Perpetual pop-up restaurants boom due to rising property prices

Global Business

It’s a place to try new foods and for chefs to try new recipes.

Pop-up restaurants are growing in popularity, so much so that many are becoming perpetual pop-ups, partly, due to an economy filled with rising property prices.

CGTN’s Mark Niu reports.

Perpetual pop-up restaurants boom due to rising property prices

It’s a place to try new foods and for chefs to try new recipes. Pop-up restaurants are growing in popularity, so much so that many are becoming perpetual pop-ups, partly, due to an economy filled with rising property prices. CGTN’s Mark Niu reports.

In the city of Oakland, California restaurants are literally popping up everywhere-in pop-up form.

Lena Sok, the co-founder of pop-up restaurant Aburaya said her team of 15 people work music and food festivals, then serve lunch at the bar Hatch from Tuesday to Friday, then move operations to the Garden House restaurant on nights from Wednesday to Friday.

“I think the appeal of the pop-up restaurant is that you don’t have that much overhead fees and it also takes advantage of the many spaces that are available on off hours. Like Garden House wouldn’t be in function at night, and then it’s a good way to make sure that people save money on rent and that the space is being utilized, ” Sok said.

With their mobile kitchen equipment, Aburaya blends Japanese fried chicken with a California twist — like the extremely popular fried avocado – and can pull in around 150 customers a night.

Aburaya’s success has led to it becoming a permanent pop-up, where it now has regular hours in shared locations.

Co-founder and chef Adachi Hiroyuki has started a number of traditional restaurants in the past.

“And lots of money – 100,000 or more for myself – investing to business. It wasn’t quite fun. I have to worry about get money back. Nah, that’s my thing. The reason why I started doing this is you don’t have to have that much starting cost. I had $5,000. Let’s see how much I can go with it,” Hiroyuki said.

Across the bay in San Francisco, in a space that’s typically used as a photography studio, Emily Lai cooks up a storm with equipment she brought in herself.

Her Malaysian inspired cuisine – Masak Masak – pops up here once a month. Lai’s worked nearly every job in the restaurant industry, so finds this pop-up arrangement of just sharing revenues from the night, liberating.

“Definitely not the stress of the overheads, labor in San Francisco, all the costs and with rent, utilities,” Lai said.

Pop-up restaurants also serve as a testing ground. Malaysian restaurants are hard to find in the U.S., even in California. With such bold and unique flavors, Emily needs to be able to experiment and find out what customers like.