Handling the Post Popup Blues

It’s a wrap! Your food popup is over. Your guests are full and happy. The crockery as clean as a whistle. You’ve locked the doors. You’re home – you settle down for a nightcap, it’s time to relax.

But then the sadness creeps in. It feels a bit like Boxing Day. Is it all over? After all that effort? It’s common to feel a little empty / lost / lacking direction or low after your popups have ended. Let’s cheer things up and see what we can do next!

PS. Not feeling the blues? Book yourself another food popup now!

Take Stock

Obviously you can do a stock take if you want (and you probably should). But, we’re talking about being honest about how well it went.

Write down what went well. And don’t forget – be honest – what didn’t go well? Seriously.

Did you sell enough covers? Were you prepared to for the day? What would have made things better / easier / faster? Did you sell out too soon?

What Could You Improve?

I’m sure there’s probably some smart saying about self-improvement that could be inserted here but I’m on a tight time-budget, OK?

Finding the things you could improve will have the singularly biggest impact on your success as a popup food chef. You obviously need to know what you’re really good at.

It’s ok to be generous with the truth on your Instagram feed. But, behind the scenes – know your weakness(es).

Nail The Good Stuff

Ok, so you’ve got yourself a list of improvements. Nice work big boy. Now you should focus on what went really well. Not what went really well in your mind. Winners focus on what went really well in your customer’s minds!

You can ask them during the popup or check their Instagram. Even ask for feedback after the event if you have their email.

If your thing is big fat juicy vegan burgers. Make big fat juicy vegan burgers like a boss, every time. Don’t deviate, unless your customers stop ‘customering’.

How Was The Venue?

If no-one turned up, how was your marketing? Did you invite enough people? Was the venue not suitable for your food? If you’re [stuck] outside, was the weather crap? Or just no passing trade.

As we’ve said before, free is not necessarily good. Not all venues are created equal – you need to choose the right one for your food and audience.

Momentum

Yeah, that’s right. You might have just finished one popup but you gotta keep the train moving. Once it’s moving, it should keep on moving. But you’ve got to stoke that fire.

Figure out what you kind of venue you really want, find it and freaking book it. If you’re stuck – call us.

Perched upgrades this July

We’ve been beavering away behind the scenes to make Perched the best experience for chefs to book popup venues. Here’s the lowdown this sunny July.

Maps are here!

Searching for the right venue for your food popup just got a load easier. We’ve added a handy (not-so) little map to the search results so you can see exactly where your popup’s going to be.

Search for popup venues for hire using the new map feature

Smart Pricing

For venue operators, you can now enable the smart-pricing feature that adjusts the price of your space dynamically. Using machine learning, our clever boffins have figured out a way to maximise the cost of hiring a space. It’s good for you and for the chefs who are looking to hire popup spaces.

smart pricing makes booking popup venues easier

New Profile Pages

The profile pages are faster than ever & easier to read. We’ve added better pricing information, there’s a carousel to showcase your venue too. You’ll also find a much improved map to help you locate the venue. Things have really changed!

New profile pages make hiring a popup venue faster and easier

Super-charged Bookings

It’s now much easier to choose your dates and book a venue with the latest upgrades to the booking engine. You’ll find it easier to manage your forthcoming bookings too.

Popup venues for hire in London and beyond!

Your Concierge

You can now chat live with your very own concierge. They’re available to guide you through the process, discuss the details and get you on your way to popup heaven!

More Coming Soon!

There’s a load of new features coming soon, stay tuned.

Share the joy of cooking

We’re pleased to announce the arrival of the Perched Referral Program! Sharing is caring and all that.

You can earn up to £75 per referral! And there’s no limit to how many pals you can recommend.

How does it work?

For every friend you refer who signs-up, you’ll receive a credit on your account.

If you recommend a friend who adds a venue, you’re set to receive a £75 credit when someone books their venue!

If you recommend a friend who’s a chef, you’ll receive a £25 credit when they book a venue.

What are credits?

Credits are added to your account when your friends sign up and book popup venues. You will receive your credits after each successfully popup event.

There are two ways you can redeem them. Firstly, if you’re a chef and want to book a venue, your credit will be automatically applied to the booking.

If you’re a venue, you’re credits will be added to your commission so you earn more money from each booking.

Where can I my invite code?

Head over to perched.at/invites to get started!

Starting a food popup: advertising your event

You’ve decided on a date for your popup and booked a venue. The event is soon approaching. How can you get people to turn up?! There’s plenty still to do.

