Pop-ups a way to explore


Existing restaurants are usually the best option because all of the necessary equipment is already on hand, and the hosting restaurant can also generate some cross-promotion buzz…writes N. LOTHUNGBENI HUMTSOE

What better way to showcase the diversity of Indian cuisine than through pop-ups? India is known for its diverse culture, appearance, and cuisine. We are all aware of how well-known India’s street food vendors are at this point. Everyone, including office workers and college students, appreciates a food innovation that blows their minds, even if it’s a simplified maggie.

“Food pop-ups in my experience are one of the best things that could happen to the food industry. Many aspirational restaurateurs have the inherent ability to produce Instagram-worthy food but lack the funding and capital required to set up mainstream restaurants and cafes.

“The concept of food pop-ups in tandem with the factor of becoming viral on social media, disrupts the traditional food industry. It also instills and encourages an entrepreneurial spirit in the people, which is crucial to the economy from a micro-perspective.

“Food pop-ups have the added advantage of mobility, which allows them to serve locations strategically, all while acting like a QSR with commendable service time,” says food blogger Vishal Bharadwaj.

Food pop-ups have been shown to be very effective in terms of showcasing creativity and earning, while also creating a fun food idea for visitors, giving new meaning to eating on the streets.

People in the food industry have been extremely vocal about their experiences and according to Maj Dinesh Sharma, Founder, and Director of APCA – Academy of pastry & Culinary Arts, “Pop-up restaurants are a fashionable but powerful force in the food industry. The food industry took on new meaning with the pop-up, Chefs frequently use pop-up restaurants to showcase their culinary skills to a larger audience and potentially attract investors for a future restaurant.”

Maj continues to tell about the concept’s benefits and drawbacks, “The pop-up restaurant could potentially set up shop anywhere it is legal and safe to do so. They’ve been discovered on everything from city building roofs to the insides of barns.

Existing restaurants are usually the best option because all of the necessary equipment is already on hand, and the hosting restaurant can also generate some cross-promotion buzz.

Every business has advantages and disadvantages, and this one is no exception. It’s a relatively inexpensive way for a chef to get their name out there and start getting people familiar with their work or establishing themselves in a new area, but there’s a pretty hard cap on the number of people that can be present, and you’ll frequently find there’s more interest than you can accommodate”

Food blogger Bharadwaj who believes food pop-ups will thrive with the right infrastructure, such as a street cart food court, and basic amenities such as hand washing and nearby seating said, “The food tastes quite different, to be honest. Pop-ups’ main concentration would be towards quantity and pricing it cheap whereas posh restaurants look at quality and plating. The crowd differs and that would be one of the key differences.

“For me, I would surely prefer a food pop-up for some great Indian or Indo-Chinese quick food and go to restaurants for some great Continental food or probably a fine dining experience.”

“Pop-ups are as much a way for consumers to explore their palates with different cultures and styles of cooking, as it is a marketing and an engagement tool.

“Be it moving out and doing a pop-up or having one of my chef or mixologist mate coming over to my restaurants/bars and doing one, there’s always something new for people to explore, thereby also making it a great way to tap into a new audience, all while retaining your patrons. It’s also a great way to enhance your skill set as you get to collaborate with the best and learn a few new tricks from them,” says Chef Tarun Sibal, who recently collaborated for a pop-up with Rooh, Delhi around Gourmet casual.

According to Tarun, Pop-ups have been becoming increasingly popular especially post Covid since they have huge perks for both – the chefs and the diners.

He adds, “They bring freshness to an existing menu while giving guests a unique dining experience. They make restaurants accessible to diners in different geographies and give chefs an opportunity to experiment with their craft.

“Collaboration of chefs and cuisines from different countries, and different cities, diverse thought processes, food philosophies, new techniques, and ingredients are things that are at play when we talk about pop-ups. The guests end up as the winner.”

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