On Trend: Permanent Pop-Up Restaurants

The Wall Street Journal: “The excruciatingly high cost of real estate, plus rising minimum wages and the hard work of running a restaurant, have encouraged some chefs in big cities to change their end goal. They’re establishing permanent pop-ups—oxymoronic as it sounds—that are less expensive to run than a conventional restaurant and allow more flexibility and creativity.”

“Aburaya (San Francisco) sells Japanese fried chicken and izakaya plates for lunch Tuesday-Friday at one location, for dinner Wednesday-Saturday at another location and twice a month at a third location. Two other ventures, Tacos Oscar and Sup!, which serves Southeast Asian street food, each set up shop twice a month at a bar called Starline Social Club and pop up at other locations throughout the month.”

“The emerging business model works in several ways. A pop-up might pay a set fee to the restaurant to use the space and/or chip in for utilities, which helps make ends meet. Or the pop-up might attract new customers on a night when the restaurant is slow. One typical arrangement is that the pop-up takes home the money spent on food but the host keeps the money for alcoholic drinks … Permanent pop-ups also feed diners’ hunger for all things new.”


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