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How To Write a Business Plan for Pop Up Restaurant in 9 Steps: Checklist

By henry sheykin, resources on pop up restaurant.

  • Financial Model
  • Business Plan
  • Value Proposition
  • One-Page Business Plan
  • SWOT Analysis
  • Business Model
  • Marketing Plan

Welcome to our blog post on how to write a business plan for a pop-up restaurant in 9 simple steps! The concept of pop-up restaurants has been rapidly growing in popularity, offering a unique and exciting dining experience for customers. In fact, according to the National Restaurant Association, pop-up restaurants have seen a 6% growth in the past year alone, making it an enticing venture for aspiring restaurateurs.

To ensure the success of your pop-up restaurant, it is crucial to have a well-defined plan in place. In this article, we will guide you through the key steps you need to take, from defining your target market and conducting market research, to securing financing, selecting a suitable location, and building a strong marketing strategy.

  • Step 1: Define your target market and conduct market research
  • Step 2: Identify your competition and study their offerings
  • Step 3: Determine your unique selling proposition (USP)
  • Step 4: Create a detailed financial plan and budget
  • Step 5: Secure financing and funding for your pop-up restaurant
  • Step 6: Choose a suitable location and negotiate lease agreements
  • Step 7: Develop a menu and source high-quality ingredients and vendors
  • Step 8: Register your business and obtain necessary permits and licenses
  • Step 9: Build a marketing plan and promotional strategy

By following these steps and utilizing innovative and creative set up methods , your pop-up restaurant will stand out from the competition, providing customers with an exciting and fun dining environment.

So, are you ready to embark on the journey of creating your own pop-up restaurant? Let's dive into the details and craft a business plan that will make your venture a success!

Define Your Target Market And Conduct Market Research

Defining your target market is crucial for the success of your pop-up restaurant. It will help you understand who your ideal customers are and how to cater to their preferences and needs. Conducting market research is equally important as it provides valuable insights into the current market trends, customer behavior, and potential competitors.

Here are some key steps to help you define your target market and conduct effective market research:

Tips for Defining Your Target Market:

  • Identify the demographic characteristics of your potential customers, such as age, gender, income, and location.
  • Consider psychographic factors, such as interests, lifestyle, and preferences, to understand their motivations and buying behaviors.
  • Segment your target market into different groups based on their needs and preferences. This will help you tailor your offerings to specific customer segments.
  • Conduct surveys, interviews, or focus groups to gather insights directly from your target market. This will provide valuable feedback and help you refine your business concept.

Once you have a clear understanding of your target market, it's time to dive into market research. This involves gathering information about your industry, competitors, and customer preferences. Here's how you can conduct effective market research:

Tips for Conducting Market Research:

  • Research the current trends and demands in the local food industry. This will give you insights into popular cuisines, dining experiences, and customer preferences.
  • Identify and analyze your potential competitors. Visit their establishments, study their menus, and assess their strengths and weaknesses. This will help you differentiate your pop-up restaurant and create a unique selling proposition.
  • Utilize online resources, such as industry reports, surveys, and social media, to gather information about customer preferences, dining habits, and feedback.
  • Engage with your target market through online surveys or social media polls to gather direct feedback on their preferences and expectations from a pop-up restaurant.

Defining your target market and conducting thorough market research will lay a strong foundation for your pop-up restaurant business plan. It will guide your menu development, location selection, marketing strategies, and overall business decision-making process. Stay tuned for the next step: Identifying your competition and studying their offerings.

Identify Your Competition And Study Their Offerings

Understanding your competition is a crucial step in developing a successful business plan for your pop-up restaurant. By studying their offerings, you can gain valuable insights into the market and identify ways to differentiate your own concept.

Start by researching existing pop-up restaurants in your area or in cities with similar demographics. Visit their websites and social media pages to learn more about their menus, pricing, and overall dining experience. Take note of their unique selling points and the type of customers they attract.

Tip 1: Keep a record of your findings by creating a competitor analysis spreadsheet. Include key information such as the restaurant name, location, menu highlights, pricing, and customer reviews.

Next, visit these restaurants in person if possible. By experiencing their offerings firsthand, you can better understand the ambiance, service, and overall customer experience. Pay attention to the details that set them apart, such as their décor, presentation of dishes, and customer engagement.

Tip 2: Take notes and photos during your visits to help you recall specific elements that resonated with you or that could inspire your own pop-up concept.

Use your research to identify gaps or opportunities in the market. Look for areas where you can offer something unique or improve upon what your competitors are currently offering. This could be through a specific cuisine, a particular dining experience, or even a focus on sustainable practices.

Tip 3: Consider conducting a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) of your main competitors to gain a deeper understanding of how your pop-up restaurant can stand out.

Once you have studied your competitors' offerings and identified your unique selling proposition, you can start developing a comprehensive business plan that highlights how your pop-up restaurant will differentiate itself in the market.

Remember, studying your competition is not about copying their ideas, but rather about learning from them and using that knowledge to create a distinct and enticing dining experience for your target market.

Determine Your Unique Selling Proposition (Usp)

Determining your unique selling proposition (USP) is crucial to the success of your pop-up restaurant. Your USP is what sets you apart from your competition and makes you stand out in the crowded restaurant industry. It defines your brand and helps attract customers who are looking for something different and exciting.

Here are some important steps to help you determine your USP:

  • Analyze the market: Research your target market and understand their preferences, needs, and desires. Identify gaps or unsatisfied demands that you can fulfill with your pop-up restaurant concept.
  • Evaluate your competition: Study your competitors' offerings and identify their strengths and weaknesses. Identify areas where you can differentiate yourself and offer something unique.
  • Identify your strengths and expertise: Assess your own strengths, skills, and expertise. Determine how you can leverage these to create a unique and compelling dining experience.
  • Consider your location and theme: Take into account the locations you plan to set up your pop-up restaurant and the themes you intend to offer. Think about how these elements can contribute to your USP and set you apart.
  • Focus on a niche: Consider specializing in a particular cuisine, dietary preference, or dining experience. This can help you carve out a unique position in the market.
  • Emphasize your local and sustainable approach: Highlight your commitment to using locally sourced ingredients and supporting local producers. This can resonate with customers who value sustainability and supporting the community.
  • Create memorable experiences: Think beyond just food and focus on creating memorable dining experiences. Consider incorporating interactive elements, live entertainment, or unique themes to make your pop-up restaurant an unforgettable destination.

In conclusion, determining your unique selling proposition (USP) is a critical step in writing a business plan for your pop-up restaurant. It helps you differentiate yourself from the competition, attract your target market, and create a memorable dining experience that keeps customers coming back for more.

Create A Detailed Financial Plan And Budget

Creating a detailed financial plan and budget is crucial for the success of your pop-up restaurant. It will help you estimate the costs involved in setting up and running the business, as well as project your expected revenue and profit. Here are some important steps to consider:

  • Estimate startup costs: Calculate the expenses required to launch your pop-up restaurant, such as equipment purchases, renovations, permits, licenses, and initial inventory. Be as accurate as possible to avoid any surprises later on.
  • Project operating costs: Determine the ongoing expenses of running your pop-up restaurant, including rent, utilities, staff wages, food costs, marketing expenses, and any other overhead costs. Consider both fixed and variable costs.
  • Set pricing and revenue goals: Analyze your target market, competition, and menu offerings to determine appropriate pricing for your dishes. Based on your projected sales volume, set realistic revenue goals to align with your expenses and desired profit margin.
  • Consider contingency funds: It's wise to allocate a portion of your budget for unexpected expenses or unforeseen circumstances. This will help you handle any emergencies or cover any shortfalls.
  • Regularly review and update your finances: Keep track of your financial performance by regularly reviewing and updating your budget. This will help you identify areas where you can cut costs or increase revenue, and make informed decisions to optimize your profitability.
  • Consult with an accountant or financial advisor to ensure accuracy and efficiency in creating your financial plan.
  • Consider using budgeting software or tools to streamline the process and keep track of your expenses.
  • Keep your financial plan flexible, as the nature of a pop-up restaurant may require adjustments based on location availability, customer demand, and seasonality.

By creating a detailed financial plan and budget, you will have a clear understanding of the financial viability of your pop-up restaurant. This will not only help you secure financing but also guide your decision-making process to ensure the profitability and success of your business.

Secure Financing And Funding For Your Pop-Up Restaurant

Securing financing and funding for your pop-up restaurant is a crucial step in turning your business idea into a reality. Without sufficient capital, it can be challenging to cover the initial setup costs and ongoing expenses. Here are some essential steps to help you secure the necessary financing:

  • Research different funding options: Start by exploring various funding options available for small businesses, such as bank loans, government grants, crowdfunding campaigns, or partnerships with investors.
  • Create a comprehensive business plan: A well-written business plan that highlights the potential profitability and unique aspects of your pop-up restaurant can be a powerful tool to attract potential investors or lenders.
  • Prepare financial projections: Develop financial projections that demonstrate your expected revenue, expenses, and potential profitability over the next few years. This information will provide clarity to potential investors or lenders about the viability of your business.
  • Build relationships with potential investors or lenders: Network and build relationships with individuals or organizations interested in supporting restaurant ventures. Attend industry events, join relevant business organizations, and leverage your connections to find potential investors or lenders.
  • Present your case: Present a compelling pitch to potential investors or lenders, focusing on the unique selling points of your pop-up restaurant and the potential return on investment they can expect. Share your business plan, financial projections, and any market research or customer feedback that showcases the potential success of your venture.
  • Consider alternative financing options: If traditional funding sources are not available or sufficient, explore alternative financing options such as microloans, small business grants, or even personal savings. These options might have different eligibility criteria and terms, so thorough research is necessary.
  • Be prepared to negotiate: When seeking financing or funding, negotiate terms that are favorable for your business. Review all agreements and contracts carefully before signing.
  • Utilize online platforms: Consider using online crowdfunding platforms to attract funding from the public who share a passion for unique dining experiences.
  • Showcase your passion: Investors and lenders are more likely to support a business when they see the owner's dedication and enthusiasm. Clearly convey your passion for your pop-up restaurant and the vision you have for its success.

Choose A Suitable Location And Negotiate Lease Agreements

Choosing the right location for your pop-up restaurant is crucial to its success. Your target market and the type of experience you want to offer should guide your decision-making process. Look for areas with high foot traffic, such as popular shopping districts or event venues, as these can attract a larger customer base.

When considering potential locations, take into account the local regulations and zoning laws that may affect your operation. Ensure that the space is suitable for setting up a temporary restaurant and that it meets all necessary health and safety requirements.

Negotiating lease agreements for your pop-up restaurant is an important step to protect your interests and ensure a smooth operation. When entering into lease negotiations, consider the following:

  • Lease Terms: Clearly define the duration of the lease and any renewal options, as well as the agreed-upon rent amount and payment terms. It is important to establish a lease term that aligns with your business goals and allows for flexibility in case you need to explore new locations.
  • Lease Conditions: Detail any specific conditions surrounding the use of the space, such as restrictions on noise levels, hours of operation, and the ability to make necessary modifications to the premises.
  • Liability and Insurance: Discuss who will be responsible for insuring the space and any liability that may arise during the lease period. It is important to have appropriate insurance coverage to protect your business and its assets.
  • Exit Strategy: Prepare for the possibility of needing to exit the lease earlier than anticipated. Include provisions for early termination or contingencies in case of unforeseen circumstances.
  • Consider engaging the services of a real estate professional or lawyer experienced in commercial leases to help you navigate the negotiation process and protect your interests.
  • Research the reputation and track record of the landlord or property management company before entering into any lease agreements. A good landlord can make a significant difference in the success of your pop-up restaurant.
  • Keep an eye out for vacant spaces or unused properties that may be willing to lease on a short-term or temporary basis. This can provide cost savings and flexibility for your business.

Develop A Menu And Source High-Quality Ingredients And Vendors

Developing a menu for your pop-up restaurant is a crucial step in creating a unique dining experience for your customers. It is important to carefully curate a menu that reflects your concept, showcases local produce, and offers a variety of options to cater to different tastes and preferences.

Here are some important considerations when developing your menu:

  • Determine your concept: Consider the theme and style of your pop-up restaurant and design a menu that complements it. Whether you plan to serve a specific cuisine or offer a fusion of flavors, ensure that your menu aligns with your overall concept.
  • Research local ingredients: To create dishes that highlight local produce and goods, research and source high-quality ingredients from local farmers, artisans, and suppliers. This not only supports the local economy but also adds a unique touch to your menu.
  • Create a balanced menu: Offer a variety of options for appetizers, entrees, desserts, and beverages. Cater to different dietary restrictions and preferences, including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options, to attract a wider customer base.
  • Consider seasonality: Incorporating seasonal ingredients not only ensures freshness but also adds excitement to the menu. Create seasonal specials or limited-time offerings to keep customers intrigued and coming back for more.
  • Price your menu strategically: Determine the cost of ingredients and factor in other expenses such as labor and overhead to price your menu items accordingly. Strike a balance between offering value to customers and ensuring profitability for your pop-up restaurant.
  • Collaborate with local chefs or food enthusiasts: Partnering with talented chefs or food enthusiasts can bring creativity and expertise to your menu. Consider inviting guest chefs or hosting pop-up collaborations to offer exciting new flavors.
  • Establish relationships with reliable vendors: Building strong relationships with vendors who share your commitment to quality can ensure a consistent supply of high-quality ingredients. Regularly communicate with them to stay informed about new products and maintain a reliable supply chain.
  • Seek feedback from potential customers: Conduct taste tests or focus groups to gather feedback on your menu offerings. Use this feedback to refine your dishes and make necessary adjustments before launching your pop-up restaurant.

By developing a menu that reflects your concept and sourcing high-quality ingredients and vendors, you can create an enticing dining experience that keeps customers coming back for more. Remember to regularly evaluate and update your menu to keep it fresh and aligned with customer preferences.

Register Your Business And Obtain Necessary Permits And Licenses

In order to operate a pop-up restaurant, it is essential to register your business and obtain the necessary permits and licenses. This ensures that you are in compliance with local regulations and can legally operate your business.

Firstly, you will need to choose a business structure, such as a sole proprietorship, partnership, or limited liability company (LLC). Each structure has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to research and select the one that best suits your needs. You can consult with a lawyer or accountant to assist you in this process.

Once you have chosen a business structure, you will need to register your business with the appropriate government authorities. This typically involves filing the necessary paperwork and paying the required fees. The specific requirements may vary depending on your location, so it is important to check with your local government or chamber of commerce for guidance.

In addition to registering your business, you will also need to obtain the necessary permits and licenses to operate a pop-up restaurant. This may include permits for food handling and preparation, alcohol service (if applicable), and health and safety inspections. Again, the requirements will vary depending on your location, so it is important to do thorough research and adhere to all regulations.

Here are some important steps to consider when registering your business and obtaining permits and licenses:

Research local regulations:

Prepare necessary documentation:, submit applications and pay fees:, schedule inspections:, renew permits and licenses:.

By properly registering your business and obtaining the necessary permits and licenses, you can ensure that your pop-up restaurant operates within the boundaries of the law and meets all applicable health and safety standards. This will not only protect your business but also provide peace of mind to your customers.

Build A Marketing Plan And Promotional Strategy

Once you have defined your target market, developed your menu, and secured a location for your pop-up restaurant, it's time to focus on building a strong marketing plan and promotional strategy. Effective marketing will help you create awareness, attract customers, and build a loyal customer base for your business. Here are some important steps to consider:

  • Identify your marketing objectives: Begin by determining what specific goals you want to achieve through your marketing efforts. Whether it's increasing brand awareness, driving foot traffic, or boosting sales, setting clear objectives will help you stay focused and measure the success of your marketing campaigns.
  • Define your target audience: Understand who your ideal customers are and tailor your marketing messages accordingly. Consider factors such as demographics, preferences, and behaviors to create targeted campaigns that resonate with your audience and drive engagement.
  • Create a strong brand identity: Develop a unique and memorable brand image that reflects your pop-up restaurant's concept and values. Consistency in your brand's visual elements, tone of voice, and overall messaging will help establish trust and recognition among your target market.
  • Choose the right marketing channels: Determine the most effective channels to reach your target audience and allocate your resources accordingly. This could include online marketing through social media and search engine optimization, traditional advertising methods, collaborations with local influencers, or hosting exclusive events to generate buzz.
  • Track and analyze your results: Regularly monitor the success of your marketing efforts through tracking tools, website analytics, and customer feedback. Evaluate key metrics, such as website traffic, conversion rates, and customer reviews, to make data-driven decisions and optimize your marketing strategies as needed.

By following these steps and developing a comprehensive marketing plan and promotional strategy, you will be well-equipped to create buzz, attract customers, and establish a strong presence for your pop-up restaurant in the local dining scene.


Writing a business plan for a pop-up restaurant involves careful market research, financial planning, and a well-thought-out marketing strategy. By defining your target market, studying competition, and determining your unique selling proposition, you can create a concept that stands out in the industry. Additionally, securing financing, choosing a suitable location, and developing a menu with high-quality ingredients are essential steps to ensure success. Lastly, registering your business and obtaining necessary permits and licenses will ensure legal compliance. Overall, a thorough business plan and checklist are crucial to the successful launch and operation of a pop-up restaurant.

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What Is a Pop-up Restaurant—and How to Successfully Start One

Learn everything you need to know about pop-up restaurants. How they work. Why they're popular. And how to launch one successfully.

Mariel Alvarado

Pop-up restaurants have taken the culinary world by storm. While the concept of a "temporary restaurant" has been around since the 2000s, it was around 2015 that pop-up restaurants got on the map as an affordable alternative to breaking into the traditional brick and mortar restaurant industry. The pop-up restaurant concept soon became known for showcasing unique dining experiences.

Then the pandemic happened, and the pop-up restaurant concept became even more popular—by necessity. With shutdowns and reduced indoor seating limiting capacity (and profit margins), many operators turned to opening a pop-up restaurant. By embracing the pop-up concept, restaurants maintained their presence and provided unique dining experiences while adhering to safety guidelines.

Pop-ups proved to be a versatile and resilient strategy, offering customers a taste of their favorite establishments in a new way. And for their part, guests who were tired of eating at home, were thrilled to find a pop-up location near them.

Today, with different challenges to overcome in the food industry, pop-up restaurants have become more than just a trend. According to the 2023 State of the Restaurant Industry report from the National Restaurant Association, 64% of consumers say restaurants are an essential part of their lifestyle, even in our inflationary times. Operators have found that the pop-up restaurant business model can be a great way to meet the continued consumer demand, while also growing their brand. Even Netflix has opened a up restaurant in Los Angeles.

The key is to provide attractive concepts and food guests can't replicate at home. With lower overhead costs and shorter commitments, a pop-up restaurant can offer a lower-risk opportunity to experiment and adapt to changing circumstances, making them indispensable tools for survival and success in the ever-evolving restaurant industry landscape. But what exactly are they? And do pop-up restaurants make money? Let's dive in.

What is a pop-up restaurant?

A cook prepares a plate of burgers at a pop-up restaurant

A pop-up restaurant is a temporary dining establishment that emerges and disappears for a determined time, often in unexpected locations like rooftops, art galleries, retail stores, abandoned buildings, etc. Oftentimes, providing a one-of-a-kind culinary experience, pop-up restaurant operations attract both food enthusiasts and curious diners alike. Pop-up restaurants offer chefs and restaurateurs an opportunity to try out new menu ideas together, showcase their talents, and forge deeper connections with their guests.

How do pop-up restaurants make money?

Pop-up restaurants can generate profits in different ways, depending on their concept, permanent location, and target market. Some of the typical revenue streams include:

  • Ticketed events. At pop-ups, you can attend ticketed dining events by reserving tickets beforehand. These events feature multi-course meals, themed dinners, chef collaborations, or unique dining experiences. The ticket prices usually include the cost of the meal and additional services.
  • Menu sales. Pop-up restaurants offer a limited menu that focuses on signature dishes or specialties. Guests place orders and pay for their meals on-site, similar to a traditional restaurant.
  • Partnerships and collaborations. Running pop-up restaurant provides opportunities and flexibility to partner with other businesses, like breweries, wineries, or food vendors, to enhance their experience. These collaborations will result in shared profits or revenue-sharing agreements.
  • Catering and private events. Pop-ups can also provide catering services for private events, corporate functions, or parties. The menus are customized based on the client's preferences and charge a fee for the entire service.

Why open a pop-up restaurant?

Pop-up restaurants operate on a temporary or limited-time basis, which allows you to minimize costs associated with long-term leases and overhead expenses. Thanks to the exceptional flexibility that pop-ups offer restaurant owners, they enable the exploration of new restaurant concepts, menus, and business models.

By leveraging creativity, unique experiences, and strategic partnerships, pop-ups can generate revenue and create a sense of urgency and exclusivity in a temporary location that attracts potential guests. Plus, the upfront investment is generally lower than that of a stationary restaurant, rendering it more attainable for aspiring restaurateurs.

8 steps for starting successful pop-up restaurants

When planning your pop-up concept, take a similar approach as you would to opening a restaurant . Here are 8 steps to help ensure your success:

1. Come up with a pop-up restaurant concept

A well-developed concept with a distinct restaurant style is essential for a pop-up restaurant. It helps drive the pop-up's success and helps establish a memorable and standout presence. Your pop-up should offer diners something different and exciting.

To create a unique and unforgettable experience, your pop-up restaurant concept can be based on a specific cuisine, theme, collaboration, or culinary innovation that provides a fresh and enticing proposition. Researching current trends and local market demands ensures your concept aligns with your potential guests.

Also, make sure you have a clear goal in mind for your overall brand. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Is the pop-up an offshoot of an existing restaurant you operate, with a smaller, more focused menu? If so, how will the pop-up compliment your current concept and help you grow your brand?
  • Are you considering opening a ghost kitchen? If so, a pop-up restaurant could be a great way to get in front of customers for the first time, and an opportunity to teach them how to order takeout and delivery from you in the future through your online ordering system .
  • is the pop-up shop meant to primarily be a test kitchen or incubator for trying out new recipes and/or new chefs or cooks? If so, make sure to think through how you assess menu items and your pop up restaurant team.

2. Find the perfect pop-up restaurant location & equipment

Choose a location that is unique or goes with your pop-up restaurant concept. Think about art galleries, abandoned buildings, or private residences. Consider collaborating with existing restaurants and businesses or utilizing temporary venues. There are also often opportunities for temporary restaurants to rent space at an existing food hall or food court.

Whatever you decide, ensure that you have the space to accommodate your desired layout, guests, and kitchen equipment. As for equipment, prioritize functionality, mobility, and cost-effectiveness. Also, remember that the quality of the equipment you acquire will ensure smooth operations, efficiency, and the ability to deliver exceptional food.

Jimmys Lodge Snow Globe, a unique pop-up restaurant dining area in London, placed inside a glass globe

3. Create a pop-up restaurant business plan

Similarly to opening a traditional restaurant , having a roadmap is essential. Creating a business plan for opening a pop-up restaurant is essential for your success. It helps you define your goals, the type of guest you are planning to attract, the menu, marketing strategies, and financial projections.

To create one, start by researching the market, understanding your competition, and identifying your unique selling points. Develop a budget, outline your concept (that you already have designed), and create a marketing plan. This is necessary not only to have an organized process for start-up costs but a way also to effectively showcase your pop-up restaurant idea to stakeholders, banks, or investors.

A solid business plan provides direction, helps secure funding, and increases your chances of running a profitable pop-up by mapping out revenue and food and labor costs.

4. Get proper licenses and permits for pop-up restaurants

Getting proper licenses and permits for opening a pop-up restaurant is crucial to operate legally and avoiding potential penalties. This includes complying with health and safety regulations, alcohol licensing, zoning laws, etc.

Research the specific requirements for your location and concept so you can apply for the necessary permits. If necessary, reach out to your local government agencies, such as health departments and licensing boards, to help you understand the permits restaurant licenses that you need (these can include food, live entertainment, and even sign permits). Your local chamber of commerce or small business networking group can also be a great resource.

Have your documentation prepared, complete your applications, and pay any fees that are required. Working with the appropriate authorities and following the correct procedures will ensure a smooth operation for your pop-up restaurant.

