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Sarah Ward

Pop-Up Restaurant Regulations: 9 Key Pop-Up Regulations

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Pop-up restaurant regulations are a major part of the things you need to learn about in how to open a pop-up restaurant. Your pop-up restaurant ideas will revolve around things like pop-up restaurant marketing and inspiration from the best pop-up restaurants. You’ll also need to know the cost to open a pop-up restaurant. That all ties into rules and regulations. 

Learning about pop-up restaurant regulations is similar to learning the rules and regulations for standard restaurants, with a few key differences specifically for pop-ups. Read on through this BinWise blog to learn the ins and outs of pop-up restaurant regulations you need to know.

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What are Pop-Up Restaurant Regulations?

Many common pop-up restaurant regulations are similar–or the same–to regulations for other types of restaurants and food establishments. Pop-up restaurants have qualities of control in common with:

The pop-up restaurant regulations we’ll dive into in this blog post can be seen across these various establishments. Some of them are uniquely situated for pop-ups when that is the restaurant you’re opening. All of them are vital for restaurant success.

Pop-Up Restaurant Standard Regulations

Our first round of three pop-up restaurant regulations are some standard things pop-up restaurants should be aware of. These are a mix of legal requirements and general business-savvy rules to follow. Starting your pop-up restaurant with these three steps already taken care of will get you off on the right foot.

3. Risk Assessment

Risk assessment for a restaurant, including pop-up restaurants, is a vital internal restaurant regulation. You need to perform a risk assessment when you start your business, and on a regular basis. We recommend a quarterly risk assessment review. 

2. Location Hygiene Regulations

You’ll have a lot of hygiene regulations in terms of food safety. Part of your hygiene safety also comes in the form of protecting your employees. There are regulations about keeping your space clean and safe for everyone working there. 

1. Power and Electric Tests

Power and electric tests are some of the most important regulations to follow in terms of safety for you, your employees, and your customers. There are safety regulations about your electrical setup and power sources that can lead to dangerous situations if you’re not set up properly.

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Pop-Up Restaurant Zoning Regulations

Pop-up restaurants are in a special situation when it comes to zoning regulations. Different places have varying rules about pop-up food locations and their zoning requirements. These three facets of zoning regulations will help you cover your bases for pop-up restaurant zoning regulations. These are the basics that will help you ensure you check all the right boxes.

3. Local Laws

The first place you need to check in for pop-up restaurant regulations for zoning regulations are your local laws. Your state government website, and potentially any county sources, will tell you what you need to know for the start. 

2. Business License Specifics

Business licenses can be fairly general, but yours, for a pop-up restaurant, will likely need some work in the zoning arena. BinWise isn’t a legal advisor, we can’t say exactly what your business license needs will be. We can, however, recommend that you dig in, and potentially hire a lawyer to make sure you’re checking all the right boxes.

1. Food Service Licensing

One extremely restaurant specific part of potential zoning regulations are food service licensing requirements. Different places have their own rules around what you can serve. This most often applies to alcohol. 

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Pop-Up Restaurant Food Services Regulations

One feature pop-up restaurants share with all restaurants and other food establishments are the need for food safety regulations. These three regulations show up for every type of restaurant, bar, and food-service establishment. For pop-ups, having these regulations checked off will give you less to think about when it comes to daily operations and food preparation.

3. Food Safety Regulations

Food safety regulations are an all-encompassing regulation for your food services. From keeping a clean kitchen to quality control of incoming ingredients, your food quality is critical in your restaurant.

2. Liquor Licensing

If you’re planning on serving alcoholic beverages, you’ll need to look into getting a liquor license. Whether you can have one may depend on your location, as different states have different rules around liquor, wine, and beer at temporary locations. 

1. Food Storage Requirements

Your food storage requirements as a pop-up location will require regulations in place for the pop-up, or for a secondary location. This will depend on the space you have in each pop-up location.

"Key Takeaway: A pop-up restaurant comes with all the same legal requirements as a standard, brick-and-mortar establishment, and a little bit more."

Frequently Asked Questions About Pop-Up Restaurants and Their Regulations

Our answers to these frequently asked questions will give you more background on the regulations of running a pop-up restaurant. There’s always more to learn, as regulations can change. With these answers, and the solutions throughout this blog post, however, you’ll be set up for success to get started and keep learning.

How Do I Get a Food Vendor License?

To get a food vendor license, the place to start is your state legal website and department. From there, you can find out exactly what you need, and how to go about applying for the correct licensing and permits. It’s very state-specific, so while a general license is a guaranteed need, what you need will depend on your location.

Can You Sell Food without a Vendor License?

There are some specific times when you can sell food without a vendor license, but not as a pop-up restaurant. There's one main reason that allows people to sell food without a vendor license. That's when a fruit or vegetable stand is run on the farm property where the products are grown. 

Do You Need a License for a Pop-Up Restaurant?

Yes, for a pop-up restaurant you often need a general business license and a temporary restaurant license. For your specific location, there may be other licences and permits you need to obtain. A pop-up restaurant essentially comes with all the same legal requirements as a standard, brick-and-mortar establishment.

What are Temporary Food Events?

Temporary food events are when various types of pop-up restaurants, food trucks, and alternative food establishments come together for an event. Often, this takes the form of a food truck court or a collection of pop-up restaurants at a community market. A temporary food event can be any sort of market or food gathering event.

Can Pop-Up Restaurants Serve Alcohol?

Yes, pop-up restaurants can serve alcoholic beverages with the proper permits. It takes a liquor license, and other licensing requirements depending on your location. If you’re looking to avoid those extra licensing needs, you can serve up mocktails and market yourself toward teetotalers.

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Pop-Up Restaurant Rules and Regulations: Regulations on Wheels 

Learning pop-up restaurant rules, regulations, and expectations will help you hit the ground running when it’s time to open for business. The rules and regulations of running a pop-up restaurant work in conjunction with the internal solutions you need to keep things running smoothly. Those internal solutions include inventory and order management.

Reach out to BinWise and BlueCart for your inventory and order management needs. The BinWise Pro inventory program, paired with the BinScan mobile app, eases the process when you take inventory. BlueCart’s order management software simplifies your order management system

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