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A food truck operating seasonally at night and serving customers food

Do you want to open a pop up restaurant? Find useful tips and information that you need

By Nadine Hashem

From the smallest neighborhoods to the largest cities, pop up restaurants are quickly emerging into food servicing sector.


It’s quick, convenient and serves hungry customers looking for an express yet delicious meal.


They have been popular since the 2000s in Britain and Australia but they existed even before in the United States of America and Cuba.


Recently, People follow the restaurants twitter and Facebook to check their locations and to make online reservations. 


What is a pop restaurant? 


A pop up restaurant is also called supper club and it is a temporary restaurant that is usually initiated in festivals and special events.


The most popular form of pop up restaurant is the food truck and it gives young entrepreneurs and chefs who dream of opening their own restaurant a great opportunity.


It gives them the chance to start a business at lower costs.


In 2008, Roy Choi opened a Korean style pop up restaurant and it was a great success. 


He could give famous restaurants insights about gaining more popularity and thinking out of the box to teach a wider crowd. 


According to the National Restaurant Association, pop up restaurants are the second most popular restaurant trend. 


Famous pop up restaurants 


There are many famous restaurants around the world that started as a pop up restaurant and turned into permanent ones.


  • Saison in San Francisco 

  • Coquine in Portland

  • Semilla in Brooklyn

  • Superiority Burger in San Francisco


For how long does a pop up restaurant last? 


It all depends on the purpose it opened for in tge first place. 


For instance if you’re already an existing restaurant and only opened the pop up to cover a festival or an event then you might open for few days or weeks or as long as this event lasts. 


If you seasonally open during summer or winter then it might last for months. 


If you’re a new chef and you wish to test the waters of the market on your prepared meals then you better open for a longer time to have adequate feedback that you can rely on. 


Why may you want to open a pop up restaurant?


  • Test the waters of the customers: you’re a new chef who dreams of opening a restaurant but you can’t afford risking your small capital opening a restaurant.


  • Participate in special events, festivals and seasonal openings in certain areas like the beaches or mountains during summertime.


  • Offer high end, gourmet food at a cheaper price since you’ll be cutting down restaurant costs.


Tips to follow if you want to open a pop up restaurant 


Create your business plan


You need to have a clear vision about opening the pop up restaurant. What is the end goal? What’s your targeted income? Your forecast? 


This business plan acts as a roadmap for your business where you have to measure it along the way.


Choose a location


The key player in the success of the temporary pop up restaurant is the location.


Choose a location that matches your business plan and target customers.


Locations near universities, industrial areas, night clubs, bowling alleys are all important locations to consider not to mention opening in an event or festival venue.


Get your papers ready


Get your permit and license ready before opening the pop up restaurant. You don’t want to face legal actions or closure after opening because you opened in a prohibited location for example. You need to get a food permit as well, especially if this is your first restaurant.


 Prepare your pop up menu


The menu should be intriguing enough to attract customers especially if you are testing the waters of your recipes. 


Remember that your prices should be cheaper than a regular restaurant so don’t tend to overprice your items. 


If you’re opening a pop up restaurant in festivals or events, make sure the menu is fun and matches the concept of the festival. 


Adopt technology 


Even for a pop up restaurant, you need to get the right technology. 


The right POS software will get you the efficiency you’re looking for especially at the beginning of your business. 


It manages your sales, invoices and costs and creates the control tool that you need to monitor your performance.





Social media is an essential part of your pop up restaurant success.


Facebook, instagram, Twitter, are all platforms you need to publish your new or existing venture hoping to get necessary visibility.


If you are operating from an event, post an ad on the page of the event as well.


Adding an ad on the event flyer and invitation will also help you. 


Cons of opening a pop up restaurant 


  • You can’t count on loyal and repeated customers especially if you’re opening during an event.


  • You have to work with limited resources, space and equipment.


  • You need to rely heavily on social media and PR in the community you’re working in.


Whether you already have a successful business or you’re a new chef with small capital and big dreams, opening a pop up restaurant can be very rewarding. You have the chance to expand your coverage, increase your revenues and cease temporary opportunities at the lowest cost possible. 

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