5. Invest in the right tech

A restaurant worker types in an order on a handheld POS device at a pop-up restaurant

Investing in the right tech for pop-up restaurants is vital for operational efficiency and guest satisfaction. Because at the end of the day, your goal is to serve food—and make it easy for guests to pay. Here's a list of some tools that are currently available to help you run your pop-up:

  • Start by allowing your potential guests to find you easily online, reserve a spot at the table, or add themselves to a waitlist . If you have limited seating, you absolutely want to make securing a place as easy as possible with online reservations.
  • To avoid crowds and delays, you can allow your guests to order while they wait , making your service even faster and more efficient.
  • For a smooth payment experience, choose a user-friendly restaurant POS system that accepts various payment methods. Make sure that it integrates with handheld devices, offers cloud-based data storage, and provides real-time reporting, especially if you plan to make more informed business decisions for the future of your pop-up restaurant.
  • Finally, consider making your menu flexible and easily accessible through various formats like QR codes .

Embracing tech that enhances the guest experience and improves the restaurant costs and backend operations will set your pop-up restaurant up for success.

6. Plan your pop-up restaurant menu

Planning a menu for pop-up restaurants is important because it helps establish your brand, attract the right guests, and maximize profitability. The menu is not just a list of food items. It represents your pop-up's commitment to the guest experience.

Craft a well-balanced selection of dishes that can help showcase your concept, cater to your desired guests, and use cost-effective ingredients. Consider factors like seasonality, food trends, and the unique preferences of your guests. Use the market research you have from the business plan to identify your target audience, collaborate with talented chefs, and test your menu to ensure it delivers on flavors, presentation, and value.

If you already operate an existing restaurant or are considering expanding, engineering the menu is a great way to move forward. It requires analysis of data from your point-of-sale system and makes it easy to identify which menu items are actually making you a profit.

business plan pop up restaurant

Menu engineering worksheet

Download our free menu engineering worksheet and discover how to make your menu more profitable.

7. Create a marketing plan to generate buzz

To successfully launch a pop-up restaurant, it's important to create a marketing plan that will attract customers and generate buzz. Start by identifying the type of guest you are trying to reach out to and craft a marketing strategy that includes social media, email marketing , and local partnerships.

Before opening your pop-up restaurant, offer exclusive promotions and host pre-launch events to create anticipation. Once you have opened your doors, use eye-catching visuals, captivating descriptions, and customer testimonials to generate more buzz and keep your current guests engaged.

With an effective marketing plan and social media presence, you will drive foot traffic and build excitement for a successful pop-up restaurant experience.

8. Gather feedback and make changes accordingly

Seeking feedback after opening your pop-up restaurant is crucial for continuous improvement and customer satisfaction. It allows you to identify strengths, address weaknesses, and refine your offerings. Also, keeping in touch with your guests can help strengthen your relationships.

Encourage guests to provide feedback on their favorite review sites, then utilize review management software to make it quick and easy to monitor reviews. This will enable you to listen actively to guest input, show appreciation, and take constructive criticism to heart. Use this feedback to make necessary adjustments, enhance the customer experience, and build a loyal customer base. By implementing changes based on guest preferences and experiences, you can ensure they will follow you wherever you and your pop-up go.

As with any other new restaurant concept, opening a pop-up restaurant can be a challenge, for both new and established restaurant owners. But with the ongoing popularity of these temporary restaurants, along with much lower operating costs, they can be a great way to launch a new concept or generate additional revenue for your existing restaurant.

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Pop-Up Restaurant

Back to All Business Ideas

How to Start a Pop-Up Restaurant

Written by: Carolyn Young

Carolyn Young is a business writer who focuses on entrepreneurial concepts and the business formation. She has over 25 years of experience in business roles, and has authored several entrepreneurship textbooks.

Edited by: David Lepeska

David has been writing and learning about business, finance and globalization for a quarter-century, starting with a small New York consulting firm in the 1990s.

Published on April 13, 2023 Updated on May 7, 2024

How to Start a Pop-Up Restaurant

Investment range

$7,400 - $31,500

Revenue potential

$150,000 - $520,000 p.a.

Time to build

1 – 3 months

Profit potential

$45,000 - $156,000 p.a.

Industry trend

Pop-up restaurants have popped up big time, often used by new chefs to generate interest and build their brand. The trend has taken hold in cities like New York City and San Francisco, where younger eaters line up for these temporary establishments. 

But a pop-up restaurant doesn’t have to be just a brand builder – you could actually start a business using the pop-up concept. If you’re an aspiring chef, it’s a great way to get into the $200 billion restaurant industry for less money than a brick-and-mortar establishment.

But before you hit the kitchen, you’ll need some business savvy. Luckily, this step-by-step guide has all the business insights you need to start popping up a profit. 

Looking to register your business? A limited liability company (LLC) is the best legal structure for new businesses because it is fast and simple.

Form your business immediately using ZenBusiness LLC formation service or hire one of the Best LLC Services .

Step 1: Decide if the Business Is Right for You

Pros and cons.

  • Get in on a growing trend
  • Showcase your food and have fun
  • Relatively low startup costs
  • Profit margins can be slim
  • Can be difficult to find suitable locations
  • Hard to find and retain staff

Pop-Up Industry Trends

Industry size and growth.

Pop-Up Restaurant industry size and growth

While there are no industry statistics for pop-up restaurants, they fall under the single location full-service restaurant category.

  • Industry size and past growth – The U.S. single location full-service restaurant industry is worth $209 billion in 2023 after expanding .4% annually the last five years.(( ))
  • Growth forecast – The U.S. single location full-service restaurant industry is projected to expand 1.1% in 2023.
  • Number of businesses – In 2023, 177,308 single location full-service restaurants are operating in the U.S. 
  • Number of people employed – In 2023, the U.S. single location full-service restaurant industry employs 3,566,586 people. 

Trends and challenges

Pop-Up Restaurant Trends and Challenges

  • Pop-up restaurants are marketing themselves as dining experiences, rather than marketing the food itself.
  • Many pop-up restaurants partner with existing establishments to use their kitchen and dining spaces. These partners are often diners that only serve breakfast and lunch, so the space is available for evening dinners. Other options include coffee shops or supper clubs. 
  • It can be difficult to hire staff for a pop-up restaurant since work hours will be sporadic.
  • Rising food prices may make it more difficult to achieve profit margin goals. 

Consumer spending

Pop-Up Restaurant consumer spending

  • Average consumer spend – The average person in the U.S. spends $2,375 per year dining out.(( ))
  • Potential customer base –   23.9% of US adults dine out at least once per week. (( ))

Demand hotspots

Pop-Up Restaurant demand hotspots

  • Most popular states – The most popular states for chefs are Nevada, Texas, and New Jersey. (( ))
  • Least popular states – The least popular states for chefs are South Dakota, Iowa, and Michigan.

What kind of people work in pop-up restaurants?

Pop-Up Restaurant industry demographics

  • Gender – 25% of chefs are female, while 75% are male. (( ))
  • Average level of education – The average chef has an associate’s degree.
  • Average age – The average chef in the US is 42 years old.

How much does it cost to start a pop-up restaurant business?

You’ve got two options when starting a pop-up restaurant. You can partner with existing restaurants to use their space when they’re closed, which means you won’t have to invest in equipment. In that case, startup costs will be about $7,500, most of which is for an initial operating budget to pay for the space and to pay your staff.

The other option is to purchase portable kitchen equipment and put your pop-up restaurant in any space that meets health and safety standards. This might cost $30,000.

You’ll need a handful of items to successfully launch your pop-up restaurant business if you opt to buy kitchen equipment, including: 

  • Portable stove top
  • Cutting tables
  • Truck to transport equipment

How much can you earn from a pop-up restaurant business?

Pop-Up Restaurant earning forecast

Most pop-up restaurants offer a limited, prix fixe menu and charge a flat fee. If you’re serving higher end food, you could probably charge about $100 per person. Your profit margin after food, the space, and staff costs, should be about 30%.

In your first year or two, you might open your pop-up restaurant 15 times per year and serve 100 people each time, bringing in $150,000 in revenue. This would mean $45,000 in profit, assuming that 30% margin. 

As you gain traction, you might open your pop-up once per week. With annual revenue of $520,000, you’d make a tidy profit of $156,000.

What barriers to entry are there?

There are a few barriers to entry for a pop-up restaurant. Your biggest challenges will be:

  • Funding the startup costs, particularly if you purchase equipment
  • Finding staff 

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Step 2: hone your idea.

Now that you know what’s involved in starting a pop-up restaurant, it’s a good idea to hone your concept in preparation to enter a competitive market. 

Market research could give you the upper hand even if you’ve got the perfect product. Conducting robust market research is crucial, as it will help you better understand your customers, your competitors, and the broader business landscape.

Analyze your competitors 

Research pop-up restaurants in your area to examine their menus, price points, and customer reviews.

  • Make a list of pop-up restaurants that offer similar products. 
  • Review your competitors’ menus – their features, pricing, and quality – and marketing strategies
  • Check out their online reviews and ratings on Google, Yelp, and Facebook to get an idea of what their customers like and dislike.
  • Identify your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses. 

This should identify areas where you can strengthen your business and gain a competitive edge to make better business decisions.

Why? Identify an opportunity

You’re looking for a market gap to fill. For instance, maybe the local market is missing a French fine dining pop-up, or a steakhouse pop-up.

business plan pop up restaurant

You might consider targeting a niche, such as fine dining or casual American dining.

This could jumpstart your word-of-mouth marketing and attract clients right away. 

What? Determine your products or services

Your main product is your food. You could also serve alcohol, but you’d probably need a temporary liquor license. As mentioned, it’s most common to offer a prix fixe menu, so you’ll have to select what dishes to offer. 

How much should you charge at your pop-up restaurant?

Since people are paying for a prix fixe menu and the culinary experience, if you’re offering fine dining you should be able to charge $100 to $150 per person. After your costs of the space, food, and staffing, you should aim for a profit margin of about 30%.

Once you know your costs, use this Step By Step profit margin calculator to determine your mark-up and final price points. Remember, the prices you use at launch should be subject to change if warranted by the market.

Who? Identify your target market

Your target market will depend on the location where you’re popping up. If you’re in a more affluent area, you’ll likely find your target customers on Instagram or Facebook. If you’re aiming for a younger, trendy area, you’ll want to add TikTok to the mix.

Social media is going to be the main way that you’ll notify people of your pop-up, so be prepared to aggressively promote your restaurant each time you open. 

Where? Choose your pop-up restaurant location

When choosing a commercial space, you may want to follow these suggestions:

  • Target Audience : Choose a location frequented by your intended customers like young professionals, families, or tourists.
  • Foot Traffic : Select areas with high foot traffic, such as near shopping centers or tourist spots, and avoid isolated locations.
  • Competition Analysis : Look for areas with few competitors and where complementary businesses exist.
  • Accessibility : Ensure easy access via public transport or ample parking, and consider disability access.
  • Budget : Keep in mind rental costs and consider more affordable areas or shared spaces to minimize expenses.
  • Regulations and Permits : Comply with local zoning, health regulations, and acquire necessary permits.
  • Infrastructure Needs : Check for essential utilities and necessary kitchen space or equipment.
  • Visibility and Branding : Choose a visible location that supports your branding and allows for effective signage.

You can find commercial space to rent in your area on sites such as Craigslist , Crexi , and Instant Offices .

Pop-Up Restaurant idea rating

Step 3: Brainstorm a Pop-Up Restaurant Name

Here are some ideas for brainstorming your business name:

  • Short, unique, and catchy names tend to stand out
  • Names that are easy to say and spell tend to do better 
  • Name should be relevant to your product or service offerings
  • Ask around — family, friends, colleagues, social media — for suggestions
  • Including keywords, such as “pop-up restaurant” or “pop-up fine dining”, boosts SEO
  • Name should allow for expansion, for ex: “Culinary Fusion Pop-Up” over “Seafood Delights Pop-Up”
  • A location-based name can help establish a strong connection with your local community and help with the SEO but might hinder future expansion

Once you’ve got a list of potential names, visit the website of the US Patent and Trademark Office to make sure they are available for registration and check the availability of related domain names using our Domain Name Search tool. Using “.com” or “.org” sharply increases credibility, so it’s best to focus on these. 

Find a Domain

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Finally, make your choice among the names that pass this screening and go ahead and reserve your business name with your state, start the trademark registration process, and complete your domain registration and social media account creation. 

Your business name is one of the key differentiators that sets your business apart. Once you pick a name, reserve it and start with the branding, it’s hard to switch to a new name. So be sure to carefully consider your choice before moving forward. 

Step 4: Create a Pop-Up Restaurant Business Plan

Here are the key components of a business plan:

what to include in a business plan

  • Executive Summary: Summarize your pop-up restaurant business plan, highlighting your concept and goals.
  • Business Overview: Explain your pop-up restaurant concept, its location, and the type of cuisine or experience you’ll offer.
  • Product and Services: Detail the menu items and dining experience you’ll provide, including any unique features or offerings.
  • Market Analysis: Analyze the local restaurant market, identifying customer preferences and trends to support your concept.
  • Competitive Analysis: Identify existing restaurants in your area, highlighting their strengths and weaknesses and explaining how your pop-up will stand out.
  • Sales and Marketing: Outline your strategies for attracting customers, including social media, partnerships, and event promotion.
  • Management Team: Introduce key team members involved in your pop-up restaurant, emphasizing their culinary expertise and experience.
  • Operations Plan: Describe the logistics of running your pop-up, including sourcing ingredients, setting up at events or locations, and managing staff.
  • Financial Plan: Present financial projections, including startup costs, revenue forecasts, and profit margins for your pop-up restaurant.
  • Appendix: Include additional materials, such as sample menus, event schedules, or testimonials from satisfied customers, to support your pop-up restaurant business plan.

If you’ve never created a business plan, it can be an intimidating task. You might consider hiring a business plan specialist to create a top-notch business plan for you.

Step 5: Register Your Business

Registering your business is an absolutely crucial step — it’s the prerequisite to paying taxes, raising capital, opening a bank account, and other guideposts on the road to getting a business up and running.

Plus, registration is exciting because it makes the entire process official. Once it’s complete, you’ll have your own business! 

Choose where to register your company

Your business location is important because it can affect taxes, legal requirements, and revenue. Most people will register their business in the state where they live, but if you are planning to expand, you might consider looking elsewhere, as some states could offer real advantages when it comes to pop-up restaurants. 

If you’re willing to move, you could really maximize your business! Keep in mind, it’s relatively easy to transfer your business to another state. 

Choose your business structure

Business entities come in several varieties, each with its pros and cons. The legal structure you choose for your pop-up restaurant will shape your taxes, personal liability, and business registration requirements, so choose wisely. 

Here are the main options:

types of business structures

  • Sole Proprietorship – The most common structure for small businesses makes no legal distinction between company and owner. All income goes to the owner, who’s also liable for any debts, losses, or liabilities incurred by the business. The owner pays taxes on business income on his or her personal tax return.
  • General Partnership – Similar to a sole proprietorship, but for two or more people. Again, owners keep the profits and are liable for losses. The partners pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.
  • Limited Liability Company ( LLC ) – Combines the characteristics of corporations with those of sole proprietorships or partnerships. Again, the owners are not personally liable for debts.   Here’s how to form an LLC .
  • C Corp – Under this structure, the business is a distinct legal entity and the owner or owners are not personally liable for its debts. Owners take profits through shareholder dividends, rather than directly. The corporation pays taxes, and owners pay taxes on their dividends, which is sometimes referred to as double taxation. Read how to start a corporation here .
  • S Corp – An S-Corporation refers to the tax classification of the business but is not a business entity. An S-Corp can be either a corporation or an LLC , which just need to elect to be an S-Corp for tax status. In an S-Corp, income is passed through directly to shareholders, who pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.

We recommend that new business owners choose LLC as it offers liability protection and pass-through taxation while being simpler to form than a corporation. You can form an LLC in as little as five minutes using an online LLC formation service. They will check that your business name is available before filing, submit your articles of organization , and answer any questions you might have. 

Form Your LLC

Choose Your State

We recommend ZenBusiness as the Best LLC Service for 2024

business plan pop up restaurant

Step 6: Register for Taxes

The final step before you’re able to pay taxes is getting an Employer Identification Number , or EIN. You can file for your EIN online or by mail or fax: visit the IRS website to learn more. Keep in mind, if you’ve chosen to be a sole proprietorship you can simply use your social security number as your EIN. 

Once you have your EIN, you’ll need to choose your tax year. Financially speaking, your business will operate in a calendar year (January–December) or a fiscal year, a 12-month period that can start in any month. This will determine your tax cycle, while your business structure will determine which taxes you’ll pay.

business plan pop up restaurant

The IRS website also offers a tax-payers checklist , and taxes can be filed online.

It is important to consult an accountant or other professional to help you with your taxes to ensure you are completing them correctly.

Step 7: Fund your Business

Securing financing is your next step and there are plenty of ways to raise capital:

types of business financing

  • Bank loans: This is the most common method but getting approved requires a rock-solid business plan and strong credit history.
  • SBA-guaranteed loans: The Small Business Administration can act as guarantor, helping gain that elusive bank approval via an SBA-guaranteed loan .
  • Government grants: A handful of financial assistance programs help fund entrepreneurs. Visit to learn which might work for you.
  • Friends and Family: Reach out to friends and family to provide a business loan or investment in your concept. It’s a good idea to have legal advice when doing so because SEC regulations apply.
  • Crowdfunding: Websites like  Kickstarter  and  Indiegogo  offer an increasingly popular low-risk option, in which donors fund your vision. Entrepreneurial crowdfunding sites like  Fundable  and  WeFunder  enable multiple investors to fund your business.
  • Personal: Self-fund your business via your savings or the sale of property or other assets.

Bank and SBA loans are probably the best option, other than friends and family, for funding a pop-up restaurant business. You might also try crowdfunding if you have an innovative concept and menu. 

Step 8: Apply for Pop-up Restaurant Business Licenses and Permits

Starting a pop-up restaurant business requires obtaining a number of licenses and permits from local, state, and federal governments.

Federal regulations, licenses, and permits associated with starting your business include doing business as (DBA), health licenses and permits from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration ( OSHA ), trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other intellectual properties, as well as industry-specific licenses and permits. 

Food service and health permit requirements will vary depending on where you open your restaurant, so check with your state and locality. You also will likely need liquor licenses if you serve alcohol. 

You may also need state-level and local county or city-based licenses and permits. The license requirements and how to obtain them vary, so check the websites of your state, city, and county governments or contact the appropriate person to learn more. 

You could also check this SBA guide for your state’s requirements, but we recommend using MyCorporation’s Business License Compliance Package . They will research the exact forms you need for your business and state and provide them to ensure you’re fully compliant.

This is not a step to be taken lightly, as failing to comply with legal requirements can result in hefty penalties.

If you feel overwhelmed by this step or don’t know how to begin, it might be a good idea to hire a professional to help you check all the legal boxes.

Step 9: Open a Business Bank Account

Before you start making money, you’ll need a place to keep it, and that requires opening a bank account .

Keeping your business finances separate from your personal account makes it easy to file taxes and track your company’s income, so it’s worth doing even if you’re running your pop-up restaurant business as a sole proprietorship. Opening a business bank account is quite simple, and similar to opening a personal one. Most major banks offer accounts tailored for businesses — just inquire at your preferred bank to learn about their rates and features.

Banks vary in terms of offerings, so it’s a good idea to examine your options and select the best plan for you. Once you choose your bank, bring in your EIN (or Social Security Number if you decide on a sole proprietorship), articles of incorporation, and other legal documents and open your new account. 

Step 10: Get Business Insurance

Business insurance is an area that often gets overlooked, yet it can be vital to your success as an entrepreneur. Insurance protects you from unexpected events that can have a devastating impact on your business.

Here are some types of insurance to consider:

types of business insurance

  • General liability: The most comprehensive type of insurance, acting as a catch-all for many business elements that require coverage. If you get just one kind of insurance, this is it. It even protects against bodily injury and property damage.
  • Business Property: Provides coverage for your equipment and supplies.
  • Equipment Breakdown Insurance: Covers the cost of replacing or repairing equipment that has broken due to mechanical issues.
  • Worker’s compensation: Provides compensation to employees injured on the job.
  • Property: Covers your physical space, whether it is a cart, storefront, or office.
  • Commercial auto: Protection for your company-owned vehicle.
  • Professional liability: Protects against claims from a client who says they suffered a loss due to an error or omission in your work.
  • Business owner’s policy (BOP): This is an insurance plan that acts as an all-in-one insurance policy, a combination of the above insurance types.

Step 11: Prepare to Launch

As opening day nears, prepare for launch by reviewing and improving some key elements of your business. 

Essential software and tools

Being an entrepreneur often means wearing many hats, from marketing to sales to accounting, which can be overwhelming. Fortunately, many websites and digital tools are available to help simplify many business tasks.  

You may want to use industry-specific software, such as  Restaurant 365 or RSVP , to manage your bookings, food inventory, recipe costing, and reporting. 

  • Popular web-based accounting programs for smaller businesses include Quickbooks , Freshbooks , and Xero . 
  • If you’re unfamiliar with basic accounting, you may want to hire a professional, especially as you begin. The consequences for filing incorrect tax documents can be harsh, so accuracy is crucial.

Create a website

Website development is crucial because your site is your online presence and needs to convince prospective clients of your expertise and professionalism. You can create your own website using services like WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace . This route is very affordable, but figuring out how to build a website can be time-consuming. If you lack tech-savvy, you can hire a web designer or developer to create a custom website for your business.

Your customers are unlikely to find your website, however, unless you follow Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices. SEO will help your website appear closer to the top in relevant search results, a crucial element for increasing sales. 

Make sure that you optimize calls to action on your website. Experiment with text, color, size, and position of calls to action such as “Book Table Now”.  This can sharply increase purchases. 

Here are some powerful marketing strategies for your future business:

  • Social Media Teasers: Leverage the power of social media platforms to create anticipation by posting tantalizing sneak peeks of your menu, behind-the-scenes preparations, and countdowns to your pop-up event.
  • Collaborate with Influencers: Partner with local influencers or food bloggers who align with your brand to create a buzz. Their reviews and endorsements can significantly impact potential customers’ perceptions.
  • Limited-Time Offers: Create a sense of urgency by promoting exclusive, time-sensitive offers or discounts for the first customers, encouraging them to try your pop-up on opening day.
  • Engaging Email Campaigns: Build an email list through promotions or contests and keep your audience engaged with regular updates, special offers, and exclusive content leading up to the pop-up event.
  • Themed Events and Promotions: Add excitement by incorporating themes into your pop-up events, such as seasonal menus, holiday specials, or unique dining experiences, to attract a diverse audience.
  • Flash Sales and Pre-Orders: Implement flash sales or pre-order options for your menu items, allowing customers to secure their spot and generating revenue before the pop-up event even begins.
  • Local Partnerships: Collaborate with local businesses, such as nearby shops or breweries, to cross-promote each other and tap into each other’s customer base.
  • Loyalty Programs: Create a loyalty program offering incentives for repeat customers, encouraging them to return for subsequent pop-up events and helping to build a loyal customer base.
  • Interactive Marketing: Engage potential customers with interactive marketing, such as live cooking demonstrations, tastings, or contests, both online and at the physical location, to create a memorable experience.

Focus on USPs

unique selling proposition

Unique selling propositions, or USPs, are the characteristics of a product or service that sets it apart from the competition. Customers today are inundated with buying options, so you’ll have a real advantage if they are able to quickly grasp how your pop-up restaurant meets their needs or wishes. It’s wise to do all you can to ensure your USPs stand out on your website and in your marketing and promotional materials, stimulating buyer desire. 

Global pizza chain Domino’s is renowned for its USP: “Hot pizza in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed.” Signature USPs for your pop-up restaurant business could be:

  • The hottest restaurant in town! 
  • The finest culinary experience of your life.
  • French cuisine you’ll never forget.

You may not like to network or use personal connections for business gain. But your personal and professional networks likely offer considerable untapped business potential. Maybe that Facebook friend you met in college is now running a pop-up restaurant business, or a LinkedIn contact of yours is connected to dozens of potential clients. Maybe your cousin or neighbor has been working in pop-up restaurants for years and can offer invaluable insight and industry connections. 

The possibilities are endless, so it’s a good idea to review your personal and professional networks and reach out to those with possible links to or interest in pop-up restaurants. You’ll probably generate new customers or find companies with which you could establish a partnership. 

