Hot Trend: Pop-Up Restaurants

May 4, 2015 Rieva Lesonsky

Pop-Up Restaurants

One of the best ways for current or aspiring restaurant owners to test a new concept or a new location is a food truck. Food trucks are relatively cheap to start, far less labor-intensive and enable you to easily test menu items. Now an offshoot of the food truck concept—pop-up restaurants—is surging in popularity, reports Restaurant Hospitality. A study from Eventbrite reveals there was 82 percent growth last year in the number of tickets sold for pop-up dining experiences.

Pop-up restaurants are one-time events focused on providing “guests [with] a taste of something different. Whether it’s an unexpected location, a personal interaction with the chef, or a unique menu or theme, these events cater to the ‘Experiential Diner’—who craves not just an amazing meal, but a new and exciting dining experience,” the Eventbrite study says.

Eventbrite says this is a great way for new restaurant entrepreneurs to build a brand and highlight their creativity. Best of all, you can do all this without having to buy, build or lease an expensive permanent restaurant space.

And there’s more good news. According to Eventbrite, 75 percent of diners who attend these food events says they don’t mind spending more for a unique dining experience. If cost isn’t a big deal to these consumers, what does matter to them? The Eventbrite survey shows they care about:

  • a unique menu or theme: 84 percent
  • a memorable location: 76 percent
  • one-of-a-kind events: 74 percent

And 83 percent would “rather attend these events in non-traditional venues [than in] restaurants.”

Restaurant Hospitality reports pop-up diners “are more willing to share their dining experience via social media than for a typical restaurant (75 percent versus 51 percent).” The magazine adds that according to Intuit (check out their infographic), “Pop-up restaurants are still cheaper on average than other options” (meaning food trucks and restaurants).

So if you’re considering getting into the restaurant business (or expanding your existing footprint) try doing a pop-up before you decide what you’re going to serve and where you’re going to serve it.

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Author information

Rieva Lesonsky

Rieva Lesonsky

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at, follow her on Google+ and, and visit her website,, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.

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