In the spotlight: pubs and pop-ups


In the spotlight: pubs and pop-ups

In the spotlight: pubs and pop-ups

Pop-ups may be nothing new but, over the past few years, they've gained traction within the hospitality industry. There are now around 10,500 pop-ups in operation in the UK allowing guests to explore a specific cuisine or food and drink concept as a one-off experience. Pop ups reflect the changing tastes of the modern diner, one who craves a new and exciting dining experience as well as a unique menu.

Once a way to utilise empty urban spaces, the pop-up bar or restaurant has been embraced by pub operators keen to diversify. A wise move, perhaps, considering that 2015 saw the number of UK pubs fall to the lowest level for a decade, while restaurant growth continues. With food-led pubs outperforming wet-led, and research from the Office for National Statistics demonstrating that one in five adults are now teetotal, it's no real surprise that kitchen-takeovers have become a popular option amongst pub operators looking to evolve.

Pop-ups help open pubs up to a new market whilst simultaneously increasing loyalty amongst existing guests by keeping things fresh, interesting and unique. They can be utilised to attract custom on quieter nights or to encourage longer visits and greater spend at peak periods. However, there are also benefits for those behind the pop-up itself. Taking over a kitchen could help a pop-up business cash in on a seasonal location, gain brand recognition and even help to carry out market research before committing to a more permanent location and the higher costs that come with it.

According to The OnTrade Preview 2016, "food is king" as more than half of all pub visits now always involve food, thanks to the casual dining explosion. It makes sense for businesses such as street vendors to team up with pubs to provide an experience that will get guests talking, tweeting, Instagramming and hopefully returning in the future.

With the development of apps such as British Street Food's Pub Takeover (designed to match pubs to street food trader and make it easier for the two to work together), we are expecting the pub of the future to embrace the pop-up wholeheartedly.

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