Step 12: Build Your Team

If you’re starting out small from a home office, you may not need any employees. But as your business grows, you will likely need workers to fill various roles. Potential positions for a pop-up restaurant business include:

  • Servers – serve meals
  • Bartenders – make and serve drinks
  • Waitstaff – take orders, customer service
  • Sous Chefs – assist with food preparation

At some point, you may need to hire all of these positions or simply a few, depending on the size and needs of your business. You might also hire multiple workers for a single role or a single worker for multiple roles, again depending on need. 

Free-of-charge methods to recruit employees include posting ads on popular platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or You might also consider a premium recruitment option, such as advertising on Indeed , Glassdoor , or ZipRecruiter . Further, if you have the resources, you could consider hiring a recruitment agency to help you find talent. 

Step 13: Run a Pop-up Restaurant – Start Making Money!

Pop-up restaurants are all the rage, offering unique culinary experiences to the hip and trendy. It’s a great way for an aspiring chef to get into the food game, build a name and save up to open brick-and-mortar restaurant. 

Now that you’ve got some business knowledge under your belt, it’s time to pull out your culinary drawing board and become a successful pop-up restauranteur!

  • Pop-up Business FAQs

A pop-up restaurant can be profitable, but it generally requires that you have a prix fixe menu. That means that you offer a limited menu and charge a flat price per customer.

pop-up restaurants have limited growth potential because they are generally dependent on the skills of the chef who starts them.

It would be challenging to start a pop-up restaurant on the side because it would be difficult to find staff willing to work only occasionally. It’s better to make a full-time commitment.

To make your home a pop-up restaurant, you’ll likely need various health and food service permits, as well as a zoning permit. You’ll also be limited by your space in terms of how many customers you can serve at a time.

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  • Decide if the Business Is Right for You
  • Hone Your Idea
  • Brainstorm a Pop-Up Restaurant Name
  • Create a Pop-Up Restaurant Business Plan
  • Register Your Business
  • Register for Taxes
  • Fund your Business
  • Apply for Pop-up Restaurant Business Licenses and Permits
  • Open a Business Bank Account
  • Get Business Insurance
  • Prepare to Launch
  • Build Your Team
  • Run a Pop-up Restaurant - Start Making Money!

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></center></p><h2>How to Start a Pop-Up Restaurant in 10 Steps</h2><ul><li>By Tam Nguyen</li></ul><p><center><img style=

Table of Contents

Navigating the restaurant industry can often feel like a daunting challenge, teeming with high start-up costs and fierce competition. However, one innovative solution has emerged, offering an alternative pathway to culinary entrepreneurship: the pop-up restaurant. Whether you’re an ambitious chef or a budding restaurateur, deciding to open a successful pop-up restaurant could be the smart and strategic choice you need to make a memorable mark on the food scene. This not only allows you to test your culinary prowess in real-time but also provides you with valuable industry insights without the long-term commitment. So, are you ready to dive into this venture? Let’s embark on the journey and learn how to start a pop-up restaurant.

What Is a Pop Up Restaurant? 

A pop-up restaurant is an exciting business venture in the culinary world that captures the essence of transient creativity. If you’re looking to take a deep dive into the restaurant business without the constraints of a traditional setup, a pop-up restaurant could be the perfect fit for you.

Defined by its temporary existence, a pop-up restaurant can be set up in any location – a park, a rooftop, an existing restaurant, or even a vacant warehouse. The concept offers a unique way of serving food and engaging with a customer base, primarily driven by the element of surprise and the allure of limited availability. Many chefs and restaurateurs are increasingly drawn to this innovative model, embracing the flexibility and creative freedom it offers.

A key feature of a pop-up restaurant is its transience. These establishments operate for a certain period – a few days, weeks, or even months. The length of time depends on how long you plan to serve your menu and interact with your audience. Depending on the length of your pop-up operation, the resources and permits you’ll need will depend significantly. For example, if your pop-up plans to operate longer than one month, you might need more permits and a sustained marketing strategy compared to a weekend pop-up

Advantages and Disadvantages of Starting a Pop-Up Restaurant

Starting a pop-up restaurant presents both an exciting opportunity and a significant challenge for  chefs and restaurateurs. Understanding these can guide aspiring restaurateurs in making informed decisions when planning their pop-up ventures.

Advantages of a Pop-Up Restaurant

Test the Waters of the Restaurant Industry

One of the main benefits of deciding to open a pop-up restaurant is the way to test a restaurant concept without the financial burden that comes with establishing a full-fledged brick-and-mortar restaurant . Pop-ups allow you to gauge customer response to your food, service, and overall concept, providing valuable insights that can shape your future restaurant plans.

Flexibility and Mobility

Pop-up restaurants offer incredible flexibility. Since they’re temporary, you can experiment with different restaurant locations without long-term lease commitments. This mobility also allows restaurant owners to take their brand on the road, traveling from city to city, thereby broadening their customer base and building their culinary reputation.

Lower Startup Costs:  The cost to start a pop up restaurant is significantly less than that of the cost of starting traditional brick-and-mortar restaurant . 

Disadvantages of a Pop-Up Restaurant

Short-Term Customer Base

While a pop-up restaurant can generate buzz and attract a steady stream of diners, maintaining a loyal customer base can be a challenge. Since you’re operating from a temporary location, your regulars may vary drastically from one spot to another. This differs from a traditional brick-and-mortar restaurant where a consistent location can foster a regular clientele.

Regulatory and Permit Challenges

The space you’ve chosen for your pop-up restaurant must comply with health and safety regulations, which can vary from one location to another. You’ll also need to secure necessary permits and licenses, and this process can be complex and time-consuming.

Limited Time to Establish a Brand Identity

With a pop-up restaurant, you have a limited window of time to create a compelling brand identity and make a memorable impression. This is quite different from a regular restaurant where brand building can take place over a more extended period.

The 10 Steps To Start A Pop-Up Restaurant

Opening a pop-up restaurant is an exciting adventure filled with unique opportunities for creativity, innovation, and culinary exploration. Whether you are an experienced chef or a passionate foodie, these ten steps will guide you to successfully open a pop-up restaurant.

Step 1. Research Your Pop-Up Restaurant Market

Identify Your Competitors

Before establishing your pop-up, it’s crucial to understand your competition. Examine other restaurants around town, including both permanent restaurants and other pop-ups. What kind of food do they serve? How are their prices? How does the audience react? Use this information to shape your pop-up and make it stand out.

Evaluating Current Market Trends and Consumer Preferences

Keeping a pulse on the latest food trends and understanding consumer preferences is essential. Are locally sourced, organic ingredients all the rage? Is there a growing interest in vegan cuisine? Knowing these trends will help you design a pop-up restaurant that will attract a crowd.

Step 2. Choose Some Pop-Up Restaurant Themes and Names

Identify Your Unique Selling Proposition

Every successful pop-up has a unique selling proposition (USP) that differentiates it from competitors. Your USP could be a unique food concept, exceptional service , a quirky location, or a new and exciting menu. Determine what makes your pop-up special and capitalize on it.

Choose Your Pop Up Restaurant Theme

Choosing a compelling theme can contribute significantly to your pop-up’s marketability. The theme could be tied to a type of cuisine, a specific culture, or even a unique dining experience.

Choose a Name and Logo

Your pop-up restaurant’s name and logo should resonate with your theme and brand identity. They should be catchy, memorable, and reflective of the experience diners can expect.

Step 3. Create a Pop-Up Restaurant Business Plan

Components of a Pop Up Restaurant Business Plan

Creating a comprehensive business plan is a critical step in establishing any restaurant. The components of a pop up restaurant business plan typically include:

  • Executive Summary:  This is the snapshot of your business that explains what you do and why it will be successful.
  • Company Description:  Here, you provide detailed information about your pop up restaurant, including the unique aspects that will make it successful.
  • Market Analysis:  This section includes the results of your market research, competitor analysis, and target customer profiling.
  • Organization and Management:  Outline your business structure, the team, and how your business will operate.
  • Service or Product Line:  Describe what you’re selling or what service you’re providing.
  • Marketing and Sales:  Discuss how you’ll attract and retain customers.
  • Financial Projections:  Provide a forecast of your business’s financial future.

Setting Your Business Objectives

Determine your business objectives. Are you opening a pop-up restaurant to test a new concept, gain publicity, or launch a new menu? Clearly defined objectives will shape your operational and marketing strategies.

Mapping Out Your Marketing And Operational Strategies

A detailed plan outlining your marketing and operational strategies will serve as a roadmap for your pop-up. This includes everything from logistics to promotions. Leverage social media and local influencers for free marketing, create an event page, and collaborate with other businesses for cross-promotion.

Step 4. Plan Your Pop-Up Restaurant Startup Costs

Breakdown of Key Pop Up Restaurant Startup Costs

The startup costs for a pop-up restaurant are usually much lower than a full restaurant. Still, it’s important to accurately estimate these costs to avoid any potential financial pitfalls. Key costs can include rent for the space, equipment, permits and licenses, ingredients, marketing, and staffing. Make sure to consider hidden costs such as insurance and utility bills.

Step 5. Raise Funds For Your Pop-Up Restaurants

Here are a few funding options that could help get your pop-up off the ground:

Community Sponsors : Look to local businesses or organizations that may be interested in sponsoring your venture. Sponsors can not only provide financial support, but can also offer in-kind donations or help spread the word about your pop-up restaurant.

Personal Investors : Reach out to people who go to pop-up restaurants regularly, friends, family, and food enthusiasts who may be willing to invest in your venture. Remember, they’re not just investing in a business, but also in you and your unique culinary vision.

Crowdfunding : Platforms like Kickstarter or GoFundMe can help raise funds for your project. With a compelling story, innovative idea, and enticing rewards for backers, you can attract a community of supporters that goes beyond just monetary contributions.

Small Business Administration Microloans : In the United States, the Small Business Administration offers microloans up to $50,000. These loans can be used for all start-up costs associated with your pop-up.

Equipment Loans and Financing Programs : Certain companies offer financing programs for purchasing restaurant equipment. This can ease upfront costs and help you turn a profit more quickly.

Remember, every funding avenue you choose should align with your business plan and financial needs. It’s essential to figure out how much you need, how quickly you need it, and the best way to get it, to successfully launch your pop-up restaurant.

Step 6. Set Up a Mobile Kitchen or Temporary Dining Room

Once you’ve gathered your funds, it’s time to build the physical space of your pop-up restaurant. This will either be a mobile kitchen or a temporary dining room. When you choose a location and setting up, consider the type of experience you want to offer your diners and the specific equipment you need.

The kitchen must be well equipped and efficient, ensuring your staff can deliver on your menu promises. Your dining space should reflect the theme of your pop-up, creating a unique and inviting ambiance.

For a mobile setup, you may choose to use a commissary kitchen as a base. This can provide you with the necessary prep space, storage, and cooking facilities, which can be particularly helpful for a food truck or similar operation.

Step 7. Create a Menu

The menu is arguably the most critical aspect of your pop-up restaurant. Whether you’re experimenting with new dishes or sticking to tried-and-tested classics, your menu should be exciting, engaging, and reflective of your brand. Consider using a QR code menu for a touch-free and convenient ordering experience for your customers.

Step 8. Get Permits and Licenses

Business Licenses

To operate your pop-up restaurant legally, you need to obtain the necessary permits and licenses from local and state authorities. The exact licenses required will depend on your location, the duration of your pop-up, and the type of food you’re serving.

Food Safety

Food safety certifications are often required to ensure your restaurant meets local health standards. These may include food handler’s permits for your staff and a temporary food establishment permit if your pop-up is event-based.

Seller’s Permit, Employer Identification Number (EIN), and Employee Health Permit

If you plan to sell merchandise, you’ll likely need a Seller’s Permit. You’ll also need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS for tax purposes. An Employee Health Permit may be required, depending on local laws.

Mobile Food Facility Permit

If your pop-up restaurant is mobile, like a food truck , you may need a Mobile Food Facility Permit. Check with local regulations to ensure you have all the necessary paperwork.

Step 9. Invest In The Right Technology

Online Ordering System

An online ordering system , like Menubly, can transform your food truck business. Customers can browse your menu from home, place orders for pickup or delivery, and make payments right from their smartphones. This not only offers convenience but also speeds up service, as you can prepare your food ahead of time based on incoming orders.

Secure Payment System

Today’s customers expect a variety of payment options. In addition to cash, being able to accept credit and debit cards, as well as mobile payments, is crucial. Most well-known online ordering system like Menubly, for instance, often seamlessly integrate with various payment platforms such as Stripe and PayPal. This feature allows for a smooth, secure, and user-friendly transaction process, greatly enhancing the customer experience.

A reliable Point of Sale (POS) system like ToastPOS can streamline operations, track sales, and provide insightful data about customer habits and preferences.

Step 10. Marketing and Advertising

It’s essential to promote your pop up restaurant to drive customers to your location and build a buzz around your brand. A well-planned marketing strategy can make the difference between a temporary restaurant that’s thriving and one that’s barely surviving.

Start with the basics: utilize social media platforms and your network to create awareness. Spread the word, let people know about your unique concept, the location, and the dates. It’s vital to create anticipation and excitement to encourage people to go to your pop-up restaurant.

Additionally, leverage SEO strategies to increase your online presence. With the right keywords and online marketing tactics, you can reach more potential customers and increase your visibility in search engine results.

You need to figure out which mix of marketing strategies works best for your pop-up restaurant and continually refine your approach to build a strong customer base. Your goal should be not just to attract customers, but also to create memorable experiences that will keep them coming back.

It’s can be an exciting adventure for budding restauranteurs to open a pop up restaurant. It allows you to take a leap into the food industry without the commitment of a full-scale restaurant, making it a great testing ground for new concepts. Whether it’s a one-night event, a weekend venture, or an off-site extension of an existing space, the unique and limited time nature of pop-ups creates a sense of urgency and exclusivity that can be quite appealing to diners.

With careful planning, you can address the logistics of setting up your new pop-up, choosing the right location, securing necessary licenses, and providing memorable hospitality. Pop-ups give you the flexibility to test out new recipes, introduce new chefs, or try out a completely unique dining concept.

The next time someone asks you, “Why should I go to a pop-up restaurant?” you can confidently answer, “Because it’s a unique dining experience that you won’t find anywhere else.” So, are you ready to open your pop-up restaurant?

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How to Start a Successful Pop-up Restaurant: Your Ultimate Guide

business plan pop up restaurant

Pop-up restaurants are one of the best-known restaurant concept trends, according to the What’s Hot survey. And as per the Eventbrite report, diners in pop-ups have seen over 80% year-over-year growth. This business model has something for everybody, from restaurant owners to chefs to customers. 

But the idea of opening a pop-up restaurant may be somewhat intimidating. There are essential things to figure out. Here, you will learn how to start a pop-up business and what it takes to state your position in the food industry.

What is a pop-up restaurant? 

Image: lokiboxdesign

Image: lokiboxdesign

A pop-up restaurant defines itself as a dining business with temporary nature (i.e., a flexible location, concept, and size). This model gets inspiration from supper clubs that were all the rage as early as the 1960s. 

Unlike permanent restaurant businesses, pop-ups exist for a limited time (an evening, a day, a week, a month, or more). Their lifespan is subject to the original objective and pertinent limitations (e.g., lease and permits and licenses).  

These temporary restaurants can be set up in existing restaurants during off-hours, cinemas, cafes, bowling alleys, arcades, bars, outdoor markets, or even your home.

What is the purpose of pop-up restaurants?

business plan pop up restaurant

Some common reasons why you choose a pop-up concept over a brick-and-mortar location include:

Test out menu or restaurant concepts. 

Test out pricing methods.

Open a mobile kitchen to raise money for charity events.

Provide chefs with total creative freedom without a considerable risk factor.

Offer high-end meals at a more reasonable price by reducing restaurant costs.

Attract potential investors who want to see your business concept in action. 

Opening a pop-up restaurant: Pros & cons

business plan pop up restaurant

New pop-ups are being opened all the time and customers cannot wait to access these events. Having said that, before jumping into opening a pop-up, you should consider all the upsides and downsides.

Lower startup costs, for example, reduced labor costs and overhead;

Generating interest because of the limited-edition nature of the pop-up restaurant (i.e., encourage customers to pay a visit before it closes);

Access to infrastructure and free marketing if your temporary restaurant is hosted in an existing restaurant space;

Ability to move from one location to another with a similar pop-up menu or concept;

Allowing aspiring chefs and young professionals to build a reputation in the restaurant industry;

Attracting investors to finance your business if your pop-up receives rave reviews;

Becoming a permanent restaurant if your pop-up is successful.

Necessary willingness to run the business with limited resources and/ or in an unfamiliar location;

Heavy reliance on marketing and public relations

Probably hard to create repeat customers if you only operate occasional pop-ups.

How to start a pop-up restaurant in 9 easy steps

business plan pop up restaurant

Where opening a pop-up location does not need the same level of investment as a permanent restaurant, there are still many things to consider before opening day. 

1. Decide on your new restaurant concept

Selecting a unique concept is the secret to your new venture’s marketability since novelty is closely tied to the success of this business type. Think about who your target audience is and what makes you special.

For example, you may start a pop culture-themed restaurant with movie-themed decorations and food menu ideas inspired by famous franchises. Else, a spooky temporary location for those who wish Halloween to be a long-term affair.

2. Formulate a restaurant business plan

Even temporary restaurants need a thorough business plan. It acts as a blueprint outlining your vision (e.g., the pop-up’s end goals) and saving you from unpredictable situations.

You are recommended to start with a SWOT analysis . This involves defining the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of your new pop-up restaurant. Then, get into specifics about your format, menu, staff, suppliers, competition analysis, finances, and marketing strategies following your marketing costs.

3. Check the permits and licenses

business plan pop up restaurant

As with a typical restaurant, a set of permits and licenses are required when you start a pop-up. We hope you know that food trucks are not regulated the same as pop-ups. So, check your local county website to know your local laws and requirements. 

While they may differ by state, here are several standard ones:

  • Business License
  • Employer identification number
  • Building health permit (i.e., the building where your pop-up restaurant is located has to pass health inspections).
  • Employee health permit
  • Zoning permit
  • Sign Permit
  • Resale permit
  • Seller’s Permit
  • Music license
  • Liquor license
  • Food service license

4. Decide where to operate your pop-ups

business plan pop up restaurant

Image: worldarchitecture

business plan pop up restaurant

Here are some factors to consider before determining the right location for your new restaurant:

  • Target audience;
  • Potential competitors;
  • Accessibility and parking;
  • Zoning restrictions;
  • Foot traffic;
  • Utilities and rent costs.

And here are some ideas for your pop-up restaurant location:

  • An area that is safe for cooking and serving food;
  • Recycled shipping containers;
  • Roof-top gardens;
  • Old unused buildings;
  • City-wide festivals;
  • Private events;
  • Some cities that have dedicated spaces for pop-up restaurants, for instance, New York and San Francisco;
  • An already established restaurant (e.g., contact a local business that only serves breakfast and lunch. You can leverage the dining room to serve food at night).

5. Secure pop-up restaurant funding

If you are among those who have no money to invest in your new restaurant, the good news is that there are restaurant financing options to consider. These are equipment loán, startup business grants, SBA Microloans, business lines of credit, etc.

6. Hire your pop-up team

business plan pop up restaurant

Most pop-ups tap their network and Facebook groups to find the right person for their business. It is also a good idea to hire staff through restaurant industry job sites such as Poached and Culinary Agents.

7. Create a profitable pop-up restaurant menu

Opening a pop-up is a great opportunity to prepare plates that attract new diners. Do not forget to consider prime costs and food costs when pricing your menu, ensuring you are making a profit. 

Here are some restaurant ideas in this regard:

Use seasonal and locally sourced ingredients.

Cater to different diets.

Try dishes that are absent in the neighborhood.

Have a signature menu item ideally named after your own pop-up restaurant.

Give customers the privilege to customize their meals.

Use One2’s contactless QR code menu that is more cost-effective, safer for everyone, easier to update, and delivers a better experience. Above all, it helps improve sales .

business plan pop up restaurant

One2's touchless menu

8. Set up and design your pop-up restaurant 

For a complete dining experience, you necessarily bring in the equipment and system, particularly the right POS software . Also, remember that if you choose an existing restaurant with existing space like the dining room, there will not be much room for customizing the place following your concept and cuisine. Should you desire to make the place yours, think about selecting a location you can decorate from the get-go. Advisably, search for layout examples and design inspiration .

9. Promote the pop-up online and offline

business plan pop up restaurant

As most pop-up restaurants have limited availability, they do not need to build a solid following. Rather, their restaurant business plan includes some form of marketing that builds excitement before opening. 

These might include:

  • Create a social media presence on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
  • Alert customers online with email marketing.
  • Distribute flyers in the neighborhood.
  • Reach out to reporters for press coverage.
  • Implement a QR code menu to serve more guests faster.
  • Give customers the option to pre-order the dishes and pay for them online. 
  • Promote the specials on your website using the One2Menu system that updates your specials and prices instantly. Contact us for further details and unparalleled support.
  • Advertise food promotions on social media.
  • Invite local influencers to try your pop-up food for free in exchange for word of mouth on social media accounts.
  • Use the One2 system’s best features , including Restaurant SEO , Google Integrated Menus, and Contactless Payments.

business plan pop up restaurant

What One2's customers have to say.

Related questions

1. how long will a pop-up restaurant continue to be in business.

It can last from some hours to some months.

2. Tips for opening a pop-up?

Build a prix fixe menu for pop-up kitchens with limited storage space.

Choose shorter times over longer setups to generate more buzz.

Provide a temporary residency for guest chefs, which those who run a physical store to take advantage of this trend.

Give customers the option of BYOB (Bring Your Own Bottle), putting the pressure of getting a temporary liquor license off you.

3. Elements that make for the success of pop-up restaurant operations?

  • The concept
  • The location
  • A true turn-key technology solution like One2 and kitchen equipment
  • The promotional strategy

4. What is common kitchen equipment for a pop-up?

  • Cutting tables
  • Portable steam table 
  • Deep fryer, grill, portable brick oven
  • Reach-in freezer or cooler 
  • Cleaning stations 

5. How much does a pop-up restaurant cost?

Opening it will cost several thousand dollars, depending on your pop-up size and the amount of equipment it needs.

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How to Start a Pop-Up Restaurant Business

Pop-up restaurants are temporary ventures that are opened in the larger cities around the country. They're a good way for chefs to gauge public interest in different dishes and drum up more publicity for their brand. pop-up restaurants began as a way for chefs to test the popularity of their dishes without having to invest in a full restaurant. However, the combination of clever themes and limited supply were so popular that they can be used as a stand-alone business venture.

Learn how to start your own Pop-Up Restaurant Business and whether it is the right fit for you.

Ready to form your LLC? Check out the Top LLC Formation Services .

Pop-Up Restaurant Business Image

Start a pop-up restaurant business by following these 10 steps:

  • Plan your Pop-Up Restaurant Business
  • Form your Pop-Up Restaurant Business into a Legal Entity
  • Register your Pop-Up Restaurant Business for Taxes
  • Open a Business Bank Account & Credit Card
  • Set up Accounting for your Pop-Up Restaurant Business
  • Get the Necessary Permits & Licenses for your Pop-Up Restaurant Business
  • Get Pop-Up Restaurant Business Insurance
  • Define your Pop-Up Restaurant Business Brand
  • Create your Pop-Up Restaurant Business Website
  • Set up your Business Phone System

We have put together this simple guide to starting your pop-up restaurant business. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.

Exploring your options? Check out other small business ideas .

STEP 1: Plan your business

A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:

What will you name your business?

  • What are the startup and ongoing costs?
  • Who is your target market?

How much can you charge customers?

Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.

Choosing the right name is important and challenging. If you don’t already have a name in mind, visit our How to Name a Business guide or get help brainstorming a name with our Pop-Up Restaurant Business Name Generator

If you operate a sole proprietorship , you might want to operate under a business name other than your own name. Visit our DBA guide to learn more.

When registering a business name , we recommend researching your business name by checking:

  • Your state's business records
  • Federal and state trademark records
  • Social media platforms
  • Web domain availability .

It's very important to secure your domain name before someone else does.

Want some help naming your pop-up restaurant business?

Business name generator, what are the costs involved in opening a pop-up restaurant business.

