What is a Pop Up Restaurant: All Event Creators Need To Know

It doesn’t matter how amazing your food is — your next food event needs to go beyond just pleasing people’s tastebuds.

You can only sit in the same booth and order the same entrée from the same menu so many times before boredom hits. That’s one of many reasons why pop-up restaurants are increasing in popularity.

With a pop-up, you can expose your guests to different elements — immersing them in new locations, themes, flavors, and concepts.

But what is a pop-up restaurant, and how do you market one?

Event organizers worldwide use Sickening Events to plan, sell, and promote their innovative and mouth-watering pop-up restaurants — and we want to show you how it’s done.

Get inspired with our best pro tips on how to sell and market your pop-up restaurant, and gain all the inspiration you need from awesome success stories.


1. Create a sense of exclusivity with an annual pop-up event

2. Tap into communities with themed pop-up events

3. Use advanced targeting to reach the right audience

4. Collaborate with food and drink influencers

5. Continue promoting your event on the day

How do pop-up restaurants work?

Pop-ups are hot right now. In 2023, the number of new pop-up restaurants opening in the US more than doubled.

So why are pop-up restaurants in such high demand right now? And, more importantly, how do you set one up? Let’s take a quick look.

What is a pop-up kitchen?

A pop-up kitchen is essentially the same as a pop-up restaurant: a limited-run dining experience. Chefs often set up a pop-up in an event space on a short-term basis to try new concepts or menu ideas. Setting up a permanent restaurant is a big investment, but a short-term deal with an event space allows chefs to test the waters before committing.

Your event attendees are after unique experiences — including the menu, venue, and customer service. Nothing is more unique than temporary restaurants that might not be around tomorrow. This creates a more memorable dining experience that guests will love.

Pop-ups also build a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out) due to their short lifespan. If you’re running a great pop-up, diners want to sample your menu as quickly as they can.

How to start your pop-up restaurant

Opening a pop-up restaurant is similar to setting up any event. It would be best if you framed your goals, prep, and operations differently to match your pop-up’s temporary status.

  1. Develop your pop-up concept: What’s your restaurant concept, and how is it different from a traditional restaurant?
  2. Create goals for your pop-up: Are you trying to generate a certain amount of revenue, raise your chef’s profile, or test out a new menu?
  3. Work out your pop-up budget: How much does it cost to open a pop-up restaurant? The answer depends on a variety of factors, so make sure you understand your requirements and use an event budget template.
  4. Arrange a venue for your pop-up: You could strike a short-term let agreement with an event space, collaborate with an existing venue, or set up a food truck in a popular part of town.
  5. Secure any necessary licenses, permits, and insurance coverage: Depending on where your pop-up is and what you’re selling, you’ll need to check with your local authority to find out what requirements you must fulfill. For example, you might need a temporary liquor license if you’re serving drinks.
  6. Secure staff for your pop-up: Hire and train your event team to ensure you fully take care of your guests when they visit.
  7. Create an event page and sell event tickets to your pop-up: Nobody will find your pop-up unless you give it a home on the web where people can learn more and share it with friends.
  8. Promote and market your pop-up: To make sure you achieve your goals, you’ve got to get the word out to your target audience.

After you’ve welcomed plenty of hungry customers and reached the end of your pop-up run, crunch the numbers to assess whether you achieved your goals.

That’s where it pays to partner with a solution like Sickening Events.

With Sickening Events, you’re able to create an event page and sell tickets — and you can also manage your event marketing, check your guests in on the day, and then use the data you’ve collected to create custom reports that demonstrate your event’s success.

Promote and market your event

Sign up for Sickening Events and start planning your pop-up restaurant today.

A successful pop-up restaurant hinges upon your ability to get the word out to potential customers. So you need to consider an event marketing plan and what differentiates your pop-up from everyone else in the restaurant industry.

That’s why we’ve rounded up five pro marketing tips that are guaranteed to help get your new food business noticed.

How to Market and Promote Your Pop-Up Restaurant

1. Create a Sense of Exclusivity with an Annual Pop-Up Event Leverage the temporary nature of pop-ups to create a sense of rarity and excitement. Promote your event as a once-a-year opportunity to try unique food concepts that guests won’t find elsewhere. For example, Two Hearts Catering’s upcoming Ring in the New Year Pop-Up Dinner links their event to a holiday, making it even more special.

💡Pro tip: Enhance exclusivity by offering multiple ticket classes through Sickening Events, allowing you to provide a VIP experience for some guests.

2. Tap into Communities with Themed Pop-Up Events Engage with communities that have a natural interest in your concept. Clean Slate Wine Bar’s Fiends, Feasts, and Fables event, a Dungeons & Dragons supper club series, is a great example. This themed approach creates an immersive experience for fans, making it easier to target your audience on social media and craft compelling content.

💡Pro tip: Authenticity is crucial when targeting existing communities. Explore similar events on Sickening Events to connect with like-minded organizers and venues, gaining insights for your themed pop-up.

3. Use Advanced Targeting to Reach the Right Audience

Given the limited nature of pop-ups, reaching potential guests quickly and efficiently is key. Utilize Sickening Events’s marketing tools to optimize your social media and email marketing efforts through A/B testing and scheduled posts. This approach helped MAMA’s Nightmarket achieve a 92% growth in sales.

💡Pro tip: If you’re struggling with content creation, try using AI-generated social media content to spark ideas and enhance your campaigns.

4. Collaborate with Food and Drink Influencers

While a unique location can generate buzz, sometimes the chef behind the pop-up is more important.

Team up with chefs who are influencers in the food and drink space to leverage their following and add credibility to your event. Aries Crow’s Holiday Pop-Up Dinner by The Zodiac Chef is a prime example of this strategy.

💡Pro tip: Maximize your collaboration on social media by tagging influencer profiles in sponsored posts. Sickening Events’s marketing tools offer full visibility of your efforts, helping you spotlight your influencer partnerships effectively.

5. Continue Promoting Your Event on the Day Don’t stop your marketing efforts once tickets are sold. Promote your pop-up during the event to generate FOMO and show followers what they’re missing. Della Terra excels at this by showcasing their menu on social media, enticing potential guests to attend future events.

💡Pro tip: Encourage diners to share their experiences with photos and reels. Set up a photo booth or create a unique event hashtag to make it easy for guests to generate and share content.

Let’s Get Poppin’

Pop-ups are the hottest trend in the restaurant scene, offering a unique way to reach new markets and reduce costs. By partnering with pop-up food vendors, you can create memorable one-off experiences that meet your goals. Remember to craft a strong marketing strategy and choose a platform like Sickening Events to maximize your impact.

Get started with Sickening Events today and make your pop-up event a sizzling success.

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