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Industry Updates

Why Pop-Up Restaurants And Food Halls Are The Future Of Urban Dining Experiences

Written by
Naomi Schettini

Social Eating is Making a Comeback

The Ubers and Lyfts of the world make owning a car in the city essentially unnecessary. Startup companies are popping up everywhere with different variations of the sharing economy whether it be for tools, rental clothing, even cuddling services -- if you can think of it, it probably exists somewhere. Legacy corporations are struggling every day to understand how to get the attention of Millennials, who according to various sources, spend their disposable incomes on experiences and necessities before frivilous luxuries. One of the traditional components of city lifestyles that I am especially excited to watch evolve is the restaurant industry.

Food is a sacred cultural and bonding experience that has become relatively elitist in North America, home of the fast food. In Argentina, during low fluctuation points in the economy, civilians found ways to keep the exceptional dining experience affordable. The solution was called puertas cerradas or “closed door” restaurants - you can think of them as prohibition style restaurants in the personal homes of chefs. In Cuba, this concept goes by the term Paladar.

South Africa is also home to some world-famous underground eating experiences where guests can try the weekly menu prepared by some of the country’s most talented and rising chefs for usually no more than $6 USD according to TripAdvisor. Unfortunately for North American markets, the underground restaurant concept we see in developing countries is not feasible because of current food policy regulations. However, the more realistic alternative is the pop-up restaurant which is already taking off in cities around the US.


Pop-up restaurants are mobile or temporary restaurants also referred to as “supper tables”. They can also be home-based but are licensed and legal. FoodTech startups such as EatWith and Feastly are paving the way for normalizing the underground restaurant and here at BlueCart we cannot wait for the traction to gain momentum. EatWith and Feastly are mostly popular in European and other foreign markets but have some small presence in cosmopolitan US cities that are pioneering the community-building and food-sharing movement.

The pop-up restaurant and similar arrangements allow for a significant decrease in overhead costs for up and coming chefs which will allow so much new and impressive talent to surface and set new standards of food for those who did not have economic access to enhanced restaurant-grade foods before. Right now, the biggest conversations on the future are primarily focused on transportation and the implementation of self-driving cars but I think the scope should expand beyond that - especially to the food industry since the two activities every active human partakes in every day include transportation and eating.

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