How To Start A Burger Pop-Up Guide

I had no idea what we were doing when my first Burger Pop-up outside my Burger Museum happened. All I knew was that I was making a burger at home that my friends and my family loved, and I needed a new revenue stream to keep my business afloat.

Marcela and I already owned a Blackstone at home, and we had Sunshine Provisions, a local meat purveyor whose burger blends we loved, so we bought a couple of cases (each one is usually 10 pounds).

Next, we went to the supermarket and bought a bunch of Martin’s Potato Rolls, yellow mustard, jars of pickles, and onions. We also had paper trays and napkins, which we sourced from the ice cream shop at the museum’s entrance.

We used the register inside to ring everyone out, which was odd and not what I would have done now. It needs to be kept simple for all parties involved.

This page will continuously add and adjust content. It’s not only for burger pop-ups but for anyone trying their hand at the pop-up game.

Remember, only the dedicated will survive. It’s rough out there, and if you’re starting from scratch, it’s even worse. But, if you believe in your food, then you’ve already won half the battle.

Branding Your Pop-up

Burger Cart Logo
My Original Burger Cart Logo

Branding is a crucial step in planning a successful burger pop-up. Your brand will set you apart and attract customers. Start by choosing a unique and memorable name that reflects your style and theme.

Design a logo that will be easily recognizable and versatile enough to be used on various marketing materials, from social media to flyers. Consider the overall aesthetic of your pop-up, including color schemes, typography, and imagery, to create a cohesive and appealing brand identity.

Don’t know anyone who can create a logo for you? Try Fiverr. If you want to get merch made in small batches, try Printify.

Don’t forget to leverage social media to build anticipation. Create accounts on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to share your story, post behind-the-scenes content, and engage with your audience.

Use high-quality photos and videos of your burgers, and consider running contests or giveaways to generate buzz.

Collaborate with local influencers and food bloggers to broaden your reach and attract more customers.

Bullet Points and Things to Consider

Burger Beast Burger Club Merch Stand
Burger Beast Merch Stand

The first step in planning a burger pop-up is to develop a strong brand identity. Your branding should reflect the personality and values of your burger concept. Consider the following elements:

  • Logo Design: Invest in a professional logo that embodies your brand. It should be versatile enough to use on various platforms, from signage to social media.
  • Visual Consistency: Use a consistent color palette, fonts, and imagery across all your marketing materials.
  • Merchandise: Branded merchandise like T-shirts, hats, and stickers can help spread the word and create a sense of community.
  • Unique Selling Proposition (USP): Identify what sets your burgers apart from others. Is it the quality of ingredients, unique flavor combinations, or a particular cooking method?
  • Target Audience: Define your ideal customers. Are they burger fanatics, families, or casual diners?
  • Brand Personality: Decide on the tone and style of your branding. Is it fun and quirky, rustic and homey, or sleek and modern?

Food Pop-Up Equipment

The Touring Burger Beast Burger Cart
The Touring Burger Beast Burger Cart

Having the right equipment is essential for a smooth and efficient operation. Start with the basics: a reliable grill or griddle, a portable refrigerator or cooler for storing ingredients, and plenty of cooking utensils like spatulas, tongs, and knives. Depending on your menu, you might also need fryers, steamers, or ovens.

Invest in high-quality, durable equipment that can withstand the demands of a busy pop-up. Don’t forget about smaller items like cutting boards, mixing bowls, and containers for storing prepped ingredients. Ensure you have enough serving utensils and disposable items like plates, napkins, and utensils.

Consider the logistics of your location. If you’re setting up outdoors, you might need a tent or canopy to protect your cooking area from the elements. Portable tables and chairs can create a comfortable dining area for your customers. Make sure you have access to a power source and bring extension cords or generators if necessary.

As far as the griddle is concerned, the Blackstone grill is excellent when starting. However, as you do more volume, the Blackstone has issues with getting back to temperature after each turn of burgers on the griddle.

We currently use a grill made by LA Taco Carts.

Bullet Points and Things to Consider

Heavy Burger Smasher
My Wife Prefers This Heavy Burger Smasher

Having the right equipment is crucial for a smooth operation. Here’s a checklist of essential items:

  • Cooking Equipment: Grills, griddles, fryers, and ovens, depending on your menu.
  • Storage: You’ll need coolers and refrigeration units to keep ingredients fresh.
  • Serving Supplies: Plates, napkins, utensils, and packaging materials for takeout orders.
  • Utilities: Check for access to power, water, and waste disposal facilities.

