From LA, to NYC to…Bryan College Station: Popup dinners are creative, curated experiences that transcend just food. They are usually focused on ambiance and even hosted in sometimes unexpected and unique locations. The idea came from 1960’s supper clubs and has been popularized lately by celebrity chefs or eclectic themes. Even Walt Disney had one, which still exists to this day for those who get the elusive invite.
Here in Bryan, College Station we got our first taste of this type of culinary experience when Aggie couple Brian and Amanda Light held their famous Full Moon Dinners in the woods.
The work and attention to detail that goes into these events is not lost on its patrons. In the day to day drone of brown bag lunches and quick dinners, popup dinners are flocked to for their innovation. A pop up can last from several hours to several months. If you’re a chef or restaurateur looking to test the market for a new restaurant concept, a longer run in your pop-up kitchen may be beneficial. Staying open for several weeks or months can allow you and your staff to reveal and resolve potential issues and learn if you’re targeting the right market. If customers respond positively to your concept, it could be time to turn your pop-up restaurant into a permanent fixture.
Limited availability generates buzz for tickets to such events. If you’re looking to raise money for charity with the proceeds, for example, a short stay will create urgency for customers.
Where Should I Host My Popup Dinner?
While creative pop-up locations could include barns, old unused buildings, parks, city-wide festivals, or roof-top gardens, your pop-up must be in an area that’s safe to cook and serve food.
Renegade BCS is a great location to host your popup dinner. Our event room is your blank canvas (within reason) and we provide seating for up to 30. You can create connections with local diners to create growth without the serious financial risk opening a flagship restaurant poses.
You will have full run of our commercial kitchen to test out menu concepts, attract potential investors looking to see your concept in action, offer higher-end, gourmet foods at affordable prices by cutting out costs associated with a restaurant, all while having total creative freedom without a large risk factor.
The novelty nature of a popup restaurant will appeal to foodies, millennials and consumers of all ages. Not only that, consumers will be willing to pay a premium on unique foods and concepts they haven’t encountered before.
No matter how spontaneous, creative, or temporary your pop-up restaurant may be, it’s imperative you follow all local and federal regulations. Just because you aren’t opening a permanent brick-and-mortar location doesn’t mean you can operate without the proper paperwork. Think of your pop-up restaurant as being similar to a catering business, you’re offering food on-site and need to ensure the health and safety of your customers. Consider the following as you prepare to open your pop-up restaurant.
- Obtain a temporary business license (requirements vary by state)
- If you plan on serving alcohol, obtain a temporary liquor license (requirements vary by state)
One way to avoid this is to make the event BYOB, which takes the pressure off of liquor licensing fees and wait times. It also encourages people to stay longer and relax more.
- Make sure your venture is covered by insurance, especially public liability insurance
- Implement a HACCP program
- You must have access to electricity and running water.
Popup dinner events may not last long but the trend itself will be around for years and years to come! Let us provide the space for your culinary dream to take place. This is just the beginning…