Costs to open can be relatively low because pop-up restaurants can technically open in any spot that’s safe to cook. However, the owner will still have to pay the staff, purchase the food, and potentially purchase or rent temporary equipment. It’s not unusual to spend several thousand dollars or more when all is said and done.

What are the ongoing expenses for a pop-up restaurant business?

Ongoing expenses can include staff salaries, raw cost of ingredients, and costs to rent out the space.

Who is the target market?

Pop-up restaurants are often frequented by younger people (e.g., twenties, thirties, and forties) who are looking for something new and innovative in their area. They are the ones who are constantly looking for what's new and exciting, and they tend to have a good deal of disposable income. Middle-aged or elderly people in particularly well-off neighborhoods may also round out a businesses customer base.

How does a pop-up restaurant business make money?

Owners can set the price of their dishes based on the demand in their area, but standard pricing models call for between 3 – 4 times the cost of the raw ingredients.

Customers are generally willing to pay normal restaurant prices for pop-up restaurants. This is true even if they’re being served in the middle of an abandoned alleyway that’s been dressed up with elaborate lighting and table decorations.

How much profit can a pop-up restaurant business make?

Pop-up restaurants can make a good deal of profits if they’re willing to think outside the box. If they can seat 50 people a night at a prix fixe meal of $150, they can generate up to $7,500 a night of revenue. Considering a pop-up restaurant may only cost $3,000 or less to begin, it’s conceivable to turn a profit on the first night!

How can you make your business more profitable?

Businesses looking to become more profitable should capitalize on the momentum of their initial success by branching out to more cities. Owners can also consider selling merchandise to further help establish and cement their brand.

Want a more guided approach? Access TRUiC's free Small Business Startup Guide - a step-by-step course for turning your business idea into reality. Get started today!

STEP 2: Form a legal entity

The most common business structure types are the sole proprietorship , partnership , limited liability company (LLC) , and corporation .

Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your pop-up restaurant business is sued.

Form Your LLC

Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC

Have a Professional Service Form your LLC for You

Two such reliable services:

You can form an LLC yourself and pay only the minimal state LLC costs or hire one of the Best LLC Services for a small, additional fee.

Recommended: You will need to elect a registered agent for your LLC. LLC formation packages usually include a free year of registered agent services . You can choose to hire a registered agent or act as your own.

STEP 3: Register for taxes

You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.

In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!

You can acquire your EIN through the IRS website . If you would like to learn more about EINs, read our article, What is an EIN?

There are specific state taxes that might apply to your business. Learn more about state sales tax and franchise taxes in our state sales tax guides.

STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card

Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.

When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil .

Open a business bank account

Besides being a requirement when applying for business loans, opening a business bank account:

  • Separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
  • Makes accounting and tax filing easier.

Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank or credit union.

Get a business credit card

Getting a business credit card helps you:

  • Separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
  • Build your company's credit history , which can be useful to raise money later on.

Recommended: Apply for an easy approval business credit card from BILL and build your business credit quickly.

STEP 5: Set up business accounting

Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.

Make LLC accounting easy with our LLC Expenses Cheat Sheet.

STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses

Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.

Federal Business Licensing Requirements

There are federal regulations regarding what can and cannot be added to, sold as, and processed with food. Attached is a resource from the Food and Drug Administration detailing the process of starting a food business: How to Start a Food Business

State & Local Business Licensing Requirements

Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a pop-up restaurant business. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits .

Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses .

Certificate of Occupancy

A pop-up restaurant business is generally run out of a restaurant or small vacant space. Businesses operating out of a physical location typically require a Certificate of Occupancy (CO).  A CO confirms that all building codes, zoning laws and government regulations have been met.

  • If you plan to lease a location :
  • It is generally the landlord’s responsibility to obtain a CO.
  • Before leasing, confirm that your landlord has or can obtain a valid CO that is applicable to a pop-up restaurant business.
  • After a major renovation, a new CO often needs to be issued. If your place of business will be renovated before opening, it is recommended to include language in your lease agreement stating that lease payments will not commence until a valid CO is issued.
  • If you plan to purchase or build a location :
  • You will be responsible for obtaining a valid CO from a local government authority.
  • Review all building codes and zoning requirements for your business’ location to ensure your pop-up restaurant business will be in compliance and able to obtain a CO.

Food Regulations

When selling food, you will need licensing from a local health department; all establishments serving food are required to pass a health inspection. Tips for faring well on a health inspections

STEP 7: Get business insurance

Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.

There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance . This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.

Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance . If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers' Compensation Coverage.

FInd out what types of insurance your Pop-Up Restaurant Business needs and how much it will cost you by reading our guide Business Insurance for Pop-Up Restaurant Business.

STEP 8: Define your brand

Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.

If you aren't feeling confident about designing your small business logo, then check out our Design Guides for Beginners , we'll give you helpful tips and advice for creating the best unique logo for your business.

Recommended : Get a logo using Truic's free logo Generator no email or sign up required, or use a Premium Logo Maker .

If you already have a logo, you can also add it to a QR code with our Free QR Code Generator . Choose from 13 QR code types to create a code for your business cards and publications, or to help spread awareness for your new website.

How to promote & market a pop-up restaurant business

The beauty of a pop-up business is that people tend to become instantly excited about something that’s only around for a limited time. Word can get out quickly — especially if a restaurant tries to keep it secret. An already recognized chef with a following could probably put out a single notice on a social media page and still generate some buzz. Otherwise, owners may want to choose a more traditional form of bulletin-board marketing in hip places around town (e.g., popular coffee shops, city sidewalks, etc.)

How to keep customers coming back

Most people who go to a pop-up restaurant will likely only go once. They’re there to get a meal that they wouldn’t be able to get in a restaurant around town in an unusual or otherwise trendy space. However, the better that meal is, the more likely they are to tell their own friends or social media followers about it.

STEP 9: Create your business website

After defining your brand and creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business .

While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that it’s out of their reach because they don’t have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.

Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:

  • All legitimate businesses have websites - full stop. The size or industry of your business does not matter when it comes to getting your business online.
  • Social media accounts like Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website that you own.
  • Website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You don’t need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.

Recommended : Get started today using our recommended website builder or check out our review of the Best Website Builders .

Other popular website builders are: WordPress , WIX , Weebly , Squarespace , and Shopify .

STEP 10: Set up your business phone system

Getting a phone set up for your business is one of the best ways to help keep your personal life and business life separate and private. That’s not the only benefit; it also helps you make your business more automated, gives your business legitimacy, and makes it easier for potential customers to find and contact you.

There are many services available to entrepreneurs who want to set up a business phone system. We’ve reviewed the top companies and rated them based on price, features, and ease of use. Check out our review of the Best Business Phone Systems 2023 to find the best phone service for your small business.

Recommended Business Phone Service: is our top choice for small business phone numbers because of all the features it offers for small businesses and it's fair pricing.

Is this Business Right For You?

Pop-ups are generally started by chefs, though it’s also possible for a restaurant manager to assemble the talent and coordinate the schedules. But no matter what, all decision-makers will have to be creative in order to generate enough customer interest in the limited-time only restaurant. For those planning to open in several cities around the world, they'll also need to have a very flexible schedule.

Want to know if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur?

Take our Entrepreneurship Quiz to find out!

Entrepreneurship Quiz

What happens during a typical day at a pop-up restaurant business?

A pop-up restaurant will function very much like a regular restaurant, though the routine is likely to be more intense. Owners will need to create the menus, manage the staff, and plan out the next stop of the tour. The increased demand may mean that every table is constantly booked. Owners will have to ensure that all food is cooked properly and served to patrons in a timely manner.

What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful pop-up restaurant business?

It takes more than a culinary background to open up a successful pop-up restaurant. Owners should have some flair or experience with marketing to build public expectation, as well as general people and managerial skills to keep the restaurant running smoothly.

What is the growth potential for a pop-up restaurant business?

Pop-up restaurants can be a lucrative investment for owners because they can build up their reputation and momentum as they go from city to city. While each neighborhood will have their own response to the food, chefs also have the option to alter their menus to appeal to different demographics and tastes.

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For fun informative videos about starting a business visit the TRUiC YouTube Channel or subscribe to view later.

Take the Next Step

Find a business mentor.

One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.

Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.

Learn from other business owners

Want to learn more about starting a business from entrepreneurs themselves? Visit Startup Savant’s startup founder series to gain entrepreneurial insights, lessons, and advice from founders themselves.

Resources to Help Women in Business

There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:

If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.

What are some insider tips for jump starting a pop-up restaurant business?

Patrons of a pop-up restaurant will be far more forgiving of the decor of a restaurant, so the emphasis has to be on the food and the service. Owners may want to practice a little spin to traditional foods in order to differentiate their restaurant from others in the area. For example, a restaurant may serve mostly American food, but the chef can also put their own twist on dishes depending on the location.

It’s also crucial that a pop-up restaurant identify their core purpose at the beginning of the venture. Whether it’s to make money, test out new dishes, or just to have some fun, a pop-up restaurant should be defined for both staff and customers alike. This doesn’t mean the purpose can’t change or grow over time, but it should give a business owner a much clearer vision of how to get from Point A to Point B.

Chefs should also think outside the box when it comes to where the set up. An old barn just outside the city being converted into a pop-up restaurant is not only romantic, it's also a unique idea that's easy to tell other people about. In addition to abandoned barns or alleyways, owners could also rent out existing restaurants that may sit empty sometimes. For example, renting out a spot for dinner at a breakfast-only place. Owners could even host midnight meals at practically any permanent restaurant in the area!

How and when to build a team

Pop-up restaurants will need to start building a team immediately. Most owners will already have some type of network in place to pull qualify waiters, managers, and assistant chefs from. It is possible to build a traveling team as well, so workers can both see the world and make a living.

Useful Links

Further reading.

  • Pop-Up Restaurant Basics

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How to get your pop-up restaurant up and running

  • Jan 25, 2022

How to Get Your Pop-Up Restaurant Up and Running

Building a restaurant from the ground up is a huge undertaking that requires an enormous amount of money, time, and faith. If you want open a restaurant but feel daunted by the challenges, a pop-up model could be a good place to start.

What is a pop-up restaurant?

A pop-up is a restaurant without a permanent location. Often, it exists as an event series that is hosted in a variety of spaces, from a city rooftop to an event space that is available for short-term leases . Because you don’t have to invest in a permanent staff or commit to a lease that you’re not sure you’ll be able to afford, pop-up restaurants offer more freedom to experiment and figure out a restaurant management plan that fits your unique business. “A pop-up allowed us the flexibility and room to learn and grow,” said Sabrina Chen, the co-founder of an NYC-based, monthly supper club for lesbian and queer women called JaynesBeard .

How to start a pop-up restaurant

Although it is significantly easier to start a pop-up than a traditional brick-and-mortar establishment or even a food truck, there is quite a bit of foundation building that goes into a successful one. With Chen’s help, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide that will help you set your business up for success.

1. Figure out your finances

Removing a lease from the equation makes the cost of opening a restaurant significantly more manageable, but pop-up restaurants still require you to have enough money to pay for equipment, marketing, licenses, staff, and rent. These costs are comparatively modest , but they are substantial enough that you might need some outside funding. Micro-loans (a loan of $50,000 or less) are an option, but it's challenging to get one if you have a low credit score. Plus, you might not want to start with debt in your ledger. Crowdfunding through Kickstarter or GoFundMe might be a better fit, especially if you have a solid social media following.

2. Apply for licenses and permits

Getting all the proper documentation in order can be as cheap as a few hundred dollars or as expensive as a few thousand if you intend to serve alcohol. It can take a few weeks to complete all the applications and get them approved, so get everything in order before you set the date of your first event.

To start a business , you need to acquire a business license , which gives you legal permission to operate your business. Some jurisdictions may require you to have a city- or county-based license in addition to the state license, so ask your local city hall or courthouse what is needed. They should also be able to tell you what other permits are necessary, such as an employer identification number , a food service license, a food handler’s permit, a resale permit, a sales tax permit, or a liquor license .

3. Find your story

When Chen and her co-founder Alana McMillan conceived of JaynesBeard, they did so to create a queer space that wasn’t fueled by alcohol and partying. Instead, they hosted these events to connect with their community through a shared love of food.

To find your pop-up restaurant's story, ask yourself: What are your values? What do you want to do that others in the industry haven’t? Do you want to pay homage to your neighborhood’s cuisine or expand its culinary landscape? Are you looking to celebrate a cuisine’s history or define its future? Do you want to build a community or explore your own identity? Everything you do from this moment forward will define your restaurant’s narrative. What do you want it to say?

Preeti Mistry plating food at a JaynesBeard pop-up.

4. Make a staffing plan

If you’re not planning to run a one-person show, you’ll need to figure out what positions you need to fill and how many people you can afford to hire. In an ideal scenario, you would hire the same staff members for every event so that they can get to know your business and figure out how to work together. Unfortunately, experienced servers, bartenders, and dishwashers have busy schedules, so you might have to work with different people from time to time. For that reason, it will be helpful to develop a strong training program that will enable your staff to keep each event running smoothly and efficiently.

5. Communicate with your guests

Because you can’t rely on people just stumbling across your restaurant on their next shopping trip, creating an attention-grabbing and informative restaurant website is even more vital for pop-ups than it is for traditional restaurants. JaynesBeard has a tasteful website that provides a form to sign up for the invitations mailing list, links to all the supper club’s press coverage, a contact form, and a sampling of images from the charming Instagram account. If your pop-up isn't as exclusive as JaynesBeard, you should definitely put your menu online to pique the interest of potential customers.

The more information you provide, the more your customers will trust you to deliver a delightful experience. JaynesBeard does its best to be as communicative as possible, especially about essential factors such as the accessibility of a venue or dietary restrictions. In addition to sending detailed emails to her guests, Chen works to give her servers as much information as possible so that they can answer any question a guest may ask.

Making sure that communication flows from your guests to you is just as crucial. Besides promptly responding to emails, DMs, and chats, it is also a good idea to request feedback often so you know how to improve. With Wix, you can either use the form builder to add a feedback form to your website or use the restaurant CRM to automate email feedback requests to the guests who attended your last event. Either way, responses will flow directly to your Wix Inbox, which integrates all the messages you receive so that you can handle them all in one place.

JaynesBeard talking to a customer in a chatbox and a contact form.

6. Prep for the press

When the media comes knocking on the door, having a press kit ready will be beneficial. A press kit is a page on your website that provides influencers, bloggers, and journalists with all the information they need to quickly and accurately cover your pop-up. It should include your logo, high-quality images that they can use in their stories, a brief explanation of your service business , and the best way to reach you for additional questions. When you’re confident that you can put on a seamless event, you might even consider inviting a few members of the local press to attend your pop-up.

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Turning Culinary Dreams into Reality with Pop-Up Restaurants

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Related business ideas, discover your perfect domain, pop-up restaurant mini business plan, expected percent margin:, earnings expectations:, actions to hit those numbers:, food and beverage sourcing:, marketing and customer acquisition:, cook and customer experience:, cost control:, business operations:, not what you had in mind here are more ideas, grab your business website name, overview of 9 steps, step 1: determine if a pop-up restaurant is the right endeavor, breakdown of startup expenses, breakdown of ongoing expenses, examples of ways to make money, step 2: name the business, step 3: create a business plan, writing the business plan, step 4: obtain necessary licenses and permits, how to obtain licenses and permits, cost of licenses and permits, timeframe for obtaining licenses and permits, step 5: find a location, step 6: obtain necessary licenses and permits, types of licenses and permits, step 7: create a menu, designing a menu, step 8: market the restaurant, ways to market the restaurant, step 9: open the restaurant, preparing to open, step 6: purchase necessary equipment, where to purchase equipment, cost of equipment, maintenance of equipment, step 7: hire employees, training employees, scheduling employees, paying employees, step 8: market the business, tips for effective marketing, step 9: open the business, explore more categories, take the next steps.

business plan pop up restaurant

Pop-Up Restaurant: How to Open One & 7 tips for starting Pop-Up Restaurants

Food pop-up restaurants are both trendy and effective. If you want to get attention for your brand , it is perfect for creating an unexpected burst of excitement. It is, however, different from a traditional restaurant. In order to come up with a unique idea, you must conduct research.

But don’t worry. Learn what pop-up restaurants are and how to start one with this comprehensive guide. Make the most of your menus with epic menu ideas and promotion strategies. 

Table of Contents

What is a Pop-Up Restaurant?

Pop-up restaurants are temporary restaurants hosted in various places, such as existing restaurants on their off days, pubs, arcades, bowling alleys, theaters, or even chefs’ homes. A pop-up restaurant can range from an exclusive one-night takeover of a neighborhood eatery to a food tent running for a few months at a local outdoor market.

Many established and aspiring restaurateurs are turning to the pop-up trend to form community ties, both to form community partnerships and to generate buzz and feedback before investing in a full-fledged restaurant. They’re also an excellent approach for establishing relationships with the community and forming partnerships with other local businesses.

business plan pop up restaurant

Where to Run a Pop-Up Restaurant

The allure of pop-up restaurants is that they can appear in almost any location, with the caveat that your pop-up must be in a safe environment to cook and serve food. Recycling shipping containers, old disused buildings, parks, city-wide events, or roof-top gardens might all be creative pop-up settings.

Another excellent place for a pop-up kitchen is an already-established restaurant. Connect with local diners or family-run businesses that exclusively serve breakfast and lunch. At night, you can use the unused kitchen and dining areas to create your own unique cuisine concept.

Pros of Pop-Up Restaurants

Opening a pop-up restaurant has lots of benefits that make it a far superior business venture than a typical restaurant.

1) Testing 

A pop-up restaurant allows you to test particular features of your restaurant without investing too much money. Chefs and owners can use the relatively low capital investment required to test new menu items, locations, and pricing methods to ensure a longer-term operation is viable. If it isn’t, the owners haven’t lost much money and have gained valuable expertise and experience. 

2) Lower prices 

Pop-up restaurants typically have lower start-up costs than traditional eateries. Some pop-up restaurants employ personal dwellings or food trucks as locations, which may reduce the need for the business to pay rent. Other pop-up restaurants have taken over spaces like abandoned office buildings to save money on rent. They also have fewer overheads.   

3) Creativity 

Because pop-ups are limited in time, they provide a unique opportunity for novice cooks to get creative with their output. Many chefs are free to experiment with new ingredients and dishes without the constraints of long-term viability.   

4) Simple marketing 

According to research, customers are more likely to buy anything if there is a limited-time offer. This component of marketing is simple because it is inherent like a pop-up restaurant. You can promote the idea of an exciting and exclusive restaurant driven by FOMO by creating a sense of time urgency.

As stated above, pop-ups are ideal for social media marketing . These ventures also benefit from the interest and attention generated from setting up alongside, or at, well-known locations or events. It’s one of the most effective methods of attracting customers .

Cons of Pop-up Restaurants

While there are a lot of benefits to operating pop-up restaurants, there can also be a lot of drawbacks.

1) Limited resources 

You will probably not have a lot of resources because getting restaurant loans for such ventures can be difficult. As a result, if you don’t have much money to begin with, you may have to get creative with your labor and inventory expenses.   

2) Acts of balancing 

Pop-up restaurants exist for a limited time. This means that operators are unable to adhere to specific menus and dishes and make the minor, incremental changes that may be necessary to make a product successful in the long run. Due to time limits, pop-ups must either land on the first try or sink.

3) Customer loyalty 

While pop-up restaurants are fantastic for creating buzz, their very nature can make it difficult to retain consumers. It’s more difficult to persuade folks to do business with you if you’re only there for a short time.   

4) Over-reliance on marketing 

Marketing must be prioritized for pop-up restaurants to be successful. This can divert attention and resources away from day-to-day operations.

4 Factors That Contribute to a Successful Pop-up Restaurant

When putting together a pop-up, there are plenty of things to consider. But these are the four areas in which you must focus if you want your pop-up to succeed.

The Concept

Pop-up restaurants are a great way to test out new concepts. You might focus your concept on a single food item (such as grilled cheese sandwiches) or a specific kind of cuisine (such as Filipino food).

When thinking about concepts, you should consider the competitive landscape and industry gaps. Is your area lacking in specific cuisine? Is there a new restaurant trend that you believe will be popular in your area or among your target diners?

Combine these prospects with your skills (and passion) to create an enticing pop-up concept for foodies. Keep in mind that if your concept and food are well received, there may be opportunities to establish a permanent place.

The location 

When it comes to finding a place for a pop-up restaurant, there aren’t many. During off-hours, you can organize a pop-up in another restaurant’s kitchen. You can even set your business on a city rooftop, at an apartment complex, or in a unique location.

What you must have: an open area that will pass health inspections, allow you to follow restaurant safety practices, and be equipped to cook.

Kitchen technology and equipment

The right equipment and technology can make or break your pop-up restaurant operation. First, decide on all of the kitchen tools required for successful cooking. Common pop-up restaurant cooking equipment includes:

To swiftly prepare foods that will meet the high demand generated by a pop-up, use a grill, deep fryer, portable brick oven, or stovetop (this kitchen equipment is heavily dependent on the type of dishes you’re preparing).

  • Use a reach-in cooler or freezer to store ingredients and keep food fresh.
  • Portable steam table for holding meals and keeping ingredients hot
  • Cleaning stations to keep the environment clean
  • Tables for cutting plates before serving them to customers.

Pop-up restaurants often get a lot of traffic due to their short-term nature and exclusivity, which means you’ll be taking a lot of payments. Because you want to move fast, ensure that your payment system can accept all forms of payment, like magstripe, chip cards, Apple Pay, and Google Pay.

Investing in integrated restaurant POS software allows you to take high-volume payments, display tipping options upon purchase, track sales data, manage real-time inventory, get customer feedback, and make smart business decisions moving ahead.

The promotional strategy 

A successful pop-up restaurant necessitates a strategic marketing plan. It’s important to clarify your goals before laying out the structure.

For a first-time event, you may want to promote your brand and establish a presence. Chefs who have been in the industry for a while may wish to try out a new concept or show off their talents. Whatever your objectives are, make this the basis of your marketing plan.

Once you have a goal in mind, identify your target audience (who you want to come to your pop-up) and messaging (what you want them to know). Then decide how you want to deliver those messages to that audience.

Your strategies could include:

  • Creating a Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter presence
  • Printing and posting flyers in the neighborhood
  • Engaging in email marketing to notify customers online
  • contacting reporters and bloggers to obtain news coverage

6 Tips for Starting a Pop-Up Restaurant

Once you’ve decided to turn your idea into a pop-up restaurant, there are a few things you can do to ensure success. To get the most out of your pop-up restaurant, follow the tips below.

business plan pop up restaurant

1) Make a fixed-price menu

Because pop-up kitchens often have limited storage space, a prix fixe menu may be useful. When compared to a la carte dishes, this reduces the amount of food and supplies that must be stored. Change your prix fixe menu every few nights to give variety to your pop-up and keep people coming back for new and varied options.  

2) Allow guests to BYOB

BYOB relieves you of the task of obtaining a temporary liquor license as well as keeping and serving the booze. If you’re in an area that allows it, give guests the chance to bring their own bottles they can enjoy as they please. This will also encourage people to stay longer, relax, and order more meals.    

3) Provide chef residences at your existing restaurant 

Offering temporary residency to guest chefs allows restaurateurs who already have a physical location to capitalize on this trend. Host a gourmet or high-end chef at your restaurant for a limited time to offer guests a truly unique dining experience.  

4) Advertise on social media 

Maintain an active social media presence to keep your marketing costs low. Use Twitter to promote your pop-up site for the day and use Instagram to lure hungry customers.  

5) Shorter time frame can create a greater sense of urgency

Depending on the objective of your pop-up, a shorter stay may be a more profitable option than a longer set-up. Customers are less inclined to postpone a visit if they know they only have a limited time to try your exotic and creative food.  

6) Join your pop-up with another local event

If your city hosts events like block parties, festivals, or carnivals, time your pop-up restaurant to coincide with the event, which is already guaranteed to draw lots of people. Working with the event organizers to offer food can result in a premium set-up site or free marketing.

Pop-up restaurants can be a rewarding experience for both chefs and customers. Take the time to research your local laws and regulations and focus on unique settings that will attract crowds eager to get a piece of your latest creation. Pop-up kitchens are an ideal way to test out menu ideas , assess community interest, and have fun with the food you love due to their low commitment level.

business plan pop up restaurant

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How to Start a Pop-Up Restaurant in 10 Steps

So you want to open a pop-up restaurant? We’ve got you covered. Pop-ups are a very popular business concept among entrepreneurs (as well as their hungry audiences).