In this post, we’ll discuss a few known ways to get some punters in for a night or longer. You should be advertising your events around 4 weeks before they start.

Instagram to the MAX

We’re going to assume you’ve got an account. You do right?! If not, please go sign-up for one, now. Shame on you 😉 Instagram is the place for food popups, supper clubs etc.

Fill your profile with shots of your food. Everything you cook, put it up. Take nice beautiful pictures too. A decent camera makes a massive difference. Get the lighting right, set the scene.

At some point, you’re going to run out of inspiration. That’s normal – there’s a limit to the number of times you can photograph your dessert right?

Start to fill your feed with your popup / supper club journey. If you’re just starting out, it’s fun to include meeting the venue, designing your menu etc. Here’s some ideas!

  • Record the journey to your chosen popup venue
  • Photograph, the inside, kitchen, the seating etc!
  • Preparation of your menu
  • Researching new food concepts
  • Receiving deliveries
  • Getting stuff printed
  • Travelling to your popup

Go all out, put it all on there. Use hashtags – research these thoroughly. Figure out what people are tagging. Use them. Seriously. Tag other food bloggers, mention them. Make it fun.

Food Bloggers – Make New Friends

Food bloggers are your friend. Find them on Instagram or Twitter. Reach out to them directly, tell them what you’re doing and make sure your idea is compelling. (You should do that anyway.)

Invite them to your event, just give them plenty of notice – they have a lot of food to eat. You don’t need to give them free stuff. However, if they’ve been helping you… give them free stuff! That’s just polite.

Ask them if they can feature your food on their feeds, blogs and Twitter. Don’t be shy. Thank them.

Twitter

Not the best medium for food pics, considering Instagram is the Queen. However, Twitter is great for advertising events, like food popups!

Tweet your event regularly, but not too much. And use hashtags, just like Instagram.

Invite people along, maybe offer them something free if they buy a ticket. It’s up to you!

Event Sites

Selling tickets is a really great way to figure out demand. And also you’ll get some cash up front. Site like Eventbrite work well but don’t forget: selling the tickets isn’t enough – you also need to advertise the fact you’re selling them / doing the event.

Create the event on [insert ticketing site]. Then get on Instagram and Twitter and advertise the hell out of it.

Your food won’t sell itself – you need to sell and promote it.

Aside from Instagram and Twitter, you can also advertise your event on other sites. Many of the chefs we’ve hosted have had success advertising on The Nudge. You could give them a shot.

Ask the Venue

Depending on where you’ve booked, it’s totally fine to ask the venue for help.

Usually they’ll have a bigger Instagram following than you, unless you’re kind of a big deal!! Ask them to promote your event – after all, if your event is a success, they’ll a success too.

Talk to Perched

That’s right! Drop us a line and ask us to write a blog about your popup. We’ll add you to our Instagram feed too. And, we might event do a tweet or two for you.

Useful links

Event Listings and Tickets:

Food blogs

Instagram stars

That’s a wrap

We hope you found this useful. If you did, you should checkout our other blogs about starting and running popup events.

Should food popup venues be free?

Should I pay or not? That is the question when it comes to food popups, supper clubs and residencies.

The answer is neither yes or no, it’s completely dependent on multiple factors.

Free ain’t always good.

Most of the venues we speak to offer two different prices for their venue. Free venues are a great way to start but are they the future of your business? There’s no such thing as a free lunch after all.

Food Popups & Supper Clubs

Looking to hire a venue for a single evening for your supper club? Then, you’ll expect to pay for the space.

The average price right now is around £250 per night for a 20-30 seat venue. For that price, everything’s included, including the kitchen and dining area. You might even get some staff! Usually the venue will close it’s doors for you for the night.

Food Residencies – Takings Share

If you’re looking for a venue for a longer-term food residency, lots of venues will let you have the place for free. In return, they’ll usually ask for 10-25% of your takings.

This pricing structure works fine with smaller venues and it’s great for offsetting your risk if you’re just starting out. If you don’t get any customers for a week, your pockets will be lighter but not completely empty.

In reality the percentage the venue takes won’t make them much. Instead, most popups structured like this will make their money from the alcohol sales.

That’s the one major downside – the wet sales really add up and you won’t benefit at all.

Renting a venue

You can of course find venues that will rent you their space for longer periods – usually 3 months at a time. The average weekly price for these venues is £500 per week.

The downside being the upfront costs. You’ve usually got to fork out the whole block up front. Sometimes there’s a deposit. If you have a bad week, you’ve still got to pay.

