You may have seen re-purposed shipping container shop or Pop Up Café and even Pop Up restaurants around in your nearby in an Event or a festival. That’s true, they are made of cargo shipping containers that are usually made for transporting goods from location to location. As our world is becoming more environmentally friendly and many businesses can’t afford the high rent prices, the idea of setting up shipping container shop has gain ground among savvy entrepreneurs. Getting started in Los Angeles, now it has started opening up in Canada, China, Japan, Australia, Mexico, Germany and France and very recently in Dubai.
You will find these shops near airports, street corners, at events, and they can include anything from restaurants, Café/Bar, retail store, gallery, trade show, exhibition booth and more.
I understand that the concept of using containers for your project might seem daunting. Fear not! These structures are standard ISO shipping containers with standard height and length and they are not changed usually. They come in 10, 20 and 40ft as standard sizes. But you can design it as per your specs, but there are some things to consider initially. You should know that containers are stack-able and can be attached together and walls cut out, given the load-bearing capacity of a container is located in its corners. But it will need reinforcement. And if you’re looking to do add a second level to your venue, ADA access should be considered. But these are things that should be solved during the design/engineering stage.
And about the shipping container concept, I can give you a simple formula:
Mobility = affordability, creativity, promotion = Profit
Why? Let me explain you more.
One of the main concern among entrepreneurs when starting new business is the location. There is no guarantee of the location you’ve chosen will be successful. At this point, container Shop or Pop Up Café made of shipping container come in use. It’s low-risk. You can easily launch a container shop which might help to lower your cost. It reduces the risk. And furthermore, you would no longer need to tie yourself into costly rentals. This is one reason to its growing popularity. This is also a great advantage if you want to take your show to events, festivals and crowded squares.
This is what companies and franchises are interested in. You may have seen that Puma, Adidas, Nike are using shipping container Shops frequently. The Pop Up Retail Store is a great way to promote your products and display your brand and put your name on the map during a short span of time. As such, they are also called experimental.
But there are mostly the entrepreneurs, those who want to test the waters in key markets before diving into a brick-and-mortar, using this method to understand their audience and their location.
These container shops are supposed to be temporary, because things are more exciting that way. It moves on to invite new customers with a different zip code. But it can be permanent as well. Because they are built as per building codes.
And the issue is not stopped at retails stores. Some of the chefs have started with this business to increase their popularity of food among the people. Pop Up restaurant is a creative way to let the customers taste your food and know your Restaurant name.
Pop up cafe is also increasing in popularity as entrepreneurs can find a more affordable option to start up their business. But also for those already running Café/Bar, Pop Up Café gives the franchise, Café owners a cost effective opportunity to open a new branch. They give you the portability and durability, provide you the option to relocate it whenever you need to anywhere without requiring the removal of the contents. It’s quick deployed and quick folded, within 30 minutes!
But if you ask me why I’m the fan of Pop Up Café, it’s because of it rocks the events. You can attend crowded events and festivals and rock with the people, fun with them, serving them while enjoying the parties.
They are fun, outstanding and generate customers. What I have experienced as I have gone to many events and expos, I have found that the Pop Up Shops, Pop Up Café have given the event and the venue, an extra face, adding value to it.
Another issue we should address is within the Pop Up concept itself. We should do a comparison between the Shipping container shop/Pop Up Café vs. the traditional Pop Up concept.
You may have experienced that with traditional Pop Up structures, many events venues will not allow you to activate without proper permit. Your structure is open to elements, clunky, and dated. No power or other amenities including heating, cooling, running water or lights.
But shipping container shop/ Pop Up Café or Restaurant are permitted based on the municipality and venue requirements when they are built.
Can be air conditioned and arrives completely turnkey and ready-to-go. The power and plumbing would need to be connected to the city grid, but can have mobile tank & generators.
In addition, the Shipping container concept promotes your brand, it’s safe and vandal proof.
So, with the growing popularity of pop up containers, a businessman can use this as a way of promotion. Pop up restaurants and pop up bars are popularizing as people now want some new ambiance for hangouts or chill outs. The changing environment keeps on exciting the people and customers. The community also gets benefited by these pop up stores. They get the latest fashion for a very short period of time. So, the customers have to be quick while purchasing the products. The staff members are there for a personal selling purpose. So, for a businessman this is a great idea for expanding their business.
And finally, how should I start my business?
First of all, you have to secure the lot you’re going to set up your Pop Up. You have to get the approval from the local authorities.
If you’re going to set up a Pop Up Café or Restaurant, there are some issues to be addressed. You have to get permit from the local Health Department. If you’re setting up a permanent, then the codes are quite strict as you’re serving food and beverages to people. As such, the screens, the material of counter top, the flooring, walls, windows, dry storage must be made of cleanup surfaces and treated materials in order to be compliant with HD requirements. That have an impact on building cost but that is the cost required for any type of retail or food & beverage store.
In addition, you’ve to pour a simple foundation and bring the utilities (gas, water, power, drainage) to the site with assistance of a contractor. That site/civil work usually cost you like any other retail store or business you’re going to run.
The Design and production is made by the shipping container conversion company and delivered to site. As it comes to the site, it will be in a complete ready-to-go condition. Once you connect the utilities, you would be able to start your trade. The entire process to my experience would be about 12 weeks from concept to installation on site.
Again, the difference is that you’ve done a great benefit. Besides all the advantages mentioned in this piece, you will avoid any huge rental in compare to your competitors. This is a rental free option to your business.
Written by: Enver Bajrami