In this guide, we’ll touch on…

  • The pros and cons of a pop-up
  • How to choose a name and theme
  • The importance of a business plan
  • How to find the right location
  • The paperwork you’ll need to have in order
  • Whether you should have a mobile or temporary kitchen
  • How to create an appealing menu
  • Where to find a POS app to get paid
  • Marketing your pop-up restaurant
  • Examples of successful pop-ups

By the end of it, you won’t be in doubt about what to do next!

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1. Consider the pros and cons of a pop-up restaurant

A pop-up restaurant can be a lucrative business if it’s done right. But like any other business venture, it’s important to consider the pros and cons before you take a leap of faith.

  • Smaller start-up investment and overheads.
  • Try a new menu, theme, or pricing before you invest in a permanent restaurant.
  • Flexibility in terms of location.
  • Free marketing if you open inside of an established venue.
  • Limited resources and equipment.
  • Challenging to form long-term relationships with customers.
  • Very reliant on online marketing.

2. Brainstorm some pop-up restaurant themes and names

If you feel like the pros outweigh the cons, it’s time to start brainstorming pop-up restaurant themes and names for your budding business.

You need to set yourself apart from the competition. Pick a concept that is easy to market online and grabs the attention of any passersby.

Your branding should match your menu, so you could jump down to section #7 and reverse engineer it. If you only serve baked potatoes, then your name should probably involve that.

Tip: You can use this restaurant name generator to come up with a name, and read our guide to food and drinks events to help you flesh out a theme.

3. Create a business plan

As with any other business, it’s a good idea to spend some time on outlining exactly what you want to achieve and how you plan on going about it.

How to Start a Pop-Up Restaurant: Make a business plan.

A business plan is particularly important if you want to court investors, sponsors, donors, or just get a bank loan to help you get started.

Tip: We’ve created a guide on how to write up a business plan to give you an idea of what’s involved.

4. Choose a location

Location is another important factor to consider when you plan your pop-up restaurant. Will it be outdoors? Inside of another venue? Or maybe even a pop-up food truck?

Regardless of which location you choose, you will need permission from the relevant authorities to open your pop-up restaurant.

Tip: Find inspiration by reading our guides on the different types of venues available, how to choose the right one, and how to negotiate with the venue management.

5. Apply for licences, permits, and insurance

Now that you’ve looked at some pop-up restaurant names and locations, it’s time to read up on pop-up restaurant laws so all your paperwork is in order.

You’ll need…

  • Business licence
  • Food service permit

Tip: Visit the Food Standards Agency to see what you need to get your pop-up restaurant approved.

6. Set up a mobile kitchen or temporary dining room

With the legal paperwork in order, it’s time to get those meals on wheels. You have two options when it comes to the practicalities of your pop-up: a mobile kitchen or a temporary dining room.

A mobile kitchen is the way to go if you want to cover more than one location. Research van and equipment providers to see if you can find what you need for a mobile kitchen .

How to Start a Pop-Up Restaurant: Decide if you want a mobile or temporary kitchen.

Alternatively, if you’ve come to an agreement with an established venue, look up what equipment you’ll need for a temporary dining room. What you’ll need will depend on the size and layout of the space you’ve been allocated by the venue management.

Tip: Our guide on event equipment hire has a lot of great resources for equipment rental.

7. Create a menu

Dinner is almost served, but what will it be? Your menu will be a major (if not the biggest) selling point of your pop-up restaurant, so design it with care.

It should match the name, brand, and theme of your pop-up. But more importantly, it should be something that can draw a crowd .

Think about…

  • Locally sourced food: a lot of people like to support their local farmers.
  • Exotic ingredients: wow your guests with something rare and interesting.
  • Vegan options: it’s a popular trend that more restaurants are getting into .
  • Specialisation: will you focus on brunch only or cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner?

Tip: Read sections #6 and #7 in our guide on how to plan a food and drinks event to see how you could design the menu.

8. Get an app and POS system

You’ll want to get paid after spending all this time and effort on your pop-up restaurant. Fortunately, there are plenty of convenient apps to help you rake in some cash.

Tip: Look at this list of the best POS apps and read about how to create an app for your pop-up.

9. Follow a marketing plan

Marketing should already be an integral part of your overall business plan, but it’s worth reiterating the importance of promoting your pop-up restaurant.

How to Start a Pop-Up Restaurant: Create a thorough marketing plan.

Make sure you partner up with a ticketing platform like Billetto. Spread the word about your new venture and contact all relevant local publications to get some coverage.

Tip: Check out our list of marketing strategies and a step-by-step guide on how to market your pop-up restaurant to the right people.

10. Pop-up restaurant examples to inspire you

If you’re still feeling a bit lost, then take heart. Many have tried to start a pop-up restaurant before you. You can learn from both their failures and their successes.

Let’s round off this guide by having a look at some successful pop-up restaurants that managed to not only make a profit but also turn their pop-ups into permanent restaurants.

Saison is a shining example of a rags-to-riches story. Not only did this San Francisco pop-up become a permanent restaurant, but they also managed to get three Michelin stars.

Coquine is a cute little mom-and-pop restaurant that serves anything from nibbles to four-course meals. The entire joint, from the kitchen to the front-of-house, is run by the two owners.

Semilla in Brooklyn is the brainchild of a chef and a pastry chef. Although they’ve had previous experience with Chez Jose, another pop-up, it doesn’t make their Michelin star status any less impressive.

Tip: Check out this list full of examples of hugely successful pop-ups around the world.

Starting a pop-up restaurant is not that much different from starting any other business. You need an awesome concept and a solid plan for how to attract your target audience.

Hopefully, this guide inspired you to get started and shown you some great resources to help you put everything together.

Got any tips you’d like to share with us? Drop us a comment in the section below!

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How to Start a Pop-Up Restaurant At Home: 10 Key Tips

There are a lot of ways you can go about opening a pop-up restaurant . Learning how to start a pop-up restaurant at home is one great option for your pop-up restaurant ideas . It comes with much of the work of starting a pop-up restaurant with a food truck or storefront option from the beginning. 

You’ll need to learn about pop-up restaurant regulations and pop-up restaurant marketing . You’ll study the cost to open a pop-up restaurant , and even look into the best pop-up restaurants for inspiration. You’ll have the home-field advantage, so to speak, as you work on this from your kitchen. 

Learning how to start a pop-up restaurant at home can be similar to how to start a food truck business or how to start a restaurant . You’ll need a restaurant business plan . You’ll need to focus on customer experience and customer satisfaction . This BinWise blog post will help you get started. 

guide for pop-up restaurants ebook

Starting a Pop-Up Restaurant At Home

Starting a pop-up restaurant at home takes all the work of starting any other type of restaurant. It also has the unique aspect of being a business taking place, in part, in your home. There are different things you’ll need to think about to make a business successful when your dedicated workspace is your home. These 10 tips will help you focus on the things that will help you along.

10. Have a Dedicated Workspace

When you’re doing any sort of work from home, a dedicated workspace is crucial. For your pop-up restaurant starting at home, this may be your kitchen, an office, and a storage space. Whatever room you need, make sure you have plenty of space ready to be set aside for this work.

9. Look Into Licensing

Licensing needs are a must for every restaurant, no matter where it is operated from. If you’re serving food out of your home without a set location, your licensing needs will be different. There will, however, still be licenses and permits you need. Check out your local regulations to see what those needs are.

8. Invest In Your Kitchen

When you’re operating a restaurant from your home, your kitchen will become one of the most important areas of your home and business. You need to invest in your kitchen in the form of appliances that will be able to accommodate all the work you’ll be doing for your pop-up restaurant.

7. Practice Your Menu

Since you’re working from your own kitchen, and getting used to menu items, practice is important. You can practice your menu with family and friends, to get opinions and find interesting tweaks for recipes. 

BinWise resources page

6. Focus on Advertising

As you start out at home you’ll need to work to get the word out about your pop-up restaurant twice as hard as a restaurant with a storefront. You won’t have a location to share, but you can create content around your menu items, brand, and customer reviews. 

5. Track Your Expenses

Tracking your expenses is important at every step of your restaurant business journey. It’s especially important to start tracking expenses from the beginning. The earlier you start will help you avoid having to play catch-up with tracking and accounting.

4. Practice Through Hosting

You can practice more than just your menu items through hosting parties. When you’re practicing hosting, you can practice the presentation of your business in every way. That includes answering questions, developing an experience, and working on customer–and guest–satisfaction.

3. Take Time With Your Business Plan

When you’re starting your pop-up restaurant at home, there’s a lot of work that will take up your time. One thing you can and should focus some time on while you’re still at home is your restaurant business plan. You can take time while you’re still getting started, to make sure you have all your ducks in a row.

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2. Check Your Housing Situation Rules

Your licensing requirements will have a lot of specifications to do with restaurant licensing. You should also look into any rules around running a business out of your residence. If you’re in an apartment, your lease will likely have information to help. If you own a home within a homeowner’s association, you’ll want to check in there.

1. Look Into Storage Spaces

You’re going to need storage for ingredients, marketing materials, and much more. Your home may have space for those items. If not, a storage space like a storage locker will help you start to expand your pop-up restaurant while you run it from your home.

"Key Takeaway: Starting a pop-up restaurant at home takes all the work of starting any other type of restaurant. It also has the unique aspect of being a business taking place, in part, in your home."

Frequently Asked Questions About Starting a Pop-Up Restaurant At Home

The process of how to start a pop-up restaurant at home will take plenty of time, effort, and information. The 10 steps outlined in this blog post will get you headed in the right direction. 

The BinWise series on pop-up restaurants is also a great resource for solutions along the way. Our answers to these frequently asked questions will give you some tips on opening a restaurant from home, and small restaurant ownership in general.

How Do I Create a Restaurant Experience At Home?

For a pop-up restaurant experience that comes from your home to your customers, you create the experience by maintaining professionalism and care. You may be starting from home, but the work you put into your pop-up restaurant business should be on a similar level to any restaurant experience. 

How Do I Start a Small Local Restaurant?

To start a small local restaurant, pop-up or otherwise, you need to secure a location, plan your business, and dive into the process. You’ll need a business plan, staff, a budget and likely an accountant, and a goal for your restaurant. That goal will revolve around the mood you want to set and the experience you want people to have when they visit your restaurant.

How Do I Make a Homemade Restaurant Menu?

You can make a homemade restaurant menu with software like Canva, or something similar. You’ll need to map out your menu items and the information that will go in each section. You’ll also need pricing, and any additional information ready to go. From there, you can design your menu and print it in batches at a print service establishment.

How Much Money Should You Have to Open a Small Restaurant?

The cost to open a small restaurant can range from $150,000 to well over $700,00, depending on your needs. Pop-up restaurants are often a more cost-effective option for opening a small restaurant because you have less to worry about with the cost of location. That said, you’ll still need a fair amount of capital before you’re ready to open for business.

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Starting a Pop-Up Restaurant At Home: Home Is Where the Work Begins 

Learning how to start a pop-up restaurant at home can be your final point of starting your business or the beginning of kicking off your pop-up location. Whatever the case may be, this blog post can be a resource at any time. Come on back to the BinWise blog for more solutions for restaurants and businesses in the hospitality industry . 

When you’re looking for inventory and order management support for your restaurant, reach out to BinWise and BlueCart . The BinWise Pro inventory program , paired with the BinScan mobile app, will ease the process while you take inventory . BlueCart’s order management software streamlines your order management system .  

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How to Write a Restaurant Business Plan

Sally Lauckner

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money .

When starting a business—no matter what type of business that may be—a business plan is essential to map out your intentions and direction. That’s the same for a restaurant business plan, which will help you figure out where you fit in the landscape, how you’re going to differ from other establishments around you, how you’ll market your business, and even what you’re going to serve. A business plan for your restaurant can also help you later if you choose to apply for a business loan .

While opening a restaurant isn’t as risky as you’ve likely heard, you still want to ensure that you’re putting thought and research into your business venture to set it up for success. And that’s where a restaurant business plan comes in.

We’ll go through how to create a business plan for a restaurant and a few reasons why it’s so important. After you review the categories and the restaurant business plan examples, you can use the categories to make a restaurant business plan template and start your journey.

business plan pop up restaurant

Why you shouldn’t skip a restaurant business plan

First-time restaurateurs and industry veterans alike all need to create a business plan when opening a new restaurant . That’s because, even if you deeply understand your business and its nuances (say, seasonal menu planning or how to order correct quantities), a restaurant is more than its operations. There’s marketing, financing, the competitive landscape, and more—and each of these things is unique to each door you open.

That’s why it’s so crucial to understand how to create a business plan for a restaurant. All of these things and more will be addressed in the document—which should run about 20 or 30 pages—so you’ll not only have a go-to-market strategy, but you’ll also likely figure out some things about your business that you haven’t even thought of yet.

Additionally, if you’re planning to apply for business funding down the line, some loans—including the highly desirable SBA loan —actually require you to submit your business plan to gain approval. In other words: Don’t skip this step!

How much do you need?

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We’ll start with a brief questionnaire to better understand the unique needs of your business.

Once we uncover your personalized matches, our team will consult you on the process moving forward.

How to write a restaurant business plan: Step by step

There’s no absolute format for a restaurant business plan that you can’t stray from—some of these sections might be more important than others, for example, or you might find that there’s a logical order that makes more sense than the one in the restaurant business plan example below. However, this business plan outline will serve as a good foundation, and you can use it as a restaurant business plan template for when you write your own.

Executive summary

Your executive summary is one to two pages that kick off your business plan and explain your vision. Even though this might seem like an introduction that no one will read, that isn’t the case. In fact, some investors only ask for the executive summary. So, you’ll want to spend a lot of time perfecting it.

Your restaurant business plan executive summary should include information on:

Mission statement: Your goals and objectives

General company information: Include your founding date, team roles (i.e. executive chef, sous chefs, sommeliers), and locations

Category and offerings: What category your restaurant fits into, what you’re planning to serve (i.e. farm-to-table or Korean), and why

Context for success: Any past success you’ve had, or any current financial data that’ll support that you are on the path to success

Financial requests: If you’re searching for investment or financing, include your plans and goals here and any financing you’ve raised or borrowed thus far

Future plans: Your vision for where you’re going in the next year, three years, and five years

When you’re done with your executive summary, you should feel like you’ve provided a bird’s eye view of your entire business plan. In fact, even though this section is first, you will likely write it last so you can take the highlights from each of the subsequent sections.

And once you’re done, read it on its own: Does it give a comprehensive, high-level overview of your restaurant, its current state, and your vision for the future? Remember, this may be the only part of your business plan potential investors or partners will read, so it should be able to stand on its own and be interesting enough to make them want to read the rest of your plan.

Company overview

This is where you’ll dive into the specifics of your company, detailing the kind of restaurant you’re looking to create, who’s helping you do it, and how you’re prepared to accomplish it.

Your restaurant business plan company overview should include:

Purpose: The type of restaurant you’re opening (fine dining, fast-casual, pop-up, etc.), type of food you’re serving, goals you have, and the niche you hope to fill in the market

Area: Information on the area in which you’re opening

Customers: Whom you’re hoping to target, their demographic information

Legal structure: Your business entity (i.e. LLC, LLP, etc.) and how many owners you have

Similar to your executive summary, you won’t be going into major detail here as the sections below will get into the nitty-gritty. You’ll want to look at this as an extended tear sheet that gives someone a good grip on your restaurant or concept, where it fits into the market, and why you’re starting it.

Team and management

Barely anything is as important for a restaurant as the team that runs it. You’ll want to create a section dedicated to the members of your staff—even the ones that aren’t yet hired. This will provide a sense of who is taking care of what, and how you need to structure and build out the team to get your restaurant operating at full steam.

Your restaurant business plan team and management section should have:

Management overview: Who is running the restaurant, what their experience and qualifications are, and what duties they’ll be responsible for

Staff: Other employees you’ve brought on and their bios, as well as other spots you anticipate needing to hire for

Ownership percentage: Which individuals own what percentage of the restaurant, or if you are an employee-owned establishment

Be sure to update this section with more information as your business changes and you continue to share this business plan—especially because who is on your team will change both your business and the way people look at it.

Sample menu

You’ll also want to include a sample menu in your restaurant business plan so readers have a sense of what they can expect from your operations, as well as what your diners can expect from you when they sit down. This will also force you to consider exactly what you want to serve your diners and how your menu will stand out from similar restaurants in the area. Although a sample menu is in some ways self-explanatory, consider the following:

Service : If your brunch is as important as your dinner, provide both menus; you also might want to consider including both a-la-carte and prix fixe menus if you plan to offer them.

Beverage/wine service: If you’ll have an emphasis on specialty beverages or wine, a separate drinks list could be important.

Seasonality: If you’re a highly seasonal restaurant, you might want to consider providing menus for multiple seasons to demonstrate how your dishes (and subsequent purchasing) will change.

Market analysis

This is where you’ll begin to dive deeper. Although you’ve likely mentioned your market and the whitespace you hope to address, the market analysis section will enable you to prove your hypotheses.

Your restaurant business plan market analysis should include:

Industry information: Include a description of the restaurant industry, its size, growth trends, and other trends regarding things such as tastes, trends, demographics, structures, etc.

Target market: Zoom in on the area and neighborhood in which you’re opening your restaurant as well as the type of cuisine you’re serving.

Target market characteristics: Describe your customers and their needs, how/if their needs are currently being served, other important pieces about your specific location and customers.

Target market size and growth: Include a data-driven section on the size of your market, trends in its growth, how your target market fits into the industry as a whole, projected growth of your market, etc.

Market share potential: Share how much potential there is in the market, how much your presence will change the market, and how much your specific restaurant or restaurant locations can own of the open market; also touch on any barriers to growth or entry you might see.

Market pricing: Explain how you’ll be pricing your menu and where you’ll fall relative to your competitors or other restaurants in the market.

Competitive research: Include research on your closest competitors, how they are both succeeding and failing, how customers view them, etc.

If this section seems like it might be long, it should—it’s going to outline one of the most important parts of your strategy, and should feel comprehensive. Lack of demand is the number one reason why new businesses fail, so the goal of this section should be to prove that there is demand for your restaurant and show how you’ll capitalize on it.

Additionally, if market research isn’t your forte, don’t be shy to reach out to market research experts to help you compile the data, or at least read deeply on how to conduct effective research.

Marketing and sales

Your marketing and sales section should feel like a logical extension of your market analysis section, since all of the decisions you’ll make in this section should follow the data of the prior section.

The marketing and sales sections of your restaurant business plan should include:

Positioning: How you’ll describe your restaurant to potential customers, the brand identity and visuals you’ll use to do it, and how you’ll stand out in the market based on the brand you’re building

Promotion: The tools, tactics, and platforms you’ll use to market your business

Sales: How you’ll convert on certain items, and who/how you will facilitate any additional revenue streams (i.e. catering)

It’s likely that you’ll only have concepts for some of these elements, especially if you’re not yet open. Still, get to paper all of the ideas you have, and you can (and should) always update them later as your restaurant business becomes more fully formed.

Business operations

The business operations section should get to the heart of how you plan to run your business. It will highlight both internal factors as well as external forces that will dictate how you run the ship.

The business operations section should include:

Management team: Your management structure and hierarchy, and who is responsible for what

Hours: Your hours and days of operation

Location: What’s special about your location that will get people through the door

Relationships: Any advantageous relationships you have with fellow restaurateurs, places for sourcing and buying, business organizations, or consultants on your team

Add here anything you think could be helpful for illustrating how you’re going to do business and what will affect it.

Here, you’ll detail the current state of your business finances and project where you hope to be in a year, three years, and five years. You’ll want to detail what you’ve spent, what you will spend, where you’ll get the money, costs you might incur, and returns you’ll hope to see—including when you can expect to break even and turn a profit.

Financial statements: If you’ve been in business for any amount of time, include existing financial statements (i.e. profit and loss, balance sheet, cash flow, etc.)

Budget: Your current budget or a general startup budget

Projections: Include revenue, cash flow, projected profit and loss, and other costs

Debt: Include liabilities if the business has any outstanding debt or loans

Funding request: If you’re requesting a loan or an investment, lay out how much capital you’re looking for, your company’s valuation (if applicable), and the purpose of the funding

Above all, as you’re putting your financials together, be realistic—even conservative. You want to give any potential investors a realistic picture of your business.

Feel like there are other important components but they don't quite fit in any of the other categories (or make them run too long)? That’s what the restaurant business plan appendix section is for. And although in, say, a book, an appendix can feel like an afterthought, don’t ignore it—this is another opportunity for you to include crucial information that can give anyone reading your plan some context. You may include additional data, graphs, marketing collateral (like logo mockups), and more.


Start Your Dream Business

The bottom line

Whether you’re writing a restaurant business plan for investors, lenders, or simply for yourself and your team, the most important thing to do is make sure your document is comprehensive. A good business plan for a restaurant will take time—and maybe a little sweat—to complete fully and correctly.

One other crucial thing to remember: a business plan is not a document set in stone. You should often look to it to make sure you’re keeping your vision and mission on track, but you should also feel prepared to update its components as you learn more about your business and individual restaurant.

This article originally appeared on JustBusiness, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.

On a similar note...

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Business Plan Templates

7 Essential KPIs for Pop-up Restaurants: Boost Your Success Today

Related blogs.

  • Behind the Scenes: Uncovering the Profitable Secret of Pop Up Restaurants
  • From $1,000 to $100,000: The Secret Costs of Opening a Pop-Up Restaurant
  • Pop Up Your Taste Buds: 10 Essential Steps to Start a Successful Restaurant Business
  • - Reservation conversion rate
  • - Average revenue per customer
  • - Time to table turnover
  • - Repeat customer rate
  • - Social media engagement rate
  • - Menu item popularity
  • - Employee turnover rate

As a seasoned entrepreneur, I've spent years navigating the ever-shifting terrain of the restaurant industry. From pop-ups to fine dining, I've learned that tracking your KPIs is key to staying on top of your game. In this article, we'll take a closer look at the top seven, must-track KPIs for any pop-up restaurant .

  • Reservation Conversion Rate: The percentage of potential customers who make a reservation. This KPI is particularly important to monitor because it gives you insight into how effective your marketing efforts are at converting potential diners into paying customers.
  • Average Revenue per Customer: The average amount of money each customer spends at your pop-up restaurant. This metric is crucial for understanding how much money you are making per guest, as well as identifying opportunities for upselling and price adjustment.
  • Time to Table Turnover: The average amount of time it takes for a table to turn over from one group of customers to the next. This KPI can help you optimize your restaurant's efficiency and maximize the number of customers you can serve in a given window of time.

These are just a few of the KPIs we'll be diving into in this article. By tracking these metrics and identifying areas for improvement, you'll be well on your way to building a successful pop-up restaurant that keeps customers coming back time and time again.

Reservation Conversion Rate

Definition: Reservation conversion rate is the percentage of website visitors who make a reservation at a pop-up restaurant after visiting the website.

Use Case: Reservation conversion rate is an important KPI for pop-up restaurants as it measures the effectiveness of the website in converting visitors to customers. A higher conversion rate indicates that the website is successful in convincing potential customers to book a reservation.

How To Calculate KPI: Divide the number of reservations made by the number of website visitors, then multiply by 100 to get a percentage. The formula is:

Calculation Example: A pop-up restaurant had 500 website visitors last month, and 50 of them made a reservation. The reservation conversion rate is:

KPI Advantages:

  • Helps measure the effectiveness of the website in converting visitors to customers
  • Indicates the level of interest in the pop-up restaurant
  • Helps identify areas for improvement in website design and communication with potential customers

KPI Disadvantages:

  • Does not account for customers who make reservations without visiting the website
  • May be influenced by external factors such as marketing campaigns and seasonal changes in demand

KPI Industry Benchmarks: The average reservation conversion rate for pop-up restaurants is around 5-10%. However, this can vary based on the location, cuisine, and other factors.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Ensure that the website is easy to navigate and has clear calls to action for making a reservation
  • Offer incentives such as promotions or discounts for making a reservation through the website
  • Regularly monitor and analyze the reservation conversion rate to identify trends and areas for improvement

Top Seven Pop Up Restaurant KPI Metrics: How to Track and Calculate

As a serial entrepreneur who has started and managed many businesses, I know that tracking the right metrics is the key to success in any industry. In the pop-up restaurant industry, it's crucial to track the right key performance indicators (KPIs) to ensure your business is profitable and sustainable in the long term. In this blog post, we'll look at the top seven KPIs that every pop-up restaurant owner should track, starting with the average revenue per customer.

