Daily Archives: December 16, 2014

The World of Pop Ups

As many of you know I am launching my all-day brunch concept in the New Year and the best way to get started and test my ideas and concept without committing to any long leases are POP UPS.

So I researched a bit…

I have been to a number of pop up events ranging from fine dining to back-to-the-roots suppers in a tipi tent.

But what is actually a pop up?

Pop ups can be anything, anywhere and anytime (i.e. pop up markets, cinemas, fairs, cocktail bars, shops, etc). By my definition, pop ups use empty or under-used spaces, are temporary with clear start and end dates, can be easily dissembled and transferred to a different site and are in some way special and exciting.

Pop up restaurants or supper clubs typically mix food, art, design and/or entertainment to create very special dining experiences around a theme. They can be operated anywhere, whether in your own home, in an old tube wagon, factories, under water, in a prison, the list is endless.

airplanebeginnings 1beginningsIthaa Undersea Restaurant.jpg

















The world of pop up restaurants is diverse, playful and adventurous. They attract the explorers and experience seekers, those who want to get to know new people and mingle. If you prefer to go to the same place every time because the Spaghetti Bolognese is so good, this might just not be your thing I am afraid.

The beginnings

Although pop up restaurants have been around for a long time, I’d say the first mainstream supper club idea came up with the appearance of ’Come dine with me’ in 2005. The TV show encouraged hobby chefs to entertain and share their passion with like-minded foodies – friends, family and strangers – from their own home. Brilliant!


Since then, a lot has happened and the pop up market has gained momentum. With the emergence and increased use of social media, pop ups found a perfect platform to create fellowship and bring themselves out there. There was no holding back anymore when the idea of crowd funding was launched that offered the short-term capital needed to fund start-up costs.

Notable entrepreneurs, chefs, and restaurateurs have also started to open pop-up restaurants now and I am going to try my luck too! 😉


Business Model

One of the defining differences between a pop-up and a more conventional restaurant is permanence. Generally, pop ups move around and are used to test new ideas. In terms of space and rents, from a freeholder point of view it is riskier to offer premises on a short-term lease than on a long-term lease. Hence, to mitigate financial risk, rents are typically higher for pop ups over a given period of time than for businesses on long leases. But this is nothing new and other examples include mobile phone contracts (18 months vs 24 months) and energy contracts (12 months vs 36 months).

For a pop up it does not always make financial sense to fit out a whole new space from scratch for just a few months. Therefore, a secondary market has been created – a rental market for pop up spaces. Many existing bars and restaurants offer residencies and restaurant owners more and more realise that they can generate additional revenues by hosting pop ups, which create publicity at the same time.

A good website to look for pop up spaces include ‘We are pop up’ and ‘Appear Here . And if you want to advertise your pop up events, there are plenty of options including Grub Club and  ‘London Pop Ups’.

Location location location

For me personally location is important but not a determining factor of whether I should go or not. I am quite happy to travel the extra mile for something exciting off the beaten track. However, I think the location needs to be in line with the concept and close to the target market. The location should really resemble who you are, what your concept and food is all about and what message you want to convey to your target audience.


But the nice things is, there do not seem to be any rules when it comes to pop ups.

Creativity is what is possible, not what is right!

Following your Passion – no one said it will be easy!

I was afraid to wake up one day and regretting not having tried, not having given it my best shot in realising my dream!

Everyone has dreams. Everyone has different dreams. Dreams can change over time… They give us a sense of direction, perhaps even a meaning in life to be very philosophical.

It took me about two years and a change in my personal life to build up the courage and leave my job to do what I wanted to do for a long time.  My dream has developed in response to me becoming more and more unhappy about where I was heading. I was getting very stressed all the time and I worked long hours in the office. That is not what I wanted. I could not see myself growing old in what I was doing anymore. I started to reassess my priorities and values and I came to the conclusion that I had to go my own way. And so far my journey has been incredible in so many ways. I honestly believe that it does not matter what age you are or what stage in your life you’re at! It is never too late to change course and do what you really want to do. We only live once.

Finding out what you are passionate about is not always that straight forward! For me, it is similar to falling in love. It cannot be forced but you feel it when you found i, you are willing to take risks and put your heart and soul into it.

Being able to set my own goals every day, play with new ideas and live my passion feels incredibly liberating. But building something of your own is also pretty hard work and can be quite a daunting prospect at the same time! No one said it would be easy. I learnt that it requires a lot of initiative, drive and positive mindset! The latter is the hardest in my opinion..Sometimes I wake up and think ‘what am I doing here? I can just about pay my rent, for the rest I am living off my savings and who knows if this is actually going to work?’

But when everything gets a bit too much and the dream seems to crumble because of self-doubt, I talk to people. I share my ideas and I share my worries. I guess my biggest worry is failure… especially knowing the statistics that about 50% of all small business start ups fail in the first couple of years. Well, that is great encouragement, isn’t it? But that is why I go on seminars, attend workshops, ask for help and advice from others who have gone or are going trough the same. It is good to hear that it is ok to be overwhelmed sometimes and to have doubts although you are doing something you love. It is also good to hear that it is ok to take a break from it once in a while. Those of you who know me well, know I work quite hard and I realise now that this is exactly why I fell out of love with what I was doing before. I burnt myself out! I am keen to not make the same mistake again but nurture my passion.  After all, if I cannot enjoy the journey, I will probably not like what I am creating either.

So when the sun is out, like today, I go for a stroll at Brockwell Park or Clapham Common and I realise how lucky I am. I feel I have grown more over the past two months, than I have over the past two years.




Business Planning Workshop


My fellow entrepreneurs at the CREATE programme







I encourage everyone who has found their passion and who has done their homework, to go for it and enjoy the journey. You cannot lose.


I will soon let you know more about what I have been up to over the past three months, but I can say that much..2015 is going to be super exciting! I am working on a few really cool things and I look forward to sharing those with you in due course.

At this stage, I want to say a big thank you to everyone who believes in me, is part of my journey and let’s me be part of theirs. I am very grateful for all the support and advice I have received and am receiving.

Thank you x





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