Have Pop-Up Restaurants Had Their Day?

people eating and smiling

Or Is This a Tangible Way to Drive Covers for Independent Hotels within the SME Market in the UK?

Pop-up restaurants and eateries have become popular in the culinary world, offering an exclusive dining experience. As the restaurant landscape continues to evolve, it’s worth looking at whether pop-up restaurants still have the same appeal and effectiveness in driving covers for independent hotels within the SME (Small and Medium-sized Enterprises) market in the UK. Is their appeal still there, or is public intrigue waning?

Pop-up restaurants emerged as a response to the growing desire for novelty and experiential dining. As the name suggests they are temporary establishments in unusual places that can last a night, a week, or a few months. It is a great way for chefs to hone their culinary skills and bring out new cuisine ideas captivating consumers to try something new and unique.

The trend has become so popular that even big brands like Starbucks and McDonald’s launch pop-ups on a variety of occasions. With the power of social media promoting these locations, host venues have seen increasing awareness, footfall and potential for future visits. In fact these experiential events have become so popular, research suggests that’s CMO’s will be diversifying their 2023 marketing budgets, moving away from traditional ad spend, and instead using that budget to support different kinds of experiential events.

So how could independent hotels benefit from choosing to team up with a temporary pop up restaurant or eatery?

1. Increased Revenue: Hosting a pop-up restaurant can attract both local diners and hotel guests. Driving additional covers and generating revenue that might not have been achieved through traditional hotel dining alone.

2. Enhanced Reputation: Collaborating with well-known chefs or rising culinary stars for a pop-up event can enhance the hotel’s reputation, drawing attention from food enthusiasts and creating positive word-of-mouth buzz.

3. Marketing and Branding Opportunities: Pop-up restaurants often generate significant media coverage and social media engagement. This can increase the hotel’s visibility and serve as a powerful marketing tool, reaching new audiences and potentially attracting future guests.

4. Flexibility and Adaptability: Pop-up restaurants allow hotels to test new dining concepts and menus without committing to a permanent change. This flexibility enables them to experiment and respond to changing consumer preferences more swiftly.

While the concept of pop-up restaurants offers exciting prospects, there are challenges that need to be considered when planning an experience. The operational challenges require significant coordination, from securing appropriate licensing and permits to coordinating with chefs, suppliers, and staff. This can add complexity and strain on resources for independent hotels with limited personnel. The cost consideration of launching a pop-up restaurant needs to be taken into consideration as it involves some level of upfront investment, including marketing expenses, equipment rentals, maybe even potential remodelling of current space.

The biggest challenge operators need to think about is the market saturation of pop ups. Whilst consumer interest in experiences isn’t waning, the competition has expanded from pop up eateries to other temporary experiences such as such as pop up spa treatments, meditation and guest yoga classes. Some hotels have even teamed up with collaboration companies and offer temporary co-working spaces for local hybrid workers to come together.

Overall, the hotel industry is constantly evolving and 2023 continues to bring lots of interesting trends from pop up co-working spaces to even pop up hotels themselves, think the Marriot at Coachella and the pop up ice hotels in Iceland.

By listening to their customers independent SME hotels can leverage pop-up experiences, as an effective tool to drive footfall and enhance their brand. This will ensure they remain competitive in the market and continue to provide an excellent service to their guests.

If you would like to discuss marketing ideas and other ways to increase footfall to your hotel, lets have a chat.