Why Restaurateurs Are Using Shipping Containers as Cafés

Restaurateurs have worked hard to adapt to an on-the-go dining scene, and shipping containers have played an interesting role in that transition lately.

Even food trucks encountered concern and questions when they hit the scene. Of course, the shipping container restaurant isn’t something new, but the last decade has seen the practice turn into a legitimate trend in the industry. Let’s break down some of the reasons why restaurateurs are using shipping containers as cafés nowadays.

Shipping Containers Are a Scalable Solution

In the early days of a newly born restaurant, the budget is tight. High business loans to cover large buildings, new construction, and proper equipment lead to lower initial profits. Shipping containers offer an interesting solution to this problem.

Shipping containers are a scalable solution for cafés that are unsure of the business’s expected growth rate. It’s challenging to add new buildings onto existing ones when the need for new seating or an additional kitchen emerges. Adding a new shipping container to your plot is less demanding. You also lose less sales time to construction.

Restaurateurs Have Adapted to a Compact Kitchen

After food trucks took over cities across the United States, coffee shops and cafés took notice. As coffee became an increasingly fast-paced experience for customers who need to grab it and go, the café food truck was a clear next step. The result is that many restaurateurs know how to operate a café in a compact space successfully.

Shipping containers come in assorted sizes and are a comfortable middle ground between the claustrophobic environment of a food truck and an open model building. With no fear of the staff getting squeezed too tight, restaurateurs are picking up on the potential of these 20 to 40-foot containers as a fabulous to-go kitchen and counter.

Sustainability Suits Many Business Models

Perhaps the most significant selling point of a shipping container is its sustainability. There are millions of shipping containers in the world for cargo transportation with a limited on-the-sea life span. Once they come to shore for the last time, industries have plenty of creative ways to repurpose these giant metal boxes. If your café is among them, your business is armed with a fantastic, eco-friendly selling point to inspire and attract customers.

The idea of refurbishing and retrofitting a shipping container is an intimidating one for any owner who has only ever seen these things bare. However, you should know that welders easily modify used shipping containers to include the proper ventilation, windows, and even plumbing necessary for any kitchen. The first restaurateurs using shipping containers as cafés paved the way for straightforward conversions from storage solutions to bustling neighborhood coffee stops.

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About GFDI Team

Team of talented writers who have a passion for sharing, connecting and preserving the history and culture of the African diaspora.
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