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First Things First

Are you a chef wanting to spread your wings in your restaurant but don’t have the start-up capital for buying a full restaurant? Or, do you want your beautiful, 5-star meals accessible to everyone? Then, opening a pop-up restaurant may be just the recipe for success you need. Below, The Shift Life Coach presents some tips and resources that can help make your pop-up restaurant a smashing success.

When you think of getting started with your restaurant, food trucks are a popular option. A food truck includes your kitchen right in your vehicle. But, with a pop-up restaurant, you’re almost like a regular restaurant because you’ve got a dining area, but it may not be a permanent location. For example, some pop-ups are only open “for a certain period of time.” If you rented space from a cafe that only serves breakfast and lunch, your pop-up restaurant could use the space for meals after 5 pm. 

Getting funding for your restaurant is like any other business. However, the benefit is that pop-ups don’t require as much money up front. What’s more, investors are currently drawn to pop-up restaurants because of their appeal to customers.

Next Up, Hiring

Since chefs start most pop-up restaurants and you can’t be in two places at once, you’ll need to hire staff. This means you need to make sure your payroll is in place and set up correctly.

Payroll Steps

Payroll is complex, and it creates quite the mess when you add employees’ earning tips into the mix (if you don’t do it right.) The U.S. Department of Labor says that a tipped employee “regularly receives[s] more than $30 per month in tips.” 

To ensure you stay compliant, make sure you’ve got these things prepared:

  1. Your Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  2. Any state tax ID numbers
  3. A separate bank account used to pay workers and taxes
  4. Employment forms: I-9 and W-4

Setting up your payroll also includes:

  • Creating a payroll schedule.
  • Getting clear on any withholdings for each paycheck.
  • Making sure you’ve got a system in place for managing records.

Make It Simple but Detailed

You’ve got enough to manage with creating your pop-up restaurant, don’t let your payroll setup take you away from those details. Other things to keep in mind include:

  • Besides using an existing restaurant, you can take your pop-up to rooftops or otherwise unconventional spaces. But, of course, you still have to comply with food and restaurant regulations
  • Your kitchen facility. If you’re not using an existing restaurant, you may need a grill, oven, stovetop, a reach-in cooler, and freezer, plus cleaning stations to ensure your space and employees stay clean and sanitized.
  • No matter how beautifully plated and delicious tasting your food, if no one knows about your restaurant, you’re doomed to fail. Instead, create a tactical promotion strategy by knowing your ideal customer and how you want to promote your pop-up to them (social media, email marketing, print flyers).
  • This is especially important to build your identity. When it comes to designing your brand, a logo comes first. But don’t be intimidated by the idea of logo creation. These days, online logo maker tools help SBOs create compelling logo designs with ease. All it takes is adding in the necessary info about your business, and AI features will help generate different logo choices based on your info.
  • Create your menu. Another advantage of a pop-up is that you can experiment with your menu, but you’ve got to create your first menu to get started.
  • Good software. Make sure your restaurant is powered by great software that can help you steer the ship smoothly. Accounting software can help you stay on top of your invoices, keep track of your finances, and help you gather the reports you need in other aspects of your business.

So, now you’ve got some ideas on how to get your pop-up restaurant started by attracting investors, working out the details of payroll, and your setup with location, promotion, and your first menu. While it may feel a bit complicated at first, following these steps can get your pop-up restaurant started in no time.