The best pop-up restaurants are a font of inspiration for budding pop-up restaurant owners. Of course, there are other important things to consider. Those include the cost to open a pop-up restaurant, and endless pop-up restaurant ideas to build your business plan.
You’ll want to learn all about pop-up marketing, pop-up restaurant regulations, and writing a pop-up restaurant business plan. Pop-up restaurant inventory management will also come into play. You’ll need to collect consumer data and customer data, measure your customer experience and customer satisfaction, and look out for growth opportunities.
Learning about the best pop-up restaurants, however, is a great place to start the process of how to develop a restaurant concept. This BinWise blog is the place to discover some of the best pop-up restaurants and draw inspiration from them. On this list, you’ll find quite the mix, to showcase how many types of restaurants and cafes a pop-up restaurant can be.
Best Pop-Up Restaurants Features
Before we dive into the six best pop-up restaurants for inspiration, we’re going to walk through the features these places share. These features of the best pop-up restaurants are things you can lean into, to make your pop-up restaurant one of the best:
- Creative concepts: these can be extremely specific for different holidays and types of celebrations, or simply unique, out-of-the-box ideas. Whatever they are, the more creative and workable with a pop-up restaurant, the better.
- Classic recipes: when you’re opening a pop-up restaurant, your customers won’t know anything about you right off the bat. To remedy this, feature some classic recipes for drinks and menu types. This will give customers something they’ll recognize and want to try your version of.
- Exceptional marketing: as a pop-up, the best marketing plans are an integral part of your business model. You need to get the word out about your business in general. You also need to promote information about every event and pop-up moment you’ll be available for customers to enjoy.
These six best pop-up restaurants share these features, and if you lean into them you’ll have a good pop-up restaurant on your hands. Like the best bars, including the best cocktail bars, wine bars, and brunch cafes, draw from inspiration. Following in the footsteps of other successful businesses will help lead you to success.
Notice: Due to the nature of pop-up restaurants, these six restaurants won’t necessarily stick around forever. The amazing thing about the best pop-up restaurants is, with the fluidity of the business model, there's room for new pop-ups on the scene. You can join these six amazing businesses at any time, and make the list of the best pop-up restaurants even longer!
6. Christmas Club Pop-Up Bar in Chicago, IL
The Christmas Club Pop-Up Bar in Chicago, Illinois, is a fine example of a pop-up restaurant that leans into a specific theme. Their holiday cheer permeates the atmosphere at this pop-up. It gives people something easy to remember whenever they’re looking for some holiday cheer.
5. The Inventing Room Dessert Shop in Denver, CO
The Inventing Room Dessert Shop in Denver, Colorado, is a delightful pop-up that has leaned into a dessert menu as their go-to customer experience. They have a main location and do pop-up events as well. That’s an option many pop-up restaurants go with. It gives you a place to host many guests, as well as keeping options open for new experiences.
4. Capri in Los Angeles, CA
Capri in Los Angeles, California, has been noted as one of the best pop-up restaurants in Los Angeles. At this point, the restaurant is fairly established but still has popularity as a pop-up location. Capri is an example of how a restaurant can embody the carefree and exclusive nature of a pop-up restaurant. Capri continues to do so after it has gone beyond the pop-up stage of business location.
3. Bagel Bunny, NYC
Bagel Bunny, in New York City, is another great example of a pop-up restaurant that has embraced a specific food for its menu. You can’t go wrong with bagels. Bagel Bunny has been sharing their passion for great bagels in NYC in different residencies around the city. That’s one popular way for pop-ups to have a consistent location for a limited time.
2. Good Morning Tacos in Seattle, WA
Good Morning Tacos in Seattle, Washington, is part of the food truck world of the best pop-up restaurants. Food trucks have their main food truck as a primary location. They’re a pop-up in the sense that they can be anywhere that food trucks are operating.
1. Cassava & Tea in Los Angeles, CA
Cassava & Tea in Los Angeles, California, takes the number one spot on our list. They’ve taken the concept of a pop-up restaurant and leaned into a specialization in boba tea. They’re a community-focused pop-up, with a variety of pop-up locations at climbing gyms and markets around Los Angeles.
"Key Takeaway: The amazing thing about the best pop-up restaurants is that, with the fluidity of the business model, there is always room for new pop-ups to break onto the scene."
Frequently Asked Questions About the Best Pop-Up Restaurants
The best pop-up restaurants inspire lots of questions, as the qualities and specifics can be hard to nail down. Our answers to these frequently asked questions will give you more background on what makes a pop-up restaurant such a unique and delightful business.
What Are Pop-Up Restaurants Best Described As?
Pop-up restaurants are best described as restaurants with an irregular location and timeline for when they are open in a certain space. In most ways, in relation to food and customer service, pop-up restaurants are just like any other restaurant. The key difference is the way pop-ups move around at different times.
What Is a Pop-Up Buffet?
A pop-up buffet is often used synonymously with the term pop-up restaurant. It’s generally specifically a pop-up occasion with a huge range of foods, often coming from a variety of vendors. It’s a buffet of food and drinks in a pop-up setting, to give customers the opportunity to experience many types of food.
How Do Pop-Ups Work?
Pop-ups work as a roving restaurant, with a general food service and business license, but without a specific location. A pop-up restaurant can be in a restaurant or storefront type of building. It can also be in a booth at a fair. Pop-ups can be food trucks as well.
Why Are Pop-Ups So Popular?
Pop-ups are so popular because they provide a great service, with a sense of urgency to get what they’re offering. A pop-up restaurant is an opportunity for customers to sample a meal that they couldn’t necessarily get anywhere else, at any other time. That sense of urgency is a great driver for business.
Inspirational Pop-Up Restaurants: What Will Your Pop-Up Look Like?
The best pop-up restaurants are a source of inspiration, and proof that a pop-up restaurant is a good business idea. If you’re planning to open a pop-up restaurant, looking at these successful spots will give you ideas. It will also provide assurance that you’re headed in a good direction for your business plan.
When you’re ready to open your pop-up restaurant, reach out to BinWise and BlueCart. The BinWise Pro inventory program, paired with the BinScan mobile app, gives you peace of mind when you take inventory. BlueCart’s order management software is the tool you need to master your order management system.