On the positive side, the venue will pretty much be yours – you’ll get a set of keys. You open up and close for the day.

100% of the takings from the food will be yours – the alcohol sales will be yours too!

Best of all? It’ll make your Instagram look even more awesome.

These types of venues aren’t usually suitable for new ventures. However, if you’ve found your feet, they’re the perfect step before jumping into a commercial lease.

Things to negotiate.

Wet sales – you might be able to negotiate a percentage of the alcohol sales if you’ve chosen a venue that wants a takings share.

Staff – someone who knows the venue is invaluable. See if the venue will include someone to help out.

Point of sale – for short-term popups, the venue might ask you to use their till system. Make sure you ask how and when you’ll get your money back.

Cleaning – you expect the venue and kitchen to be clean before you start. And you’re expected to clean up after too. This is one thing the venue won’t forget if you mess up.

Turn your venue into a popup kitchen

Learn how you can turn your venue into a successful popup restaurant.

Food popups have been on trend for a while now and there’s no sign of this easing up. Turning your venue into a popup friendly location will drive traffic and increase revenue. And it’ll make you look cool too.

Here’s a few tips about setting your venue free from the daily grind.

1. Choose your days

You don’t have to open your doors to popup chefs everyday. Rather, you’re better off deciding which days work best for your venue.

Consistency is king here. If you’re going to open on Monday evening, make sure you have a popup running regularly on Monday. People like regularity.

Some venues suit Mondays only. Some work all week, it’s totally up to you.

2. What kind of chefs?

You’ve decided on the days, now what kind of popup events do you want to run?

  • Short-term food residencies – a week or more of the same chef
  • One-off food popups – chefs using your space only once
  • Supper-clubs – usually a private event – your doors will be closed

You can swap and change these to suit. Start with one and change later if it’s not working for you.

Some venues even run multiple food residencies at once! Checkout the food residencies at The Nun’s Head in Peckham – they have a different chef on different nights. Highly recommended that you don’t start with this, build up to it.

3. Allocate some space

You’ll be letting popup chefs use your venue to the max, including the kitchen. You’ll need to be comfortable with chefs in your space, using your stuff.

If you’re going to make this a regular thing, you’ll want to look at allocated dedicated space for the chefs. This might include giving them a cupboard or some space in your fridge.

If you have any space, let them store their kit (if they ask).

4. Decide your rental price

You can either charge a one-off fee / weekly rental or do a takings share. Or a combination sometimes works really well.

Free isn’t always better… By offering your venue for nothing, you’re essentially saying your venue is cheap & disposable. As a result, some chefs might be less inclined to turn up on time, or at all!

Before you set your price, have a look at other similar venues in your area and see what they’re doing.

Be reasonable. There’s a limited number of seats in your venue and it’s unlikely the chefs will max them out everyday. If you’re doing a takings share, don’t forget that they’ve got to have a reason to do the popup too.

5. Set your terms

Unless you’re totally carefree about who’s cookin’ in your kitchen (don’t be), you’re going to want to set a few terms and conditions. You’re best using a lawyer to do this. Or, if you book them chefs via Perched, we’ll do this for you.

The terms are there to protect you, your business and the chefs. You should agree on these with the chef before they start their popup.

6. Find some chefs!!

You can obviously use a service like Perched to find chefs looking for a popup kitchen to hire! Now that you’ve figured out what you’re looking for, you can see who’s out there.

However, if you want to do this manually, the best way to get started is with friends and family. Everyone’s got a friend who’s a chef – see how it goes casually to start.

We highly recommend reaching out to other chefs who are cooking food you like. There are fabulous popup sites like London Popups that’ll give you bags of inspiration! You could even contact the venues directly and ask for feedback etc.

7. Hey presto!

That wasn’t so bad was it! Now your venue is ready and you’ve chosen some chefs, the fun begins…. We will discuss this in another blog post.

Notes

There’s a few other things to consider. We’re going to cover the logistics of running a food popup later on.

Be smart about the chefs

If you’re hidden round the corner, with limited footfall you’ll want to avoid first time chefs with limited experience or customers. Instead, focus on attractive supper club chefs or those hosting ticketed events. Just because you’re hidden doesn’t mean it won’t work.

New vs experienced

Newer popup chefs might need a little handholding. If you don’t have the time or don’t think you can help, you’ll want to focus on getting more experienced chefs in.

