To be honest, we have all seen it. Stands in the middle of a shopping centre that catches our eye because it’s new and we haven’t seen this before. From pastel pink converted VW Vans that sell ice cream to shipping containers with a side panel hatch serving gourmet vegan burgers. These temporary small footprint spaces entice and excite our taste buds to something fresh, new and inspiring. They aim to make a memory which will, in turn, encourage a repeat visit or further investigation.
There are many benefits to opening these small sites. They are useful for testing locations ahead of any expansion or if you’re looking to starting a restaurant from the ground up. A pop-up restaurant allows you to determine foot traffic, identify a potential captive audience and gauge how a location works for your vision. This is a valuable insight to make sure the concept works.
Generating hype is one of the key aspects of a pop-up in any format. The ‘limited time only’ nature of a pop-up creates a buzz around the services and drives diners to test out your food as a matter of urgency. Repeat visits, while the experience is available, is also encouraged which again drives that brand awareness.
If your pop-up restaurant is a success, you could become a recognised figure in the food & drink community, complete with the finances and credibility needed to secure a permanent space. You could even become a serial pop-up entrepreneur.
With many restaurants struggling in the current financial climate, restaurant start-up costs can be very overwhelming and if projects occur too big too quickly there is no financial confidence that the idea will work long term. Instead, pop-up restaurants are a great way to realise your dream and showcase your culinary talents without the need for long-term capital investment or worry of financial ruin.
As an entrepreneur, you can also experiment with new ideas to approach and engage new consumers. If you want to experiment and adapt your menus and offerings. Testing them in a temporary setup and getting direct feedback from customers is invaluable. It also means there is no heavy investment in concepts that don’t work.
Technology can also be an ally to a pop-up venture. Mobile payment technologies have come on leaps and bounds over the last 10 years and it’s now a common sight to see burger vans with hand mobile PoS devices and the option for users to purchase items through a tap of their phone. All this has been made possible with the improvement of mobile coverage services and the consumer demand for quick easy processes. Cash rarely sees the light of day anymore, and maybe we see this transaction disappear altogether.
Kiosks were also a relatively new concept a few years ago and now many of the famous chain restaurants have adopted these into their customer journeys. (Check out our Case Study on how McDonald’s Experience of the Future Project reinvigorated the fast-food restaurant experience). With new technologies always hitting the market, who knows what the future holds.
Maybe restaurants become units that are designed to up sticks and move to the next location? It’s an interesting time to be in the industry as we see technology and food consumption entwine with each other.
Here are some great pop-ups:
The Picture House (London, Manchester, Leeds, 2014): When pop-up meets social media
Capitalising on the Instagram food photography craze, Birdseye opened up a temporary restaurant in various locations where diners could settle their bill with an Instagram post. All they had to do was take a snap of their meal and add the hashtag #BirdsEyeInspirations. The event was a creative social media experiment that helped generate publicity for the frozen food company’s Inspirations line of products.
Source: Insider Trends
Pantone Café (Monaco): Going against convention
What does colour taste like? If anyone knows the answer to that question, it’s Pantone. The world’s most well-known colour company has been running a pop-up café in Monaco for the past two summers, selling a minimal menu of pastries, lunch options, coffees, and fresh juices — all branded with Pantone’s signature colour swatches.
So, does this mean Pantone is permanently branching out into cuisine? Not quite. The seasonal eatery is perfect Instagram-bait, and it has successfully generated a ton of buzz in the press. It’s a perfect example of a pop-up event enabling a company to take creative risks with its brand by stepping outside of its typical business model.
Source; Insider Trends
Dram and Smoke (Various Locations): Togetherness
Dram and Smoke serve hearty seasonal Scottish dishes in a variety of quirky spaces where you wouldn’t normally expect to be having your dinner. Their concept is for dinners to come together in communal spaces, share dishes and drink whiskey, wine and top-notch beer!
Check out their website: www.dramandsmoke.com
Jimmy’s Pop-ups (Various Locations): Quirky Experiences
Since first ‘popping up’ in his front room in Balham in 2011 Jimmy and his dedicated team have come to be responsible for some of Londons most talked about pop up restaurants and concepts. From dinner on the Emirates Cable Car to interactive BBQs in the summer and fondues in the winter, Jimmys Pop Up guarantee great food, friendly service and unique locations.
Find out more at www.jimmyspopup.com