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How food businesses are moving away from brick & mortar establishments

27th July 2017 Print

There has been a rise in how many food and drink events are being hosted on the Eventbrite platform each year, the firm has found. In an analysis of more than 40,000 of these events, the organisation has also discovered that the fastest growing trend was that of the pop-up dining experience, due to 82 per cent growth being recorded.

Are those who have set up business in the food industry beginning to move away from brick and mortar buildings? Flogas, which is among the UK’s leading LPG suppliers to businesses, investigates…

The case for street food

Street food has witnessed a significant rise in popularity recently. In fact, UN-FAO statistics claim that street food is now eaten by an estimated 2.5 billion people worldwide and had some 2,800 members with over 7,000 units serving food across the UK as of 2015.

There are plenty of appealing aspects of street food. The produce available is usually inexpensive, for example, while it also provides a nutritional source that is based on traditional knowledge and often follows the seasonality of farm production.

Setting up your street food business doesn’t even require you to make a huge investment. General guidelines suggested by The Hub has detailed that a small second hand catering trailer or market stall could be acquired for under £5,000. A report by the Nationwide Caterers Association acknowledges that a fully equipped market stall can be bought for around £3,000 and a food truck for an estimated £10,000.

Looking into the industry, street food vendor Charlie Morse told Produce Business UK: “Street food as a trend is certainly growing, although it’s still not at the same level as in New York. I think it will die off a little as a trend and then become a normal, everyday offer. A lot of office workers go to street food stalls to buy their lunch and eat something healthy, cheap and different. There are so many trends within food but it works when you consider that people are money conscious and like variety.”

The case for pop-up food

After surveying over 2,000 people who had been to pop-up events, Eventbrite was able to record some interesting findings about this type of dining experience.

Three-quarters of those involved in the survey (75 per cent) said that they didn’t mind paying more money in order to receive a unique dining experience, for example. Around half of respondents also said that they would be happy to pay more for a meal from the exact same menu at a pop-up event where chef interaction is involved as opposed to one served in a regular restaurant.

What are those attending pop-up events looking for? 84 per cent of those involved in Eventbrite’s survey responded to this question by saying they were after a unique theme or menu. This was followed by events held at memorable location (76 per cent) and occasions that promised to be a one-of-a-kind experience (74 per cent).

To establish a unique event in the pop-up food sector though, chef and Co+Lab the pop-up creator Melissa King said that it’s important that this process works as a two-way street. She underlined: “There are so many chefs out there — they have their restaurants, their day jobs, but they’re looking for something more. That’s what the pop-up culture offers them. They are able to take over someone’s space for only a few hours and convert it into their own identity. It’s not just about the food, it’s about creating a memorable experience for the guests.”