That said, don’t be put off by newer chefs – you never know, you might be hosting the next *big deal*

Booze

If you have an alcohol licence, you could run the bar and let the chef run the food. That’s a win win solution for everyone.

That’s a wrap!

Thanks for reading today, don’t hesitate to drop us a line if you have any questions about food popups!

Dark Kitchens – Killing You Softly

If you haven’t heard of them by now, you’ve almost certainly eaten food from one. Or have you been living in a bubble and missed the likes of Deliveroo or Uber Eats. Shame on you!

Dark by name, dark by nature?

The food you order for delivery will usually prepared in a restaurant. However, more recently, it might have been prepared in a container, hidden on an industrial estate.

Over the last 18 months or so, Deliveroo have been investing heavily in their ‘Editions’ product. Run from containers in industrial estates, these so called “dark kitchens”, are responsibly for more than 10% of the deliveries. Well equipped, these kitchens provide food businesses the opportunity to trade without investing in their own kitchen, restaurant, delivery service or equipment.

Delivery drivers queue outside, waiting for their name to be called.

At what cost?

This all sounds great but it comes at a cost. On the positive side, the restaurants operating in them don’t need to worry about bricks and mortar.

And the consumer gets more food options. The food’s delivered faster since the kitchens are more efficient – there are no physical customers to worry about.

The sites are unlicensed as they’re not classified as either a kitchen or a restaurant. The councils are fighting back against Deliveroo’s expansion and multiple sites have already been closed.

Deliveroo also take a staggering percentage from each order. The amount depends on the volume and the trader.

Ignoring these already substantial issues, the biggest problem is the fact they’re massively contributing to the death of the restaurant as we know it. Whilst some will argue that change is inevitable, our towns and cities need the high street in order to flourish.

And everyone loves to meet their pals in their fave new restaurant!

The robots are coming

In China, it’s now cheaper in some areas to get a takeaway than it is to cook. Are we going to forget how to cook? And what about the affect on our health?

If Deliveroo are promising this is the future of food delivery, how long will they take to replace the chefs with robots?

A different kind of change

At Perched, we understand the issues with the typical restaurant. The same menu day in day out. Consumers frustrated with the lack of choice. Poor quality ingredients. Rising costs.

Imagine if your local restaurant service wicked tasty Thai food on a Monday, Noodles on Wednesday, Vegan ‘Fish’ and Chips on Friday. And Burgers on the weekend.

And that’s exactly the point of hiring a venue for your own food residency.

Food markets suck – and why you should get a stand at one.

The stomping grounds of the Instagram obsessed millennials, food markets have seen year-on-year growth for the last five plus years.

Every weekend, unless the weather is epic bad, you’ll find the London food markets jammed full of crazy people eating. Well, there seems to be more snapping than eating, but who cares. It’s all about the nom nom.

It’s photo opportunity heaven for such folk. Hashtags oozing out of every orifice. iPhones tap the grimy iZettles faster than you can say chinglepops. Do you want your receipt emailed to you? No thanks. #foodie #nom #eater #overindulgence #whatever.

But the chefs are living the dream yes?! Queues of hungry millennials, all waiting for their next hit. Katsu chicken with rice. Medium and large falafel wraps! OMG. Vegan brownies. Vegan everything! Buttermilk fried chicken burger with a brioche bun, pickles and goat’s nipples.

Running a stand at a market is one way to rocket propel your next idea into the next universe. It’s also almost guaranteed to send you to an early grave. Find your spot, get digging early.

Quit your day job

Cooking at a market on Saturday? Quit your job to get the prep-work done – you’re starting on Wednesday. You run out of room in your tiny basement kitchen. No worries, hire a kitchen for a few hours. You’re cooking from a windowless cell for 12 hours a day.

You wake up at 5am Saturday. Book an Uber. Wait 20 mins for it to arrive whilst hoping this one will take you and your fryer and your A-board and your trolley and your crates of food.

You’re setting up in the cold, dank, windy London winter. It’s always cold (apart from when it’s sweltering hot). The wind blows your tent away. Every week. You learn to strap stuff down. You learn to wear three pairs of socks. Long Johns? Hell yeah. Puffer jacket. Check. Wooly hat. Double check. Bumbag – obviously.

13 Amps

Where we’re going, we’re going to need a shed lot more. You learn about amps and voltage. You learn that you can borrow power from a butcher.

Gloves are for losers

You try frying in them.

Influencers! OMG

You turn up every week no matter what. You’ve gotta make sure you’re there for you regulars. You’re there in case an ‘influencer’ makes it all the way over.

