Insurance, tax and advertising: 6 things to keep in mind for your pop-up restaurant or supperclub
Planning on starting your own pop-up restaurant or supperclub? Here are six things to keep in mind before you take the plunge.
1. Location, location, location
One of the most important factors in determining whether your pop-up restaurant will succeed is the location. You may not be able to rely too heavily on your reputation, so you need to pick somewhere that will get a lot of footfall.
There’s also the question as to whether you want your restaurant to be indoors or outdoors. An indoor restaurant can be more appealing - especially during winter - and can make for easier daily set up.
However, if you’re running your restaurant from a mobile van or market stall, you’re more likely to catch people who need a quick bite rather than a sit down meal, and you won’t have a premises to fit and furnish.
If you’re running a supperclub from home, location is equally important. If you live a little out of the way, your evening will have to be all the more appealing to draw guests.
Wherever you decide to set up, make sure you check with your local council regarding licensing laws in your area. These can vary from council to council, so if you’re planning on hosting your restaurant or supperclub in multiple locations then make sure to check with each council.
2. Food hygiene
Any operation that handles food must comply with food hygiene regulations, even pop-up restaurants or supper clubs that are only around for a day or two.
In order to legally sell food you’ll need to register with the Environmental Health Service at your local council a minimum for 28 days before you start trading.
You’ll then be required to put in food safety management procedures based on the principles of HACCP (hazard analysis critical control point). These have to be written records and can include ensuring your freezers and refrigerators are at the correct temperature and throwing away food that is past its best before date.
3. Logistics, storage and organisation
One of the biggest differences between operating a traditional restaurant and a pop-up restaurant is the logistical concerns.
If you’re renting a storefront or hosting at home then it may be easier to set up, but if you’re on a market stall or in a van then you’ll have to think about your cooking equipment, food storage and preparation, and seating arrangements (if you have any), as well as how you’re going to keep compliant with Food Safety and Hygiene regulations.
4. Public liability insurance for pop up restaurants and supperclubs
Public liability insurance is something you need to consider, no matter where you set up your pop-up restaurant or supperclub. Operating in public leaves you open to injury or damage claims should anyone suffer as a result of your activities. A public liability policy can help pay out for the likes of legal fees and compensation claims should the worst happen.
You may also want to have other types of insurance in place depending on your particular set up. Employers' liability insurance is a legal requirement for most businesses that employ staff, so even if you’re only open for a day, if you're employing someone then you’ll need to be insured. You can also decide whether your stock or equipment are worth protecting and include the covers in a single policy.
5. Tax and accounting
Like any other business, if you run a pop-up restaurant then you need to pay tax. It’s important to keep an accurate record of your takings as well as your outgoing expenses so you can accurately fill in your self assessment tax return.
You need to make sure you register for self assessment before the end of your business’s second tax year, or you could face a fine.
6. Reeling people in
At the end of the day, even if you have everything else under control, your supperclub won’t get off the ground if you don’t draw people in.
For any kind of pop-up shop, a lot of your guests will be those passing by, but you can always increase your amount of customers or guests with a little bit of advertising. Social media is a great tool for this: if you can offer discounts or perks for tweeting, hashtagging or sharing posts connected with your restaurant then that can help get the word out.
Social media can also be a great way to engage with fellow supperclub fans, and build connections before meeting in person.
Simply Business are the UK’s biggest provider of small business insurance, with over 400,000 live policies. They can insure over 1000 types of business - including pop up restaurants and supperclubs. Click here to find out more about public liability insurance, and decide if it’s right for you.
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