Purchasing The Food

Burger Beast Burger Blend by Sunshine Provisions
Burger Beast Burger Blend by Sunshine Provisions

When it comes to buying food for your pop-up, quality and freshness should be your top priorities. Source your ingredients from reputable suppliers or local farmers’ markets to ensure you’re getting the best products. Plan your menu carefully and make a detailed shopping list to avoid last-minute rushes and shortages.

Consider the quantity of food you’ll need based on your expected turnout. It’s better to have a bit extra than to run out midway through the event. If possible, negotiate bulk purchasing deals with your suppliers to save on costs. Keep in mind any dietary restrictions or preferences your customers might have, and offer a variety of options to cater to different tastes.

Proper storage is crucial to maintaining food safety and quality. Make sure you have enough refrigeration space for perishable items and keep everything organized to streamline your cooking process.

Bullet Points and Things to Consider

Quality ingredients are the heart of your burger pop-up. Here’s how to manage your food procurement:

  • Sourcing: Choose reliable suppliers who can provide fresh, high-quality ingredients. Consider local farms and vendors for a unique touch.
  • Inventory Management: Plan your inventory based on expected turnout. It’s better to have a bit extra than to run out mid-event.
  • Special Dietary Options: To cater to a wider audience, you could consider offering vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options.

Event Set-Up

Burger Beast Burger Pop-Up at Joanna's Marketplace
Burger Beast Burger Pop-Up at JJoanna’sMarketplace

The set-up of your pop-up can make a significant impact on the customer experience. Arrive early to give yourself plenty of time to organize and decorate your space. Set up your cooking area efficiently, with easy access to all your equipment and ingredients.

Create a welcoming and visually appealing environment. Use signage to clearly display your menu and prices. Consider adding decorative elements like banners, tablecloths, or string lights to enhance the atmosphere. If you’re setting up outdoors, make sure there’s adequate seating and shade for your customers.

Think about the flow of your space. Ensure there’s a clear path for customers to follow from the entrance to the ordering area and then to the dining area. Designate a pick-up area for customers to collect their orders to keep things moving smoothly.

Bullet Points and Things to Consider

Setting up your event space efficiently ensures a smooth service and enhances the customer experience. Focus on these aspects:

  • Layout: Arrange your cooking, serving, and dining areas logically to streamline operations and minimize wait times.
  • Ambiance: Create an inviting atmosphere with music, lighting, and decorations that align with your brand.
  • Signage: Clear signage helps guide customers through the ordering process and highlights key menu items or specials.

Charging the Customer

Burger Popup Menu Board
My Burger Pop-up Menu Board

Deciding how to charge customers is a key part of your business strategy. Set prices that reflect the quality of your ingredients and the effort you’ve put into your pop-up, but also consider your target market and what they’re willing to pay. Research similar events and competitors to gauge the going rates.

Offer multiple payment options to accommodate different customer preferences. Cash is a must, but many people prefer the convenience of card payments or mobile payment apps. Invest in a reliable point-of-sale (POS) system that can handle various payment methods and keep track of your sales.

Consider offering combo deals or special promotions to encourage higher spending and repeat business. For example, you could offer a discount on a drink or side when purchased with a burger. Track your sales and customer feedback to refine your pricing and offerings for future pop-ups.

We used Square initially on our phone before we bought the Square handheld, which allows us to print receipts.

Bullet Points and Things to Consider

Deciding on your pricing strategy and payment methods is crucial for profitability and customer satisfaction. Consider the following:

  • Pricing Strategy: Set prices that reflect the quality of your ingredients and the uniqueness of your offerings. Ensure they cover costs and leave room for profit.
  • Payment Methods: To accommodate all customers, offer multiple payment options, including cash, credit/debit cards, and mobile payments.
  • Promotions: Consider offering bundle deals, loyalty discounts, or early-bird specials to attract more customers.

Team Burger Beast
Team Burger Beast

By carefully planning each aspect of your burger pop-up, from branding to equipment to customer service, you can create a memorable and successful event that will leave your customers craving more.

Got any questions? Ask below, and I’ll answer them to the best of my abilities.

(Please note this article contains affiliate links. Your purchase will support Burger Beast by providing me with a small commission, but it will not affect your pricing or user experience.)

Leave a Comment