Average revenue per customer

Definition: Average revenue per customer is a KPI that measures how much revenue your restaurant generates, on average, from each customer who visits your pop-up restaurant.

Use case: Average revenue per customer can help you understand how much your customers are willing to spend at your pop-up restaurant. By tracking this KPI over time, you can identify trends and adjust your menu, pricing, and marketing accordingly to maximize revenue.

How to calculate KPI: To calculate average revenue per customer, divide your total revenue by the number of customers served during a specific period.

Average revenue per customer = Total revenue / Number of customers served

Calculation example: Let's say your pop-up restaurant generated $10,000 in revenue last month and served 500 customers. Your average revenue per customer would be:

Average revenue per customer = $10,000 / 500 = $20

KPI advantages: Average revenue per customer can help you identify your most profitable menu items and adjust your pricing strategy accordingly. It can also help you track the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns and menu changes over time.

KPI disadvantages: Average revenue per customer does not take into account external factors such as seasonality, competition, or weather conditions, which can significantly impact your revenue per customer. It's also important to consider the cost of goods sold and other expenses when analyzing this KPI.

KPI industry benchmarks: According to industry benchmarks, the average revenue per customer in the pop-up restaurant industry ranges from $15 to $25.

Tips & tricks

  • Offer high-margin items to increase your average revenue per customer
  • Run promotions during slow periods to boost sales
  • Regularly analyze your menu to identify underperforming items and adjust pricing or remove them from the menu

Time to Table Turnover

Time to table turnover is an essential restaurant metric that measures the speed at which tables are cleaned and prepared for the next guest. The metric is the time taken from the moment a guest leaves their table to when it is ready for the next guest. In short, it indicates how long it takes to turn tables, and it is an excellent indicator of restaurant efficiency.

Time to table turnover is a critical metric because it can help you determine how many tables you need to accommodate your guests, how long guests wait to be seated, and how quickly you can serve more customers. If the time to turnover tables is too long, it can lead to long wait times, poor customer experience, and even lost revenue.

How to Calculate KPI

To calculate the time to table turnover, you need to take the difference between the time when a guest leaves a table and the time when the table is ready for the next guest. The formula is:

Calculation Example

For example, if a guest leaves a table at 7:00 pm, and the table is ready for the next guest at 7:15 pm, the table turnover time is 15 minutes. If it takes 5 minutes to clean the table and 10 minutes to prepare and set-up the table for the next guest, the table turnover time can be calculated as follows:

KPI Advantages

  • Helps identify the bottleneck in restaurant operations
  • Reduces wait times and improves customer satisfaction
  • Maximizes table utilization and restaurant revenue

KPI Disadvantages

  • May not account for variable factors affecting service speed
  • Can be negatively impacted by a high volume of guests
  • Not suitable for all types of restaurants

KPI Industry Benchmarks

The industry benchmark for the time to table turnover is ten minutes. However, the value may vary depending on the type of restaurant, its location, and the season.

Tips & Tricks

  • Implement a training program for staff to minimize cleaning and preparation time
  • Reduce table sizes to accommodate more guests and increase table turnover
  • Use a table management system to track table status and optimize table turnover times

Repeat Customer Rate


Repeat customer rate is a KPI that measures the percentage of customers who return to the same restaurant for a second, third, or more times. It is a vital metric for pop-up restaurants that rely on customer loyalty and retention.

By tracking the repeat customer rate, businesses can assess their customer satisfaction levels and identify areas for improvement. A high repeat customer rate indicates a strong customer experience and can lead to increased revenue and positive word-of-mouth marketing.

How To Calculate KPI:

The formula for calculating the repeat customer rate is simple:

Calculation Example:

Suppose a pop-up restaurant served 100 customers during the month, and 30 of those customers returned for a second time. The repeat customer rate for that month would be:

  • Indicates customer satisfaction and loyalty levels
  • Can lead to increased revenue and positive word-of-mouth marketing
  • Helps identify areas for improvement
  • Does not measure the frequency of repeat visits
  • Does not consider the length of time between visits
  • Only measures customers who have returned at least once

KPI Industry Benchmarks:

According to industry benchmarks, a repeat customer rate of 20-30% is considered average, while a rate above 50% is considered excellent.

  • Offer loyalty programs or incentives to encourage repeat customers
  • Survey customers to gather feedback and address areas for improvement
  • Track repeat customer rate over time to monitor trends and identify areas of success or concern

Top Seven Pop Up Restaurant KPI Metrics. How to Track and Calculate

Social media engagement rate.

Social media engagement rate is a measure of how effectively your target audience interacts with your brand content on social media platforms. This KPI aims to assess audience engagement and determine whether your social media strategy is resonating with your target audience.

  • Social media engagement rate is a KPI that quantifies the level of interaction between your target audience and your social media content. This includes all interactions such as likes, comments, shares, and retweets on your social media posts.
  • Social media engagement rate is an essential KPI for pop-up restaurants looking to attract and engage with their target audience. By tracking this KPI, you can identify the type of content that resonates with your audience and tailor your social media strategy to improve engagement.

How to calculate KPI:

Engagement rate (%) = (Total Engagements / Total Reach) x 100

KPI Formula:

  • Total Engagements = 500 (total likes, comments, shares, and retweets on your social media posts)
  • Total Reach = 10,000 (total number of people who saw your social media posts)

Engagement rate (%) = (500 / 10,000) x 100 = 5%

KPI Example:

  • Social media engagement rate helps pop-up restaurants to measure their social media strategy effectiveness and determine whether their content is attracting the target audience.
  • Tracking social media engagement rate helps pop-up restaurants to identify the types of content that generate high engagements and tailor their social media strategy to improve engagement.
  • Social media engagement rate does not provide insights into how engaged the audience is with specific posts. Hence, it is important to consider other KPIs such as click-through rate and conversion rate to get a more holistic view of your social media strategy.
  • Social media engagement rate varies by industry and social media platforms. According to the industry benchmark, a social media engagement rate of 5% is considered good for the restaurant industry on Instagram.
  • Engage with your audience by responding to comments and messages.
  • Create user-generated content by encouraging your audience to share pictures of their food and restaurant experience.
  • A/B test your content to identify what works best for your audience.

Top Seven Pop Up Restaurant KPI Metrics: What They Are and How to Track and Calculate

Menu item popularity.

Definition: Measures the number of orders for each menu item to identify which dishes are most popular and profitable.

Use Case: Identifying popular menu items helps restaurateurs make informed decisions about menu changes, marketing campaigns, pricing strategies and inventory management.

How to Calculate KPI: Divide the total number of orders for a menu item by the total number of orders for all menu items during a specific time period.

(Number of Orders for One Menu Item / Total Number of Orders for All Menu Items) x 100 = Menu Item Popularity (in %)

Calculation Example: Let's say we own a pop-up restaurant and want to identify the most ordered menu items for the past month. During this period, we served a total of 500 orders, with the following breakdown:

  • Pizza: 120 orders
  • Burger: 100 orders
  • Tacos: 80 orders
  • Sushi: 70 orders
  • Salads: 30 orders
  • Drinks: 100 orders

Using the formula:

(120/500) x 100 = 24% for Pizza

(100/500) x 100 = 20% for Burger

(80/500) x 100 = 16% for Tacos

(70/500) x 100 = 14% for Sushi

(30/500) x 100 = 6% for Salads

(100/500) x 100 = 20% for Drinks

KPI Advantages: Helps restaurateurs make data-driven decisions about menu management, marketing campaigns and pricing strategies. Also, allows them to gain insight into customer preferences and improve inventory management.

KPI Disadvantages: Has potential skew effects when menu items are priced differently. Also, can be affected by seasonal or temporary factors such as event themes, limited-time offers and marketing promotions.

KPI Industry Benchmarks: According to industry benchmarks, the average menu item popularity ranges from 10-20% in the restaurant industry. Pop-up restaurants may have different benchmarks due to their nature of temporary and targeted menus.

Tips and Tricks:

  • Track menu item popularity by different time periods (e.g. week, month, season) to account for seasonal trends and variations.
  • Compare menu item popularity to menu item cost to determine their profitability and contribution margin.
  • Consider using surveys or feedback forms to collect customer opinions and preferences on menu items.

Employee turnover rate

The employee turnover rate KPI measures the percentage of employees leaving a business within a certain period. This metric is crucial for any business owner looking to improve the retention and engagement of their workforce.

Monitoring employee turnover rate can help businesses identify and address underlying issues that may be causing high churn rates. By doing so, they can improve employee morale, retain top talent, and reduce costs associated with recruitment and training.

Employee turnover rate = (Number of employees who left during a period / Average number of employees during the same period) x 100

Let's say that a restaurant has 50 employees at the beginning of the year and 5 employees leave during the year. This gives us an average of 45 employees during the year. To calculate the employee turnover rate, we would apply the formula:

Employee turnover rate = (5 / 45) x 100 = 11.11%

  • Can help businesses identify underlying issues causing high turnover rates
  • Can help inform recruitment and retention strategies
  • Can lead to a reduction in recruitment and training costs
  • May not consider external forces that contribute to high turnover rates, such as economic conditions or industry-wide changes
  • May not provide insights into the reasons why employees are leaving

In the restaurant industry, the average annual employee turnover rate is around 73%. However, this number may vary based on factors such as geography, type of restaurant, and job position.

Three Tips for Improving Employee Turnover Rate

  • Conduct exit interviews to identify why employees are leaving
  • Offer competitive benefits and compensation packages to attract and retain talent
  • Create a positive work culture and foster a sense of community among employees

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How to Write a Restaurant Business Plan in 2024 (Step by Step Guide with Templates)

Saif Alnasur

A restaurant business plan is a framework that guides you to plan and forecast every element of restaurant management and operations.

This includes anything from your restaurant's menu design , location, financials, employee training , and a lot more.

Creating a solid business plan is important, as it helps:

  • Transform your restaurant ideas into reality.
  • Boosts entrepreneurial success by 16% (Harvard Business Study) .
  • It equips you to navigate challenges before they arise.
  • Attracts potential investors.

Planning is key to restaurant success. Without a plan, you're more likely to join the 26% of restaurants that fail within a year.

Create a business plan to set yourself up for success.

Here's how to get started. 

business plan pop up restaurant

What is a restaurant business plan? 

Before writing a business plan, it is important to understand its fundamentals.

It serves as a roadmap for starting and running your restaurant , making it easy for outside parties, such as investors, to understand your objectives, vision, and plan of action for your restaurant.

The length and level of detail of business plans vary, ranging from brief synopses to large papers. Investors can benefit from clear insights and additional information provided by beginning with a concise plan and working their way up to a detailed one.

In short, a thorough description of the resources allocated to the success of your restaurant should be included in your business plan.

Steps to include in your business plan 

Your restaurant and mission statement needs to reflect your brand and goals, but you don't have to start from scratch.

The Eat App Restaurant Business Plan template , created by industry professionals and packed with insider information, is your go-to manual for creating a profitable business plan.

Your finalized business plan should have 11 essential elements, no matter how you write it. Continue reading below. 

1. Executive summary

A restaurant business plan should always begin with an executive summary. Why?

  • 80% of venture capitalists say they read the executive summary first.
  • 62% of investors say they would not continue reading a business plan if the executive summary did not capture their interest.
  • A strong executive summary can increase the likelihood of securing funding by up to 40%.

An executive summary not only acts as the introduction to your restaurant business plan samples but also as a summary of the entire idea.

The main aim of an executive summary is to draw the reader (oftentimes an investor) into the rest of your business plan.

The executive summary also helps you envision the identity of your restaurant which essentially shapes the customer experience and sets you apart from competitors.

To establish a distinct identity, you need to focus on c ommon elements of an executive summary, including:

  • A mission statement  
  • Proposed concept development
  • Cuisine selection
  • The overall execution
  • The potential costs
  • Expected return on investments (ROI)

Let's take a more in-depth look at the concept development, cuisine selection, and mission statement.

Further reading

  • How to write a restaurant executive summary

Concept Development

Selecting the type of restaurant, service style, and atmosphere is the first step towards creating a unique dining experience. Whether you envision a sample menu for a:

  • cozy, intimate bistro
  • bustling quick-service deli
  • fast-casual restaurant
  • fine dining establishment

Your concept should reflect your passion and expertise in the industry.

Cuisine Selection

The cuisine you select for your restaurant can significantly influence its success.

Choosing the appropriate cuisine is vital for distinguishing your establishment from competitors and attracting your target market.

To make an informed decision, consider factors such as:

  • Market demand
  • Expertise and passion
  • Ingredient availability
  • Competition
  • Profitability
  • Cultural fit
  • Seasonality
  • Dietary restrictions and trends

In the highly competitive restaurant industry, keeping track of current and emerging cuisine trends can be a significant advantage.

Creating a mission statement

A well-constructed mission statement communicates the purpose, values, and goals of your restaurant to potential investors and customers alike.

A mission statement serves as a guiding light for decision-makers and employees, fueling their efforts to achieve your restaurant’s objectives.

To create an impactful mission statement, consider the following steps:

  • Identify the purpose of the restaurant.
  • Contemplate the brand’s image.
  • Account for the target audience.
  • Incorporate company values.
  • Ensure brevity and comprehensiveness.

Related content:  How to Write a Restaurant Mission Statement  

Remember, your mission statement should not only differentiate your restaurant from competitors but also resonate with your target market .

2. Company description

This is where you carefully introduce the company in the restaurant business plan. Include the name of the restaurant you are launching in this field along with its address, phone number, and other important information. Then, also include the owner's information as well as a synopsis or explanation of their background. The restaurant's legal position and its short- and long-term objectives should be outlined in the second section of the company description. To demonstrate your understanding of the changes in the local food business and the reasons why the most independent restaurant investors will be successful in this market, please submit a brief market research.

Here's an example of the page layout:  

Company Description

Restaurant Name: [Restaurant Name]

Location: [Restaurant Address]

Contact: [Restaurant Phone Number] | [Restaurant Email Address]

Owner: [Owner Name]

Experience: [Owner Name] has over [Number] years of experience in the restaurant industry. They have worked in various roles, including [List of Roles]. They are passionate about food and creating a memorable dining experience for their guests.

Legal Standing: [Restaurant Name] is a [Type of Legal Entity] registered in [State/Province].

3. Market analysis

The market analysis portion of the restaurant business plan is typically divided into three parts.

3.1 Industry analysis

What is your target market? What demographics will your restaurant cater to?

This section aims to explain your target market to investors and why you believe guests will choose your restaurant over others.

Comprehending your target market is key to customizing your restaurant offerings to their preferences and needs.

By diving into demographics, preferences, dining habits, and trends, you can fine-tune your concept and marketing strategy to reach and appeal to your target audience effectively.

An example of analyzing your target market

  Comprehending your target market is key to customizing your restaurant offerings to their preferences and needs.

Demographics and preferences

Identifying your primary target market involves considering factors such as:

For example, a neighborhood with a high concentration of families might prefer a family-friendly restaurant with a diverse menu catering to various age groups and dietary preferences.

Conversely, a trendy urban area with a predominantly young and affluent population may gravitate towards upscale dining experiences and innovative cuisine.

Cultural and ethnic backgrounds also have a significant impact on restaurant preferences, with people from different backgrounds having distinctive tastes and customs that influence their dining choices.

By thoroughly understanding the demographics and preferences of your target market, you’ll be better equipped to create a restaurant concept that resonates with them and ultimately drives success.

Dining habits and trends

As the restaurant industry continues to evolve, staying informed about dining habits and trends is crucial for adapting your offerings and attracting customers.

For example, the rise of online ordering and delivery services has significantly influenced dining habits, with many consumers seeking the convenience of having their meals delivered to their doorstep.

Health trends have also had an impact on dining habits, with an increasing number of individuals seeking healthier options when dining out.

  • How to find your restaurant's target market

3.2 Competition analysis

It's easy to assume that everyone will visit your new restaurant first, so it is important to research your competition to make this a reality.

What restaurants have already established a customer base in the area?

Take note of everything from their prices, hours, and service style to menu design to the restaurant interior.

Then explain to your investors how your restaurant will be different.

3.3 Marketing analysis

Your investors are going to want to know how you plan to market your restaurant. How will your marketing campaigns differ from what is already being done by others in the restaurant industry?

How do you plan on securing your target market? What kind of offers will you provide your guests? Make sure to list everything.

The menu is the most important part of a restaurant's debut. Your restaurant wouldn't be able to operate without it.

You most likely don't have a final draft at this time, but you should aim to create a mock-up for your restaurant business plan. You can choose a design that you can envision yourself using and add your logo to the mock-up.

  • Top Free Restaurant Menu Makers

There are several resources available online if you need assistance with menu design or don't want to hire a designer.

But the price should be the most important component of your sample menu. The cost research you've completed for investors ought to be reflected in your prices. They will have a clearer idea of your restaurant's intended price range as a result.  You'll quickly see how important menu engineering can be, even early on.

5. Employees

The company description section of the restaurant business plan briefly introduces the owners of the restaurant with some information about each. This section should fully flesh out the restaurant's business plan and management team.

The investors don’t expect you to have your entire team selected at this point, but you should at least have a couple of people on board. Use the talent you have chosen thus far to highlight the combined work experience everyone is bringing to the table.

Download our free restaurant business plan  It's the only one you'll ever need. Get template now

6. Restaurant design

The design portion of your restaurant business plan is where you can really show off your thoughts and ideas to the investors. If you don’t have professional mock-ups of your restaurant rendered, that’s fine.

Instead, put together a mood board to get your vision across. Find pictures of a similar aesthetic to what you are looking for in your restaurant.

The restaurant design extends beyond aesthetics alone and should include everything from restaurant software to kitchen equipment. 

7. Location

The location you settle on for your restaurant should be well aligned with your target market (making it easier to cater to your ideal customer) and with your business plans.

At this stage in the process, it's not uncommon to not have a specific location in mind - but you should at the very least have a few options to narrow down.

Pro Tip: When you approach your investors about potential locations, make sure to include as much information as possible about each venue and why it would be ideal for your brand. 

Example for choosing an ideal location

Choosing the ideal location for your restaurant is a pivotal decision that can greatly influence your success. 

To make the best choice, consider factors such as foot traffic, accessibility, and neighborhood demographics.

By carefully evaluating these factors, you’ll be better equipped to maximize visibility and attract your target market.

Foot traffic and accessibility

Foot traffic and accessibility are important factors in selecting a location that will attract customers and ensure convenience.

A high-traffic area with ample parking and public transportation options can greatly increase the likelihood of drawing in potential customers.

Additionally, making your restaurant accessible to individuals with disabilities can further broaden your customer base and promote inclusivity.

Neighborhood demographics

Analyzing neighborhood demographics can help you determine if your restaurant’s concept and cuisine will appeal to the local population.

Factors such as income levels, family structures, and cultural diversity can all influence dining preferences and habits.

By understanding the unique characteristics of the neighborhood, you can tailor your offerings and marketing efforts to resonate with the local community.

Conducting a market analysis can be a valuable step in this process.

To gather demographic data for a particular neighborhood, you can utilize resources such as the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and reference maps.

Armed with this information, you can make informed decisions about your restaurant’s concept, menu, and pricing, ensuring that your establishment is well-positioned for success within the community.

Conducting market research will further strengthen your understanding of the local demographic.

8. Market overview

The market overview section is heavily related to the market research and analysis portion of the restaurant business plan. In this section, go into detail about both the micro and macro conditions in the area you want to set up your restaurant.

Discuss the current economic conditions that could make opening a restaurant difficult, and how you aim to counteract that. Mention all the other restaurants that could prove to be competition and what your strategy is to set yourself apart.

9. Marketing

With restaurants opening left and ride nowadays, investors are going to want to know how you will get word of your restaurant to the world.

The next marketing strategy and publicity section should go into detail on how you plan to market your restaurant before and after opening. As well as any plans you may have to bring a PR company on board to help spread the word.

Read more: How to write a restaurant marketing plan from scratch

10. External help

To make your restaurant a reality, you are going to need a lot of help. List any external companies or software you plan on hiring to get your restaurant up and running.

This includes everything from accountants and designers to suppliers that help your restaurant perform better, like POS systems and restaurant reservation systems .

Explain to your other potential investors about the importance of each and what they will be doing for your restaurant.

11. Financial analysis

The most important part of your restaurant business plan is the financial section . We would recommend hiring professional help for this given its importance.

Hiring a trained accountant will not only help you get your own financial projections and estimates in order but also give you a realistic insight into owning a restaurant.

You should have some information prepared to make this step easier for the accountant.

He/she will want to know how many seats your restaurant has, what the check average per table will be, and how many guests you plan on seating per day.

In addition to this, doing rough food cost calculations for various menu items can help estimate your profit margin per dish. This can be achieved easily with a free food cost calculator. 

  • Important restaurant metrics to track

A well-crafted restaurant business plan serves as a roadmap to success, guiding every aspect of the venture from menu design to employee training.

By carefully considering each component of the plan, aspiring restaurateurs can increase their chances of securing funding, attracting customers, and achieving their long-term goals.

Remember, a restaurant business plan is not just a document to satisfy investors; it is a living tool that should be revisited and updated regularly as the business grows and evolves.

By staying committed to the plan and adapting it as needed, restaurateurs can ensure that their culinary dreams have a solid foundation for success.

business plan pop up restaurant

Growth Marketing Manager at Eat App

Saif Alnasur used to work in his family restaurant, but now he is a food influencer and writes about the restaurant industry for Eat App.


Reviewed by

Nezar Kadhem

Co-founder and CEO of Eat App

He is a regular speaker and panelist at industry events, contributing on topics such as digital transformation in the hospitality industry, revenue channel optimization and dine-in experience.

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How to Write a Restaurant Business Plan + Free Template

business plan pop up restaurant

You have cracked the recipe for good food & great ambiance and are planning to start a restaurant, fantastic!

Whether starting a cozy corner cafe, a theme-based fine dining restaurant, or growing an existing one, you will need a restaurant business plan as a roadmap for your business success.

But writing a business plan is complex, isn’t it? That is why we are here with our comprehensive restaurant business plan template to help you in writing yours.

Key Takeaways

  • Highlight the concept of the restaurant along with the ambiance, types of cuisines, customer base, and USPs of the restaurant in the plan.
  • Utilize tools for SWOT analysis to assess your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for making informed decisions.
  • Craft an impactful executive summary that outlines your restaurant’s concept, marketing approach, financial outlook, and team expertise to attract potential investors and partners.
  • Conduct thorough market research to understand market trends, consumer preferences, and the needs of your target market.
  • Analyze the competitive landscape, and identify direct & indirect competitors, to develop strategies that maintain your restaurant’s competitive advantage.
  • To ensure efficient daily operations, provide in-depth operational plans that incorporate staffing, additional services, inventory control, and customer service.
  • Create realistic financial projections for sales revenue, expenses, and profit forecasts while considering contingencies & emergencies.

Why is a restaurant business plan important?

Crafting a restaurant business plan is daunting but its significance cannot be underestimated. It is essential to drive your business toward success.

In the competitive atmosphere where there are 700,000+ restaurants in the USA, having a proper plan will help you get funding and better adaptability in a constantly changing business environment.

Even if funding isn’t a primary concern, a plan provides the restaurant owner or manager with clear direction on how to create actionable strategies for reaching business goals.

Your business plan will also help solidify the viability of the restaurant’s idea and concept.

In short, think of it as a guide for running all the aspects of the business smoothly.

How to write a restaurant business plan: Step-by-Step Guide

Since we are talking about a restaurant business plan; let us walk you through this restaurant business plan outline step-by-step without any delay:

1. Executive summary

An executive summary is the first section and the most significant section of any business plan. It captures the essence of your whole plan summarizing it for a quick understanding of your business.

Think of it as a sneak peek for the readers that draws their attention to the entire restaurant business plan.

You should start your summary with a compelling introduction with the name of your restaurant. It should also focus on the essence of your restaurant concept.

