Shipping crate restaurants are the latest trend in sustainable and eco-friendly food service. These restaurants rely heavily on modified shipping containers to provide a unique ambiance while creating a minimal carbon footprint.
There are many ways to go about opening your shipping crate restaurant. However, here’s a simple step-by-step guide that will walk you through the process of opening up your very own shipping crate restaurant.
1. Start with a Good Business Plan
Opening up a shipping crate restaurant is no simple endeavor, so it’s important that you write out and follow your business plan to the letter if you want to succeed in this competitive industry. First, make sure that you have all the necessary transportation permits for your area. Food trucks and mobile restaurants are heavily regulated in many areas or require special insurance and registration fees. Before setting up shop anywhere, make sure these regulations do not apply to shipping crate restaurants.
If they do, find out how much they will cost before proceeding further. Next, shore up any weak points in your business plan. If you don’t know anything about running a restaurant or want to figure out what types of dishes will work best for your business, hire a consultant or ask your friends and family for feedback. You may also want to bring in an outside investor to help you with the initial costs of opening a shop.
2. Find a Location
Unless you plan to open up your shipping crate restaurant as a food truck (which is definitely on the rise), finding a good location will be crucial to your success. Ideally, you’ll want to find a place that’s moderately populated but not too busy during meal hours (so don’t try setting up shop at lunchtime near an office building).
Try checking out town zoning rules before starting your search–maybe all restaurants are strictly prohibited from your desired location for one reason or another. Make sure that you are also in compliance with local zoning laws, and consider applying for a variance if needed.
3. Get a Customized Shipping Container
The “crate” part of a shipping crate restaurant does not refer to just any old box–it must be made out of high-quality, durable, and weather-resistant steel that has been reinforced and sealed. There are several companies that specialize in designing, engineering, and manufacturing shipping containers and modular equipment for the restaurant industry. They can help you design a custom container to fit your exact needs.
Most containers are modified through cutting and welding. Platforms, stairs, or additional doors may be added as well. Depending on the type of your menu, you might even be able to add a kitchen space. Just make sure that whatever modifications you decide upon will not affect the structural integrity of your custom shipping crate.
4. Find Furniture and Decorations
Customize your shipping crate using furniture and decorations that are easy to move in case you have to relocate at any point. However, you can decorate your new shipping crate restaurant in as many ways as you like. Some restaurateurs have taken the minimalist approach, while others have gone all out with murals, neon signs, and other decorative additions.
4. Let the Fun Begin.
Now that you’ve gone through all the hard work of getting your shipping crate restaurant off the ground, it’s time to get ready for business. Make sure that you have enough tables and chairs–and more importantly, food.
Plan out your menu carefully so that it will be easy for customers to order. Some restaurants even subscribe to a “build your own meal” format where they give their diners several options but charge them one flat price regardless. Remember, customer service will be just as important as good food in this competitive industry if you want your shipping crate restaurant to succeed.
If you are looking for any shipping container modifications, contact IPME. We have a team of experienced shipping container architects who have designed thousands of shipping containers for many clients. We can modify your shipping container to meet any of your needs.