You can’t take holidays either. At all. Like never. What if the market gives your spot away. You’ve worked for that spot. You know, the one at the end, near the thing.

Rest is for losers

And the day is over. You sold out (because you didn’t buy enough pork).You pack up your little tent that was home for the day. You book another Uber, you wait again… wishing. You get home exhausted – you need rest. You can’t, instead you’ve got to clean all your greasy pots, pans and equipment. Rest is like gloves.

Ordinary people

Ordinary people don’t have stands at food markets. Ordinary people don’t do all that stuff. Ordinary people don’t understand that ‘first customer of the day’ feeling. Ordinary people won’t make it to food heaven.

Just do it

Get a stand at a market, no matter what. Put your name down on the waiting list. Try it, you won’t regret it. And one day, that influencer might just walk by and snap a pic of your nom nom fried chicken…

Go chat to the people setting up in the cold. You’ll soon meet some of the nicest, most helpful, friendly people on the planet. You know, the ones who’ll do anything for you, no matter what.

If you’re thinking about getting a market, the following are good starting points.

Starting a Food Popup: Hiring a venue

Hiring a venue for a food popup can be challenging. If you’re looking to start your own, we’ve created a whole series called “Building Your Popup Empire”.

Choosing the perfect venue

Finding the perfect venue is a like choosing a partner – whether you’re looking for a one night stand or a life-long marriage. It might take a few attempts to get it right. Don’t rush. Experiment.

You’ll probably know what you’re looking for. Maybe you want to hire a pub kitchen for the weekend. Are you looking for the Monday spot at a chic restaurant? Or just want to hire a kitchen for the day?

Keep an open mind when you’re searching for venue to hire. Don’t get fixated on the perfect venue – it might not exist (for your timeframe). And, you might be pleasantly surprised by what you end up with!

Price vs Day of Week

If you’re looking for a one-off popup, choose your day carefully. Saturday’s a popular day – venues are harder to come by. As a result, they’re more expensive. If you’re set on Saturday, plan carefully – ensure you’ve got a venue lined up at least a month in advance.

If price is an issue, you might want to consider moving your food event to another day. For one-off popups, you’ll probably going to sell tickets anyway. The day of the week isn’t really an issue, unless you’re having a big ol’ party too.

Price vs Location

Planning a food residency? You’re probably looking to hire a venue for a long time. If so, location is key to your success. Choosing a cheaper (or free) venue might seem like a good idea at the time. Instead, try and understand why it’s cheap. Does the venue have decent footfall? Are they known for running regular food popups? Can they help with marketing? Choose carefully otherwise you’re relying on your mates to fill the venue, every night.

Planning a one night popup or supper club? You probably only need to hire a venue for a night. If so, you don’t have to worry so much about footfall. Just choose a place with suitable transport links etc. Somewhere that fits your style. Sell tickets to your event instead of relying on people to drop in.

Types of Location

Pubs aren’t good for one-off popup, supper clubs or ticketed events because of their format. However, they often have a hidden room upstairs that’s available for hire. And they usually have decent kitchens.

Restaurants are usually most popular Thursday – Saturday so don’t expect to get a deal over the weekend. However, they’re usually closed on Sunday and Monday – the perfect time for your supper club!

Bars are often looking for something to compliment their wet sales. As a result, food residencies work really well here. Burgers and booze, cheese and wine. You get the drift.

Cafes are usually busy in the day and or weekends but dead at night. Look out for these, you’ll often be able to get the post 6pm spot *every* day!

What’s Next?

Check back soon. In the following guides, we’ll discuss pricing, marketing your event, equipment and more.

Popup Venue for Hire: Nanashi [Shoreditch]


Nanashi is a cosy sushi restaurant in Shoreditch – undoubtedly one of the hippest venues on Rivington Street. They’re now renting their venue and kitchen for popup events!

The venue space is bright, warm and inviting. It has enough seating for around 30 customers. The venue is laid out in a way that creates a very intimate dining experience for all who eat here. The spacious kitchen is upstairs however there’s a dumb waiter to make your life easier.

The venue specialises in Japanese food and Sushi, so naturally has the specific kitchen equipment required, while also retaining all of the other essentials that you might need to cook your menu, no matter what it may be.

What kind of food popup are they looking for?

Nanashi are looking for chefs with a great menu to take over the kitchen on a regular weekly basis. Looking for a space for your popup on Sundays and Mondays? Look no further.

Interested in booking Nanashi for your own food popup? Then start an enquiry on their Perched profile!