Just like food trucks, pop up restaurants are quickly becoming an alternative to traditional dining. As many of you already know, Mobile Cuisine has recognized the need for an alternative to traditional eateries for a long time now, and as such, we have enjoyed championing the rise of food trucks, food carts and other sectors within the mobile food industry.
Pop up restaurants, just as food trucks are something the general public hasn’t come across unless they specifically tracked them down. We want to see that change.
The Growth Of Pop Up Restaurants
As the name suggests, pop up restaurants are literally eateries that pop up from nowhere, often at an unusual venue, or perhaps in the setting of a private home. They originally come from the idea of prohibition era speakeasies, and while this gives the impression of something quite secretive, they have been increasing in popularity.
According to a study released by Eventbrite called “The Rise of Pop-Up Dining Events and the Experiential Diner,” the pop-up trend is alive and well.
A quick search on Google Trends reveals that the term “pop up restaurant” was practically non-existent before 2009. The trend climbed significantly until 2014, when it skyrocketed. After a brief decline, it looks like searches for pop-up restaurants are back up. While it’s not the most scientific analysis, this search tool indicates how the dining concept’s popularity has grown in just the last few years.
Why Pop Up Restaurants Are Popular
- Customer Appeal: The millennial generation appears to be the big customer in the pop up restaurant arena. And millennials like culinary novelty and creativity. Not to mention, this peer group is infamous for their desire not to be left out of new culinary adventures.
- Variety: Pop up restaurants are opportunities for chefs to offer innovation with frequently changing menus.
- Cost To Run: As the name implies, pop up restaurants don’t require a long-term investment. Operators pay rent only as long as they occupy the space.
- High Check Averages: Because pop up restaurants often are by invite only, and their menus are often unique, customers will pay a premium for the experience.
- Portability: A successful pop up restaurant can move from location to location. If it’s equally popular there, it might stay. If not, it might still receive press for the brand.
- Growth Potential: If the pop up restaurant concept continues to grow, it could grow into a permanent restaurant.
- Small Losses: If a pop up restaurant concept fails in one location, it can be packed up and closed as swiftly as it started.
Food Trucks & Pop Up Restaurants
Many pop up restaurants have been launched by home cooks and chefs that work in or own restaurants. Food truck owners can use the pop up restaurant model to expand their food truck brand. They can also be used to show off a chef’s culinary talent that their food truck menu doesn’t allow.
The Bottom Line
Over our nearly 5 years of operation, Mobile Cuisine hasn’t spent much time on the topic of pop up restaurants. That’s our fault, but because we do feel that pop ups are part of the mobile food industry we plan to expand our coverage of this growing segment of the industry.