Ingredients for a successful pop-up restaurant

Nine ingredients for a successful pop-up restaurant
By Jordan Knox
June 13, 2011

From European to North American markets, we are seeing a new trend emerging in restaurants. Top chefs like Thomas Keller, Ludo Lefebvre, and Grant Achatz, just to name a few, are pioneering a new pop-up concept that is bound to hit the mainstream restaurant industry in the next couple of years.

Much like the tasting menus that are being embraced in most major metropolitan centres and are a focal point of most high end Las Vegas casinos, we are seeing the development of the same type of appeal for the pop-up restaurant. But how is a pop-up restaurant defined? What makes a pop-up restaurant different from every other restaurant down the block? And what is the appeal of the pop-up concept? To answer these questions, we have to first establish what ingredients are needed to create these unique dining experiences.

Ingredients for a pop-up restaurant


  1. The first and most important ingredient is a top quality chef, preferably someone that has a certain amount of name recognition.
  2. Almost as important as the chef, is the location. For a pop-up restaurant to work, you need a space that is funky, unique, and/or obscure – preferably all three.
  3. An edgy, yet knowledgeable staff is a major asset in ensuring the success of the pop-up restaurant since most of the marketing for this concept, if executed properly, is word of mouth.
  4. There must be an established “foodie culture” within the area that the restaurant is going to operate. This should provide a strong customer base to build from provided that the next ingredient is put together properly.

About the author:

Jordan Knox works at Northland Properties and is a General Manager in training at Moxie’s in Vancouver, B.C.  With over 18 years of experience in the food and beverage industry, Jordan has worked throughout North America and the Caribbean with industry-leading companies. He received his diploma in Hotel and Restaurant Management from SAIT Polytechnic in 2000 and is a lifelong student of the food and beverage industry, always looking for what new trends are emerging.

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