Give a brief overview of your unique selling points, emphasizing what makes your restaurant special. It might be the signature dishes, innovative ambiance, prime location, or some new cuisine experience.

Apart from the above essential points, your executive summary should include:

  • Mission statement
  • Vision statement
  • Execution structure
  • Potential costs
  • Expected return on investment

Many readers will read the executive summary before making a judgment, so if this is all they read, make every word count.

Also, SBA advises to include financial projections in your executive summary if you’re using your business plan to request funding.

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2. Company Overview

Company overview is a part where you fully introduce your restaurant business including legal business structure, location, and your restaurant’s proposed concept.

Here you have the liberty to be a little more creative in describing your restaurant in the whole business plan.

Here are some points to incorporate in the company overview:

  • Detailed vision and mission statement
  • Type of restaurant (fine dining, small restaurant, bistro, cafe, etc.)
  • Legal business structure
  • Service style
  • History and background of the restaurant (if existing)
  • Owners’ names and qualifications
  • Cusinies & menu highlights
  • Restaurant size and seating capacity
  • Operating hours & meal plans
  • Related service availability (delivery, catering, etc)

Mainly emphasize the chosen location because easily accessible locations with high foot traffic will attract more walk-in customers. And if you haven’t decided on a specific location yet, then mention the type of place you are looking for to give an idea about it to your readers.

Besides, mention the short-term and long-term goals of your restaurant business in the later part of the company description. Along with that mention regional industry trends and your USPs.

business plan pop up restaurant

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3. Market analysis

The market analysis section provides you with a clearer picture of your target market, competitors, and industry trends.

Based on the above details, one can make informed decisions while creating strategies. Therefore, make this section precise and concise to understand.

Here are some steps to follow to write an engaging market analysis section of the restaurant business plan:

  • Define your customer base: Identify and describe whom you are going to serve. Make a consumer base after considering the demographics, location, and concept of your restaurant.
  • Competitive analysis: List out the names of other restaurants in your location and do the SWOT analysis. You can get the competitive advantage of your restaurant this way.
  • Market trends: Discuss any shift in consumer behavior like healthy choices, an increase in vegan food consumption, or technological breakthroughs that might affect your restaurant.

Consider conducting market research, TAM-SAM-SOM analysis , and SWOT analysis to get insights for this section.

Remember, this section helps your readers and potential investors understand your target market, restaurant market overview, market size, and growth potential, so make sure you play your cards right.

4. Sample Menu

The most vital step in launching your restaurant business is the menu. A well-curated menu design will sell itself for your restaurant. Even if you are a new restaurant, then present the sample menu with the name and logo of your restaurant on it.

The menu will showcase all the unique offerings your direct competitors might not provide. Not just the list of cuisines but the pricing is also crucial. This way potential investors and readers can understand your restaurant’s target price point.

Plus your menu should be in sync with target customers; for example, a restaurant near the university should contain more beverages and delicious food options for brunch as students prefer those things more.

Consider your menu as a part of branding, choose the same theme for the menu as for the restaurant.

5. Restaurant Design

Restaurant design is the part where you can show your restaurant concept to potential investors and readers practically. Moreover, create a mood board to explain things smoothly.

Utilize this section to show the uniqueness of your restaurant, and how it is different from competitors.

Explain how your design represents your restaurant’s branding and visual identity. Furthermore, mention how your target market will enjoy and appreciate the ambiance you plan to provide.

Note that restaurant design is one of the key elements to running a successful restaurant, so match the theme and cuisines accordingly.

In this section, you also have to provide a detailed description of how many seats are going to be there along with the floor plan of your restaurant.

6. Management Team

As the name suggests, the management team section of your restaurant’s business plan introduces restaurant owners, key executives, and the management team. It also incorporates the experience, qualification, and restaurant industry knowledge of every individual who is on the team.

A strong management team section can be essential to weigh authority and help potential investors be confident about your restaurant’s idea and vision.

You might consider including the following information in the management team section:

  • Business owner or founder’s information
  • Executive chef and culinary team
  • Front-of-house manager
  • Operations and back-of-house team
  • Advisors/consultants
  • The organizational structure of the team

Showcase how each member fits and what roles & responsibilities they will play.  You should include a resume-styled summary for each person in the restaurant’s management section.

7. Operations Plan

The operations plan section outlines the daily business processes and activities centered on achieving the restaurant dream and objectives described in the rest of the plan.

A detailed operations plan helps you and your team define your responsibilities, daily tasks, and short-term goals you need to achieve, keeping track of your long-term objective.

Here are a few key elements to include in your operations plan section:

  • Staffing and training
  • Operating hours
  • Operational process
  • Tools and equipment
  • Inventory control
  • Technology and software
  • Quality control measures
  • Customer service policies

Remember it should incorporate all important daily tasks. Also, an operations plan is a living document, you can change it often according to the change in the dynamics of the work.

Read More: The Ultimate Guide to Restaurant Operations Planning

8. Marketing Plan

Even with great food, prices, and ambiance, you won’t attract enough diners without marketing.

Thus, a well-crafted restaurant marketing plan is necessary to spread awareness and build a strong brand presence.

The marketing plan can help you streamline your marketing efforts and create impactful and effective marketing campaigns while keeping track of the projected budget and maximizing return on investment.

Hence, this is the section in which you give an idea to your potential investors about how you will acquire new customers and retain existing ones. This section should include:

  • Target market and their dining habits
  • Branding and positioning
  • Marketing strategies (website, social media accounts, etc.)
  • Marketing Calendar
  • USPs of your restaurant (unique ambiance, amiable staff, new cuisines in the local area)
  • Your marketing goals
  • Customer retention strategies (loyalty program, giving coupons or discounts on bulk orders or events)

Even if you are going to hire a PR agency for marketing, then mention it and the reason why you chose them.

After taking care of marketing, let us move further to finances.

Read More: Step-by-Step Guide to Restaurant Marketing Plan

9. Financial Plan

The financial plan is the most crucial and demanding section of any business plan. It is one of the deciding factors for potential investors, banks, or any financial institute to invest in your restaurant business.

This section of your plan details your restaurant’s financial information and how it will reach its financial goals or how much revenue potential it has.

Here are key components and statements that you should include in your financial plan section:

  • Pro forma profit and loss statement
  • Break-even analysis
  • Balance sheet
  • Sales forecast
  • Detailed cost analysis
  • Cash flow projections
  • Business ratios
  • Funding request
  • Tax considerations
  • Exit strategy

Before you create financial projections, know how many seats the restaurant will have and what services you plan to provide. This will help you in making realistic financial projections if you are going to start a new business.

Also, if you are asking for funding, then mention where you will utilize your funds.

We hope that this sample restaurant business plan will provide you with an idea for writing a successful plan.

Restaurant Industry Highlights 2024

  • Growth forecast : National Restaurant Association predicted US restaurant sales to reach $898 billion in 2022 which would further grow by 4% yearly to reach $1.2 trillion by 2030.
  • Technology is everywhere : Automation is helping staff maximize their efficiency by handling orders, deliveries, and communication effectively.
  • Sustainability & ethical sourcing : Eco-friendly practices such as minimizing food waste, avoiding single-use plastics, and ethical plus local sourcing are encouraged by customers.
  • Delivery is the new deal : People prefer deliveries over dining out as they are time-saving. So, there is an incline in the number of delivery apps and delivery services providing restaurants.
  • Kiosks are the preference : The number of people who prefer ordering and paying through kiosks is increasing due to the convenience.

How to Refine & Present a Restaurant Business Plan

Once you have written your entire business plan, it is time to read and re-read it and make it error-free. You have to be confident about every aspect of the plan before you present it in front of your audience.

Moreover, alter your plan to suit different audiences to enhance your communication. For instance, keep your plan professional and include all the growth potential, profitability, and ROI data when you present your restaurant business plan for seeking funding.

Also, when you present your restaurant business plan to potential partners or vendors, emphasize collaboration benefits and how it can help in their individual growth.

Apart from the above points, make sure your plan has various engaging visuals, interactive elements, and enhanced storytelling to present all the data interestingly. Thus, make a digital presentation of your plan to incorporate all the above things clutter-free.

Once you are confident, it is time to email your plan to the people already on your mind. And give a pat to yourself for finally taking that step.

Download a sample business plan for a restaurant

Ready to kick-start your business plan writing process? And not sure where to start? Here you go, download our free restaurant business plan pdf , and start writing.

This intuitive, modern, and investment-ready template is designed specifically for restaurants. It includes step-by-step instructions & examples to help in creating your own restaurant business plan.

The Quickest Way to turn a Business Idea into a Business Plan

Fill-in-the-blanks and automatic financials make it easy.


Related Restaurant Resources

  • Restaurant Marketing Plan
  • Restaurant Financial Plan
  • Restaurant Operations Plan
  • Restaurant Industry Trends

Discover how Upmetrics can help you write a business plan

With Upmetrics, you will receive step-by-step guidance, customizable templates, 400+ sample business plans , and AI assistance to streamline your business planning process.

In fact, if you are not adept with finances, the financial forecasting tool Upmetrics provides will help you create realistic financial forecasts for 3 or more years.

Whether you’re starting a new venture or looking to grow one, Upmetrics offers the resources and insights you need to develop a successful & professional business plan that aligns with your goals.

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Frequently asked questions, why do you need a restaurant business plan.

A solid business plan is an essential tool for anyone looking to start or run a successful restaurant business. It helps to get clarity in your business, raise money, and identify potential challenges while starting and growing your business.

How to get funding for your restaurant business?

There are several ways to get funding for your restaurant business, but self-funding is one of the most efficient and speedy funding options. Other options for funding are:

  • Bank loan – You may apply for a loan in government or private banks.
  • Small Business Administration (SBA) loan – SBA loans and schemes are available at affordable interest rates, so check the eligibility criteria before applying for it.
  • Crowdfunding – The process of supporting a project or business by getting a lot of people to invest in your business, usually online.
  • Angel investors – Getting funds from angel investors is one of the most sought startup options.

What is the easiest way to write your restaurant business plan?

A lot of research is necessary for writing a business plan, but you can write your plan most efficiently with the help of restaurant business plan samples and edit it as per your needs. You can also quickly finish your plan in just a few hours or less with the help of our business plan software .

Can a good restaurant business plan help me secure funding?

Indeed. A well-crafted restaurant business plan will help your investors better understand your business domain, market trends, strategies, business financials, and growth potential—helping them make better financial decisions.

What's the importance of a marketing strategy in a restaurant business plan?

Marketing strategy is a key component of your restaurant business plan. Whether it is about achieving goals or helping your investors understand the return on investment—an impactful marketing strategy is the way to do it!

Here are a few pointers to help you understand the importance of having a marketing strategy:

  • It provides your business an edge over your competitors.
  • It helps investors better understand your business and growth potential.
  • It helps you develop products with the best profit potential.
  • It helps you set accurate pricing for your products or services.

About the Author

business plan pop up restaurant

Vinay Kevadiya

Vinay Kevadiya is the founder and CEO of Upmetrics, the #1 business planning software. His ultimate goal with Upmetrics is to revolutionize how entrepreneurs create, manage, and execute their business plans. He enjoys sharing his insights on business planning and other relevant topics through his articles and blog posts. Read more

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Download How to Write a Restaurant Business Plan + Free Template

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Restaurant Business Plan Template

Written by Dave Lavinsky

how-to-start-a-restaurant (1)

If you want to start a restaurant or expand your current one, you need a business plan.

Over the past 20+ years, we have helped over 5,000 entrepreneurs and business owners create business plans to start and grow their restaurants. On this page, we will first give you some background information with regards to the importance of business planning. We will then go through a restaurant business plan step-by-step so you can create your restaurant’s business plan today.

Download our Ultimate Restaurant Business Plan Template here >

What Is a Restaurant Business Plan?

A restaurant business plan provides a snapshot of your restaurant business as it stands today, and lays out your projected growth plan for the next five years. It explains your business goals and your strategy for reaching them. It also includes market research, information about your target market, and a sample menu to support your winning restaurant business plan.

Why You Need a Business Plan for a Restaurant

If you’re looking to start a restaurant or grow the existing restaurant you need a business plan. A restaurant business plan will help you secure funding, if needed, and plan out the growth of your restaurant in order to improve your chances of success. Your restaurant business plan is a living document that should be updated annually as your company grows and changes.

Sources of Funding for Restaurants

With regards to funding, the main sources of funding for a restaurant are bank loans and angel investors. With regards to bank loans, banks will want to review your restaurant business plan and gain confidence that you will be able to repay your loan and interest.

To acquire this confidence, the loan officer will not only want to confirm that your financials are reasonable. But they will want to see a professional restaurant business plan. Such a plan will give them the confidence that you can successfully and professionally operate a business.

The second most common form of funding for a restaurant is angel investors. Angel investors are wealthy individuals who will write you a check. They will either take equity in return for their funding or, like a bank, they will give you a loan. Private equity groups are also a good source of funding for restaurant chains looking to expand further.

Finish Your Business Plan Today!

How to write a restaurant business plan.

Use the following restaurant business plan template which includes the 10 key elements for how to write a restaurant business plan that will help you start, grow, and/or secure funding for your business.

Executive Summary

Your executive summary provides an introduction to your restaurant business plan, but it is normally the last section you write because it provides a summary of each key section of your business plan.

The goal of your Executive Summary is to quickly engage the reader. Explain to them the type of restaurant business you are operating and the status; for example, are you a startup, do you have a restaurant that you would like to grow, or are you operating a chain of restaurants?

Next, provide an overview of each of the subsequent sections of your business plan. For example, give a brief overview of the restaurant industry. Discuss the type of restaurant you are operating. Detail your direct competitors. Give an overview of your target customers. Provide a snapshot of your marketing plan. Identify the key members of your team. And offer a financial analysis of your business.

Company Overview

In your company analysis, you will provide a brief description of the type of restaurant you are operating.

For example, are you writing a small restaurant business plan or a business plan for a restaurant franchise. Further, you might operate one of the following types:

  • Fine Dining : characterized by the fancy decor, a dress code, and high prices
  • Casual Dining : offers waiter/waitress service in a nice (but not overly fancy) atmosphere with moderate prices
  • Fast Casual : characterized by quality food (close to the quality of casual dining) but no waiter/waitress service in an accessible atmosphere
  • Fast Food : quick service style provided at the counter or via a drive-through. Lowest quality food and lowest prices
  • Steak Restaurant : focuses on steak entrees and is usually a higher priced and fancier restaurant
  • Buffet Restaurant : may or may not offer waiter/waitress service. Patrons serve themselves from buffet food selection
  • Ethnic Restaurant : focuses on a specific ethnic cuisine such as Indian food, Mexican food, or Moroccan cuisine.

Within these types of restaurants, there are also ethnic food specialties such as American, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Indian, etc.

In addition to explaining the type of restaurant you operate, the Company Analysis section of your restaurant business plan needs to provide background on the business.

Include answers to questions such as:

  • When and why did you start the business?
  • Your mission statement and how it connects to your restaurant’s brand.
  • What milestones have you achieved to date? Milestones could include sales goals you’ve reached, new restaurant openings, etc.
  • Your legal business structure. Are you incorporated as an S-Corp? An LLC? A sole proprietorship? Explain your legal structure here.

Industry Analysis

In your industry analysis, also called a Market Analysis, you need to provide a market overview and an overview of the industry.

While this may seem unnecessary, it serves multiple purposes.

First, researching the restaurant industry educates you. It helps you understand the target market in which you are operating.

Secondly, research can improve your strategy particularly if your research identifies market trends. For example, if there was a trend towards speedy restaurant services, it would be helpful to ensure your business plan calls for take-out or other quick-service options.

The third reason for market research is to prove to readers that you are an expert in your industry. By conducting the research and presenting it in your business plan, you achieve just that.

The following questions should be answered in the industry analysis section of your restaurant business plan:

  • How big is the restaurant business (in dollars)?
  • Is the market declining or increasing?
  • Who are the key competitors in the market?
  • Who are the key suppliers in the market?
  • What trends are affecting the industry?
  • What is the industry’s growth forecast over the next 5 – 10 years?
  • What is the relevant market size? That is, how big is the potential market for your restaurant? You can extrapolate such a figure by assessing the size of the market in the entire country and then applying that figure to your local population.

Customer Analysis

The customer analysis section of your restaurant business plan must detail the customer base or target market you serve and/or expect to serve.

The following are examples of customer segments: business executives, college students, sports enthusiasts, soccer moms, techies, teens, baby boomers, etc.

As you can imagine, the customer segment(s) you choose will have a great impact on the type of restaurant you operate. Clearly, baby boomers would want a different atmosphere, pricing and sample menu options, and would respond to different marketing promotions than teens.

Try to break out your customers in terms of their demographic and psychographic profiles. With regards to diner demographics, include a discussion of the ages, genders, locations, and average income levels of the new customers you seek to serve. Because most restaurants primarily serve customers living in the same city or town, such demographic information is easy to find on government websites.

Psychographic profiles explain the wants and needs of your target customers. This should also include how your customers choose where they should eat, their dining habits, and how much they are willing to spend on a meal.

The answers to the following questions should be included in your customer analysis:

  • Who is your target market?
  • What are their needs and wants?
  • How do they make dining decisions?
  • What motivates them to choose one restaurant over another?

The more you can understand and define these needs, the better you will do in attracting and building customer loyalty.

Finish Your Restaurant Business Plan in 1 Day!

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Competitive Analysis

This competitive research should help you identify the direct and indirect competitors that your business faces and then focus on the latter.

Direct competitors are other restaurants.

Indirect competitors are other options that customers have to purchase from you that aren’t directly competing. This includes restaurants, supermarkets, and customers preparing dishes for themselves at home. You need to mention such competition to show you understand that not everyone frequents a restaurant each day.

With regards to direct competition, you want to detail the other restaurants with which you compete. Your greatest competitors will be restaurants located very close to your specific location, who are of the same type (e.g., fine dining, casual dining, etc.) and who offer the same cuisine (Japanese, Italian, etc.).

For each such competitor, provide an overview of the other businesses and document their strengths and weaknesses. Unless you once worked at your competitors’ businesses, it will be impossible to know everything about them. But you should be able to find out key things about them such as:

  • What types of repeat customers do they serve?
  • What menu items do they offer?
  • What is their pricing (premium, low, etc.)?
  • What are they good at?
  • What are their weaknesses?

With regards to the last two questions, think about your answers from the existing customers’ perspective. And don’t hesitate to find out this information from customers by reviewing your competitors’ Yelp listings and other review pages.

The final part of this section is to document your areas of competitive advantage. For example:

  • Will you provide superior food items?
  • Will you provide menu items that your competitors don’t offer?
  • Will you make it easier or faster for customers to acquire your meals?
  • Will you provide better customer service?
  • Will you offer better pricing?

Think about your unique selling points that will help you outperform your competition and document them in this section of your business plan.

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Marketing plan.

Traditionally, a marketing plan includes the four P’s: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. For a restaurant business plan, your marketing plan should include the following:

Product : in the product section you should reiterate the type of restaurant that you documented in your Company Analysis. Then, detail the specific menu items you offer/will offer.

Price : Document the prices. Essentially in the product and price sub-sections of your marketing plan, you are presenting the menu items you offer and their prices.

Place : Place refers to the location of your restaurant. Perform a location analysis and mention how the location will impact your success. For example, is your restaurant located next to a heavily populated office building, or gym? Discuss how your location might provide a steady stream of customers. Also, if you operate or plan to operate food trucks, detail the locations where the trucks will operate.

Promotions : the final part of your restaurant marketing plan is the promotions section. Here you will document how you will drive customers to your location(s). The following are some promotional methods you might consider:

  • Making your restaurant’s front store extra appealing to attract passing customers
  • Search engine marketing and optimization
  • Social media posting/advertising
  • Advertising in local papers and magazines
  • Reaching out to local bloggers and websites
  • Local radio advertising
  • Banner ads at local venues

Operations Plan

While the earlier sections of your restaurant business plan explained your goals, your operational plan describes how you will meet them.

This section of your restaurant business plan should have two key elements as follows:

  • Everyday short-term processes include all of the tasks involved in running your restaurant such as serving customers, procuring supplies, keeping the restaurant clean, etc.
  • Long-term goals are the milestones you hope to achieve. These could include the dates when you expect to serve your 1,000th customer, or when you hope to reach $X in sales. It could also be when you expect to hire your Xth employee or launch a new location.

Management Team

To demonstrate your restaurant’s ability to succeed as a business, a strong management team is essential. Highlight your key players’ backgrounds, emphasizing those skills and experiences that prove their ability to grow a company.

Ideally, you and/or your team members have direct experience in the restaurant business. If so, highlight this experience and expertise. But also highlight any experience that you think will help your business succeed.

If your team is lacking, consider assembling an advisory board. An advisory board would include 2 to 8 individuals who would act like mentors to your business. They would help answer questions and provide strategic guidance. If needed, look for advisory board members with experience operating restaurants and/or successfully running small businesses.

Financial Plan

Your financial plan should include your 5-year financial statement broken out both monthly or quarterly for the first year and then annually. Your financial statements include your income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statements.

Pro-Forma Profit & Loss Statement / Income Statement

An income statement is more commonly called a Profit and Loss statement or P&L. It shows how much revenue you expect to earn or have earned, and then subtracts your costs to show your actual or projected profit.

In developing your income statement, you need to devise assumptions. For example, will you serve 100 customers per day or 200? And will sales grow by 2% or 10% per year? As you can imagine, your choice of assumptions will greatly impact the financial forecasts for your business. As much as possible, conduct research to try to root your assumptions in reality.

Pro-Forma Balance Sheets

While balance sheets include much information, to simplify them to the key items you need to know about, balance sheets show your assets and liabilities.

For instance, if you spend $250,000 on building out your restaurant, that will not give you immediate profits. Rather it is an asset that will hopefully help you generate profits for years to come. Likewise, if a bank writes you a check for $100.000, you don’t need to pay it back immediately. Rather, that is a liability you will pay back over time.

Pro-Forma Cash Flow Statement

Your cash flow statement will help determine how much money you need to start or grow your business and make sure you never run out of money. What most entrepreneurs and business owners don’t realize is that you can turn a profit but run out of money and go bankrupt.

For example, let’s say a company approached you with a massive $100,000 catering contract, that would cost you $50,000 to fulfill. Well, in most cases, you would have to pay that $50,000 now for ingredients, supplies, equipment rentals, employee salaries, etc. But let’s say the company didn’t pay you for 180 days. During that 180-day period, you could run out of money.

In developing your Income Statement and Balance Sheets be sure to include several of the key costs needed in starting or growing a restaurant:

  • Location build-out including design fees, construction, etc.
  • Cost of equipment like stoves, refrigerators, blenders
  • Cost of ingredients and maintaining an adequate amount of supplies
  • Payroll or salaries paid to staff
  • Business insurance
  • Taxes and permits
  • Legal expenses

Attach your full financial projections, detailed cost analysis and/or break-even analysis in the appendix of your business plan along with any supporting documents that make your plan more compelling. For example, you might include your store design blueprint, location lease, or initial menu design.

Taking the time to write your own restaurant business plan for your business is a worthwhile endeavor. It will help you communicate your ideas and provide potential investors with the information they need to make an informed decision about investing in your restaurant.

A well-crafted business plan will also give you a road map for growing your business and achieving your long-term goals. So, while it may take some time to put together, it will be well worth the effort in the end.

If you follow the restaurant business plan template above, by the time you are done, you will truly be an expert. You will really understand the restaurant business, your competition, and your existing customers. You will have developed a marketing plan and will really understand what it takes to launch and grow a successful restaurant concept.

Want more tips? Check out our related articles:

  • How to Start a Restaurant
  • Restaurant Startup Costs: How Much Does It Cost To Start a Restaurant?
  • How To Write a Restaurant Marketing Plan + Template & Examples
  • How To Get Funding To Start and/or Grow Your Restaurant

Restaurant Business Plan Template FAQs

What is the easiest way to complete my restaurant business plan.

Growthink’s Ultimate Restaurant Business Plan Template allows you to quickly and easily complete your restaurant business plan.

Where Can I Download a Free Restaurant Business Plan PDF?

You can download our restaurant business plan PDF template here . This is a restaurant business plan template you can use in PDF format.

Where Can I Find a Small Restaurant Business Plan PDF?

