tip #1 – Develop a pop-up brand name before launching a restaurant)
Really, there is no limit on your imagination when it comes to opening a traditional restaurant, except perhaps, financial limits. Truly, some restaurants seem straight from a dream. Circus, in London, is just one of those dream restaurants. A mix of entertainment and high quality foods will leave you breathless and wanting more, definitely a place to visit more than once.
Cons: It’s all about location. You will have more staff than the other concepts, and your bills will be higher. The initial launch cost is also much higher than the other concepts.
Yesteryear: The Food Truck
Once again, maybe not fair to call them yesteryear. People still love food trucks, and more and more keep hitting the streets bringing portable food to the people. Chefs are still leaving traditional restaurants to open their own restaurant on wheels, primarily because they are cheaper than launching a traditional restaurant and people love them.
Take Prague, Czech Republic. The scene is brand new in Prague, and yet the Crush Food Truck is a pretty cool vehicle I must say. In a place like California, where the food truck phenomena is most mature, you still have some of the coolest ones: The Roving Mammoth is just one of many.
Money is definitely needed to open a food truck, especially if you want a cool unique design, but ultimately you can drive to your customer. So even if you are unknown, you may still get some good business if word spreads that you have great food. You will need to harness marketing though, people need to know where to find you.
Pros: Less expensive to launch and operate than a traditional restaurant. You can drive to your customers, and attend key festivals or the beach. Having no tables and a smaller menu means less staff.
Cons: It’s still a grey area in a lot of places. Licensing and laws can be confusing and difficult for pretty much everyone. It still costs a fair amount to start and operate a food truck, and with few staff, that means a lot of hours to prep, cook, clean.
(TurtleMeet Tip #2 – Test your menu way in advance of launch.)
The New: Pop-up restaurants
What exactly is a pop-up restaurant? Essentially, it’s a temporary restaurant. It could be in a set location (similar to a traditional restaurant), or at your home, but the point is that it is temporary.
Pop-up restaurants are great to test out an idea, or just to meet some new people. Since they are temporary, they cannot be counted on for a long-lasting income.
Pop-ups are as cheap and efficient, but are as marketable and imaginative as Food trucks and traditional restaurants. Pop-ups exist to test new ideas, locations or to test the cooks themselves. A pop-up will help with an eventual business launch, building a following, testing recipes, and building a brand.
Pros: Super amazingly cheap. In fact, you get reservations before the day, so you know for exactly how many people you will be cooking. You get to meet new people and test your cooking skills and see if people like what you offer.
Cons: It is not a large income generator, and it’s still a black market operation for the most part. If the pop-up is not registered or paying taxes, you’ll have to register your business once you reach a certain size.
(Tip: Visit TurtleMeet for tips and tools on launching your pop-up.)
Disclosure: this is a guest post article written by the TurtleMeet team.