Our small restaurant business plan PDF is a free resource to to help you get started on your own small restaurant business plan.

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Restaurant Business Plan Template

Written by Dave Lavinsky

Restaurant Business Plan

You’ve come to the right place to create your restaurant business plan.

We have helped over 100,000 entrepreneurs and business owners with how to write a restaurant business plan to help them start or grow their restaurants.

Below is a restaurant business plan template to help you create each section of your business plan.

Restaurant Business Plan Example

Executive summary, business overview.

Bluehorn Restaurant & Steakhouse is a new restaurant and steakhouse located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The menu of Bluehorn Restaurant & Steakhouse will include bistro-type dishes that are authentically created and crafted by acclaimed Chef Peter Logan. It will be located in the trendy part of town, known as the Plaza District. The restaurant will be surrounded by classy art galleries, live theater, high-end restaurants and bars, and expensive shopping.

Owned by emerging restaurant operators Chef Peter Logan and Anastasia Gillette, Bluehorn Restaurant & Steakhouse’s mission is to become Oklahoma City’s best, new restaurant for patrons to celebrate their next big event, have a nice date night, or gather with friends or family for a fun evening while dining over finely crafted entrees, desserts, and cocktails.

Products Served

The following are the menu items to be offered by Bluehorn Restaurant & Steakhouse:

  • Soups & Salads
  • Gourmet sides
  • Wine, Beer & Spirits

Customer Focus

Bluehorn Restaurant & Steakhouse will target adult men and women between the ages of 21 – 65 with disposable income in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Within this demographic are millennials, young professionals, newlyweds, young families, more established families, and retirees. Because of the pricing structure of the menu, the patrons will likely be upper middle class to the wealthy population of Oklahoma City.

Management Team

Bluehorn Restaurant & Steakhouse is owned and operated by fellow Oklahoma City natives and culinary enthusiasts, Chef Peter Logan and Anastasia Gillette. Both come with a unique skill set and complement each other perfectly. They formerly worked together at another OKC fine dining establishment and made a great team for serving guests delectable food and wine while ensuring the highest level of customer service.

Chef Peter will manage the kitchen operations of Bluehorn Restaurant & Steakhouse, while Anastasia will oversee front of the house operations, maintain and ensure customer service, and manage all reservations.

Financial Highlights

Bluehorn Restaurant & Steakhouse is seeking $300,000 in debt financing to open its start-up restaurant. The funding will be dedicated for the build-out and design of the restaurant, kitchen, bar and lounge, as well as cooking supplies and equipment, working capital, three months worth of payroll expenses and opening inventory. The breakout of the funding is below:

  • Restaurant Build-Out and Design – $100,000
  • Kitchen supplies and equipment – $100,000
  • Opening inventory – $25,000
  • Working capital (to include 3 months of overhead expenses) – $25,000
  • Marketing (advertising agency) – $25,000
  • Accounting firm (3 months worth and establishment/permitting of business) – $25,000

business plan pop up restaurant

Company Overview

Bluehorn Restaurant & Steakhouse is a new restaurant and steakhouse located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Bluehorn Restaurant & Steakhouse will serve a wide variety of dishes and beverages and will cater to the upper middle class to wealthier population of Oklahoma City. The menu of Bluehorn Restaurant & Steakhouse will include bistro-type dishes that are authentically created and crafted by acclaimed Chef Peter Logan. It will be located in the trendy part of town, known as the Plaza District. The Plaza District is one of Oklahoma’s trendy neighborhoods and is considered the “it” area for newlyweds, millennials, professionals, and young singles. The restaurant will be surrounded by classy art galleries, live theater, high-end restaurants and bars, and expensive shopping.

Owned by emerging restaurant operators Chef Peter Logan and Anastasia Gillette, the restaurant’s mission statement is to become the best new steak restaurant in OKC. The following are the types of menu items Bluehorn Restaurant & Steakhouse will serve- shareables, steaks, soups, gourmet sides and salads.

Bluehorn Restaurant & Steakhouse History

Bluehorn Restaurant & Steakhouse is owned by two Oklahoma City natives, Chef Peter Logan and Anastasia Gillette. They have both worked around the country in fine dining establishments and have a combined twenty years in the restaurant industry. Upon working alongside each other at another fine dining establishment in Oklahoma City, the two of them became good friends and decided to venture into owning their own restaurant.

Chef Peter is the kitchen guru and critically acclaimed chef, while Anastasia manages the front of the house and is a certified Sommelier. Together, with both of their expertise and knowledge, Bluehorn Restaurant & Steakhouse is destined to become Oklahoma City’s next big restaurant.

Industry Analysis

The Restaurant industry is expected to grow to over $220 billion in the next five years.

Consumer spending is projected to grow. The Consumer Confidence Index, a leading indicator of spending patterns, is expected to also grow strongly, which will boost restaurant industry growth over the next five years. The growth in consumer confidence also suggests that more consumers may opt to segment their disposable income to eating outside the home.

Additionally, an increase in the number of households earning more than $100,000 annually further contributes to the industry growth, supporting industry operators that offer more niche, higher-end products.  This group is expected to continue to grow in size over the next five years.

The urban population represents a large market for the industry. Specifically, time-strapped individuals living in urban areas will likely frequent industry establishments to save time on cooking. The urban population is expected to increase, representing a potential opportunity for the industry.

Customer Analysis

Demographic profile of target market, customer segmentation.

Bluehorn Restaurant & Steakhouse will primarily target the following customer profile:

  • Upper middle class to wealthier population
  • Millennials
  • Young professionals
  • Households with an average income of at least $75k
  • Foodies and culture enthusiasts

Competitive Analysis

Direct and indirect competitors.

Bluehorn Restaurant & Steakhouse will be competing with other restaurants in Oklahoma City. A profile of each competitor is below. The Press Located in the trendy area known as the Plaza District, The Press has reimagined our favorite foods of the surrounding regions through the lens of home.

The menu consists of appetizers, soups, burgers and sandwiches, bowls, main dishes, sides, desserts, and a large selection of alcoholic beverages. The Press serves craft beer, domestic beer, wine spritzers, house cocktails, wine, and mimosas. They also offer brunch. The menu of The Press is affordable with the most expensive dish being $16. The wine menu is also not pretentious as the wine is sold either by the glass or bottle, with the most expensive bottle being $52 for the Gruet Sparkling Brut Rose. Oak & Ore Oak & Ore is a craft beer and restaurant in OKC’s Plaza District. They have a 36-tap beer selection and offer vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free dining options. Oak & Ore offers a rotating, 36-tap selection of their favorite brews from Oklahoma and around the world. Each beer is thoughtfully paired with a craft beer-inspired dining experience.

The food menu of Oak & Ore offers starters, salads, wings, fried chicken, sandwiches, tacos, banh mi, and sides. They also have a selection of kids dishes so the whole family can enjoy comfort food while sampling one of their delectable beers.

The Mule OKC The Mule is a casual, hip restaurant offering a large beer and cocktail menu plus sandwiches and more. Located in the constantly growing and buzzing hub that is the Plaza District, The Mule takes the timeless favorite and contorts it into a whole menu of wild offerings.

There is also a fantastic assortment of soups offered and The Mule shakes up a seasonal list of cocktails designed by their bar staff. During the winter months, patrons can stave off the cold with their versions of hot toddies and buttered rum. For the beer drinkers, they always have a reliable line-up of fresh cold brews on draft, as well as a wide selection of can.

Competitive Advantage

Bluehorn Restaurant & Steakhouse offers several advantages over its competition. Those advantages are:

  • Gourmet dishes elegantly prepared to the finest standard.
  • Selection of steaks sourced from local Oklahoma farms.
  • An exclusive and unique wine menu that includes a wine selection of all price points.
  • Highly sought after location: Bluehorn Restaurant & Steakhouse will be located in the trendy and attractive neighborhood known as The Plaza District.
  • Trendy, welcoming, and energetic ambiance that will be perfect for a night out or a celebration.

Marketing Plan

Promotions strategy.

The marketing strategy for Bluehorn Restaurant & Steakhouse is as follows: Location Bluehorn Restaurant & Steakhouse’s location is a promotions strategy in itself. The Plaza District is a destination spot for locals, tourists, and anyone looking for the trendiest food fare in Oklahoma City. The Plaza District is home to OKC’s most popular bars and restaurants, art galleries, theaters, and boutique shopping. The millennials, young professionals, and foodies will frequent Bluehorn Restaurant & Steakhouse for the location itself.

Social Media Bluehorn Restaurant & Steakhouse will use social media to cater to the millennials and Oklahoma City residents. Chef Peter and Anastasia plan to hire an advertising agency to take professional photographs of the menu items and location to create appealing posts to reach a greater audience. The posts will include pictures of the menu items, as well as upcoming featured options. SEO Website Marketing Bluehorn Restaurant & Steakhouse plans to invest funds into maintaining a strong SEO presence on search engines like Google and Bing. When a person types in “local fine dining restaurant” or “Oklahoma City restaurant”, Bluehorn Restaurant & Steakhouse will appear in the top three choices. The website will include the full menu, location, hours, and lots of pictures of the food, drinks, and steaks. Third Party Delivery Sites Bluehorn Restaurant & Steakhouse will maintain a presence on sites like GrubHub, Uber Eats, Doordash, and Postmates so that people looking for local food to be delivered will see Bluehorn Restaurant & Steakhouse listed near the top.

Operations Plan

Operation functions:.

The company will hire the following:

  • 4 sous chefs
  • 2 bartenders
  • 2 hostesses
  • The company will hire an advertising agency and an accounting firm


Bluehorn Restaurant & Steakhouse aims to open in the next 6 months. The following are the milestones needed in order to obtain this goal.

7/1/202X – Execute lease for prime location in the Plaza District.

7/2/202X – Begin construction of restaurant build-out.

7/10/202X – Finalize menu.

7/17/202X – Hire advertising company to begin developing marketing efforts.

8/15/202X – Start of marketing campaign

8/22/202X – Final walk-thru of completed restaurant build-out.

8/25/202X – Hire team of sous chefs, servers, and bussers.

9/1/202X – Decoration and set up of restaurant.

9/15/202X – Grand Opening of Bluehorn Restaurant & Steakhouse

Bluehorn Restaurant & Steakhouse will be owned and operated by Chef Peter Logan and Anastasia Gillette. Each will have a 50% ownership stake in the restaurant.

Chef Peter Logan, Co-Owner

Chef Peter Logan is an Oklahoma City native and has been in the restaurant industry for over ten years. He was trained in a prestigious Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Academy in San Francisco and has worked in some of the nation’s most prestigious fine dining restaurants. His tenure has took him from the west coast to the east coast, and now he’s back doing what he loves in his hometown of Oklahoma City.

Chef Peter will manage the kitchen operations of Bluehorn Restaurant & Steakhouse. He will train and oversee the sous chefs, manage inventory, place food inventory orders, deal with the local food vendors, and ensure the highest customer satisfaction with the food.

Anastasia Gillette, Co-Owner

Anastasia Gillette was born and raised in Oklahoma City and has garnered over ten years in the restaurant industry as well. While in college, Anastasia worked as a hostess at one of the area’s most prestigious restaurant establishments. While there, she was eventually promoted to Front of the House Manager where she oversaw the hostesses, servers, bussers, bartenders, and reservations. Her passion always led to the beverage portion of the restaurant so she obtained her Sommelier certificate in 2019. With her wine education, Anastasia is able to cultivate an interesting and elegant wine selection for the restaurant.

Anastasia will oversee front of the house operations, maintain and ensure customer service, and manage all reservations. She will also be in charge of the bar and wine ordering, training of front of the house staff, and will manage the restaurant’s social media accounts once they are set up.

Financial Plan

Key revenue & costs.

The revenue drivers for Bluehorn Restaurant & Steakhouse will come from the food and drink menu items being offered daily.

The cost drivers will be the ingredients and products needed to make the menu items as well as the cooking materials. A significant cost driver is the fine dining equipment, serving dishes, and beer and wine glasses. Other cost drivers will be the overhead expenses of payroll for the employees, accounting firm, and cost of the advertising agency.

Funding Requirements and Use of Funds

Bluehorn Restaurant & Steakhouse is seeking $300,000 in debt financing to open its start-up restaurant. The breakout of the funding is below:

Financial Projections

Income Statement

  Balance Sheet

  Cash Flow Statement

Restaurant Business Plan FAQs

What is a restaurant business plan.

A restaurant business plan is a plan to start and/or grow your restaurant business. Among other things, it outlines your business concept, identifies your target customers, presents your marketing plan and details your financial projections.

You can  easily complete your restaurant business plan using our Restaurant Business Plan Template here .

What Are the Main Types of Restaurants?

There are many types of restaurant businesses. Restaurants can range in type from fast food, fast casual, moderate casual, fine dining, and bar and restaurant types. Restaurants also come in a variety of different ethnic or themed categories, such as Mexican restaurants, Asian restaurants, American, etc.  Some restaurants also go mobile and have food trucks.

How Do You Get Funding for Your Restaurant Business Plan?

Restaurant businesses are most likely to receive funding from banks. Typically you will find a local bank and present your business plan to them. Another option for a restaurant business is to obtain a small business loan. SBA loans are a popular option as they offer longer loan terms with lower interest rates.

What are the Steps To Start a Restaurant Business?

1. Develop A Restaurant Business Plan - The first step in starting a business is to create a detailed restaurant business plan that outlines all aspects of the venture. This should include potential market size and target customers, the services or products you will offer, pricing strategies and a detailed financial forecast.  

2. Choose Your Legal Structure - It's important to select an appropriate legal entity for your restaurant business. This could be a limited liability company (LLC), corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship. Each type has its own benefits and drawbacks so it’s important to do research and choose wisely so that your restaurant business is in compliance with local laws.

3. Register Your Restaurant Business - Once you have chosen a legal structure, the next step is to register your restaurant business with the government or state where you’re operating from. This includes obtaining licenses and permits as required by federal, state, and local laws. 

4. Identify Financing Options - It’s likely that you’ll need some capital to start your restaurant business, so take some time to identify what financing options are available such as bank loans, investor funding, grants, or crowdfunding platforms. 

5. Choose a Location - Whether you plan on operating out of a physical location or not, you should always have an idea of where you’ll be based should it become necessary in the future as well as what kind of space would be suitable for your operations. 

6. Hire Employees - There are several ways to find qualified employees including job boards like LinkedIn or Indeed as well as hiring agencies if needed – depending on what type of employees you need it might also be more effective to reach out directly through networking events. 

7. Acquire Necessary Restaurant Equipment & Supplies - In order to start your restaurant business, you'll need to purchase all of the necessary equipment and supplies to run a successful operation. 

8. Market & Promote Your Business - Once you have all the necessary pieces in place, it’s time to start promoting and marketing your restaurant business. This includes creating a website, utilizing social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter, and having an effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy. You should also consider traditional marketing techniques such as radio or print advertising. 

Learn more about how to start a successful restaurant business:

  • How to Start a Restaurant Business

Where Can I Get a Restaurant Business Plan PDF?

You can download our free restaurant business plan template PDF here . This is a sample restaurant business plan template you can use in PDF format.

May 14, 2024


business plan pop up restaurant

ESOPs and Sustainable Restaurant Culture

4 Min Read 5.14.2024 By MRM Staff

Denver-based chef Justin Cucci has long been a champion for sustainability at his farm-to table eateries. To date, he has opened six restaurants and venues, turning a former mortuary, gas station and brothel all into restaurants with globally inspired locally sourced menus. Cucci also wanted to create a sustainable culture for his employees and implemented a self-funded 100-percent employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) so his 325-plus Edible Beats employees will now share in the long-term financial worth of the company.

To learn more about the pros and cons of putting an ESOP into place, Modern Restaurant Management (MRM) magazine reached out to Cucci. 

How did the idea of Employee Stock Ownership originate and why did you want to do it?

The idea had been kicked around almost five years prior to the ESOP transaction, in 2017. We had finished building brick & mortar restaurants, and my advisors asked me to think about a succession plan and look ahead to the next chapter of the restaurants. 

Initially there were only two routes to take. One was to sell the restaurant group to a private buyer/buyers or investors, and pretty much take the money and run. The other route was to split the restaurants up into individual entities and try to sell the restaurants piece by piece. Both of those choices felt foreign to me, as I wasn't looking to escape and just peace out, and it also felt like it would short change many of the awesome humans that helped me build the restaurants, and grow them.

So when I found out about an ESOP transaction, it really felt like everybody involved would win, basically a wIn-win-win. My family and I would be able to reap the rewards over time, of selling the restaurants to the employees, and at the same time, as seeing the restaurants through as a legacy and long-term business decision.

Additionally, the employees would win, since there is no money needed from the employees, to achieve being an ESOP, and they would share in any and all growth of the restaurant, and the financial gains.

Finally, the guests/community would win, by supporting an employee-owned business that keeps its gains in the local economy, supporting local businesses and individuals.

business plan pop up restaurant

What was the process and challenges of implementing the plan?

The process was incredibly complex, and very expensive. The initial cost is almost $500,000 to get all of the pieces in place, and create the plan documents, and submit it to the government agency that oversees it. It requires a large team of lawyers, consultants, CPAs, bookkeeping, and bankers, in addition to a Third-Party Administrator and a Trustee.

The biggest challenge might have been the timing, and how that affected financing (or lack thereof) which was the post COVID years of 2021/2022. There was very little to zero support from banks that I had been with for 15 years, and not only was it impossible to get the funds to pay for the ESOP, but many of the loans we had, were called in, since the bankers felt that we were in a high credit risk industry. So, the transaction became even more complex as we sought to pay for the transaction internally, and to essentially do an owner carry note on the loan.

How does it work and what was initial response from employees?

An employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) is an employee benefit plan that gives workers ownership interest in the company in the form of shares of stock.

From day one, employees were both very interested in understanding the benefits, and structure of the ESOP, and how each employee would benefit from the transaction. At the same time, it is a very complex mechanism that takes time to build value, as a business grows, and as we pay down debt. Essentially an ESOP is a big picture plan that can double as an employee's retirement account. So, employees were sometimes confused at how their own contribution could affect the ESOP and benefit their shares.

ESOPs are a slow build, and grow gradually, then suddenly as the business builds value, pays down debt, and increases profitability.

What lessons have you learned in the time it’s been in place?

We have learned many lessons, as a young ESOP. Mostly that we cannot do too much outreach to employees to help them truly understand the structure, vesting and payout of their shares.  We figured out that an ESOP committee was a strong engine of communication, and we created one that had three members from each of our five restaurants. One hourly FOH employee, one hourly BOH employee, and one salaried manager. 

We also learned that financial education is critical for employees to truly understand what brings value and how they can affect that value. We created "ESOP Boards" for each restaurant, that tracks multiple categories in our gross weekly margin, and gives the staff a much clearer picture of the machinations of each restaurant.

How has the plan affected staffing and retention?

There's no doubt retention has increased because of it, but not at the level we would have liked. We still are having turnover that sometimes seems excessive. And though we know of many employees that are connected to Edible Beats in a much deeper way, because of the benefit programs we have, and due to the fact that we are employee owned. 

But in our industry, there is a transient nature to the hourly employees, and they sometimes struggle to see the big picture, and do not always possess the patience to see the ESOP through to fruition.

What do you think other restaurant owners can learn from your example?

I hope that other restaurateurs are willing to look into the pros and cons of an ESOP, there are too few true employee-centric plans that favor the contributions of the employee. ESOPs do just that and there’s zero cost to the employees. 

business plan pop up restaurant

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9 places to nosh on bagels in southern Maine

From old-school spots to foodie favorites, there's a 'hole' lot to try.

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business plan pop up restaurant

Bread and bagels at The Works Cafe in downtown Portland. Photo by Aimsel Ponti

From New York-style boiled bagels to Montreal-inspired wood-fired ones, there’s lots of great bagels in southern Maine and several shops have the accolades to back that up.

In 2023, Bon Appetit named bagels from Rose Foods and Rover Bagel among the best in the country.

Two years before that,  Food & Wine Magazine put Rover, Forage and Scratch Baking Co. on its list of best bagels in the U.S.

Whether you like yours toasted with cream cheese or as the bread for your breakfast sandwich, you can find plenty of styles and flavors from Biddeford to Brunswick.


The offerings at Beach Bagels include a French toast and marble bagel, and the cream cheese menu comprises spreads like strawberry, olive and honey walnut. Along with breakfast sandwiches, Beach Bagels has hearty breakfast options like omelets and pancakes. Best of all, you’re steps away from a beach stroll. Just don’t let the seagulls steal your bagel. Advertisement

WHEN: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily WHERE: 34 Old Orchard St., Old Orchard Beach. ______________

Dutchman’s opened in 2022 as a pop-up housed at Nomad pizza in Brunswick’s Fort Andross building. It’s since become a permanent fixture there and uses the pizzeria’s wood-fired ovens to bake its bagels. The hand-shaped, honey-boiled bagels come in plain, roasted garlic, poppy and a bagel-of-the-day flavor.

WHEN: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday to Sunday WHERE: Fort Andross, 14 Maine St., Brunswick. ______________


Making bagels at Forage Market involves a two-day aging process. The bagels are naturally leavened with wild yeast starter and baked next to a hardwood fire. There are usually five flavors available, including sesame and garlic. Breakfast sandwiches (including vegan options) are available. Forage also has a location in Lewiston. Advertisement

WHEN: 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday WHERE: 123 Washington Ave., Portland. _____________


There are 10 or so Mister Bagel locations in Maine, including South Portland and Falmouth. It all began with the Portland location, which was the first bagel shop to open in Maine. The late Rick Hartglass started Mister Bagel in 1977, and it is still a family business. Music fans will appreciate the breakfast sandwich menu, which includes The David Bowie (bacon, egg and American cheese), the Jimmy Buffett (egg with roast beef and cheddar) and The Lady Gaga (avocado, salt and pepper, with or without egg).

WHEN: 6:30 a.m. to noon Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to noon Saturday and Sunday WHERE: 599 Forest Ave., Portland. ______________

At Rose Foods, the menu varies depending on the day, but there are usually six to eight flavors available. For example, should you pop in on a Friday, you’ll find a poppy and onion bialy (a cousin of the bagel that is not boiled). Rose Foods also makes a number of bagel sandwiches, including the Classic Nova with Nova lox and the Classic Whitefish. Advertisement

WHEN: 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily WHERE: 428 Forest Ave., Portland.



At Rover Bagel, you’ll find wood-fired plain, poppy, sea salt, sesame and everything bagels available most of the time, and the spread game here is strong with cream cheese options like lemon-thyme-honey cream and chili-garlic.

WHEN: 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon Sunday WHERE: 10 West Point Lane Suite 10-204, Biddeford (Pepperell Mill).

______________ Advertisement


You haven’t lived until you’ve experienced the line of devoted fans waiting for Scratch Baking Co. to open, especially on weekend mornings. Along with the popular Maine sea salt, plain and other everyday flavors, Scratch has a daily special bagel. There’s honeyed rosemary on Wednesday and jalapeno cheddar on Thursday. Scratch is also famous, at least to locals, for its P-Cheese spread. It’s a pimento cheese recipe made with cheddar, mayo, roasted red peppers and seasoning and was passed down to co-owner and head baker Allison Reid by her grandmother, Mern.

WHEN: 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday, 7 a.m. to noon Sunday WHERE: 416 Preble St., South Portland. ___________


The Maine Bagel is a drive-thru with several breakfast and other kinds of sandwiches available. With a bagel list that features egg and bialy among the standards, the family-owned spot is the perfect place to stop on your way to Pine Point Beach. The Maine Bagel really shines with a dozen kinds of cream cheese spreads, including raisin-walnut, lox, strawberry, cranberry-nut and bacon-chive.

WHEN: 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. WHERE: 117 Route 1, Scarborough. Advertisement


The Works Cafe is an institution on the edge of the Portland’s Old Port. It opened in 1990 as Bagel Works before it changed its name in 2002. The original shop in this regional chain opened in Manchester, Vermont, in 1988, and there are 11 locations around New England, though just the one in Maine. Gone are the ’90s-era banana-walnut bagels and cold pizza cream cheese, but The Works Cafe is still a reliable place to grab a salt, multigrain or cinnamon raisin bagel, among others. The menu also has bowls, sandwiches and smoothies.

WHEN: 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily WHERE: 15 Temple St., Portland.

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