Shipping Containers: The Future of Mobile Food Businesses

Embracing the Rise of the Shipping Container

In the early days, food carts and street vendors thrived by selling hotdogs and soft pretzels to passersby. Then came the ice cream trucks, with their catchy tunes, igniting a wave of innovation. Mobile chefs quickly upgraded from deep-freeze coolers to outfitting their vehicles with hot plates and small stoves, effectively giving birth to the reign of the food truck.

However, this era of food trucks may have finally met its match with the emergence of shipping containers. These versatile containers perfectly cater to the needs of modern entrepreneurs and the ever-evolving tastes of their food-loving customers.

The Food Truck’s Reign is Dwindling

While food trucks still dominate in overcrowded megacities where space is limited, they face challenges from entrepreneurs who find them expensive to operate or prefer the convenience of packing up their entire business at the end of each day. If you want to maximize your mobile food business while minimizing startup costs, it’s time to consider why shipping containers have become the new choice for savvy restaurant owners.

Running a brick-and-mortar restaurant or bar has always been tough, even in the best of times. High overhead costs and thin profit margins make success elusive. With millions of Americans now unemployed, the future of the industry seems uncertain.

According to Resy Senior Writer Deanna Ting, larger restaurant chains and well-funded groups may make a comeback, but independent restaurants, which make up two-thirds of the industry, face an uphill battle.

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When life eventually returns to normal, the process won’t be as simple as flipping a switch. The transition will be gradual, with social distancing becoming a hard habit to shake. So, what will dining out with friends and family look like in the future?

The Appeal of Shipping Container Businesses

“It’s only natural to assume that people are probably going to avoid crowds, cramped indoor seating, and breathing other people’s air,” says Matt Egan, VP of Specialty Construction at BoxPop®. “With a shipping container business, you have the advantage of outside flexibility, mobility, and space. You can set up your business anywhere outdoors. Inside, shipping containers offer ample floor space for stoves, coolers, taps, and your staff. For customers, it’s a grab-and-go experience, or you can create comfortable seating around your container to suit their preferences.”

Wheels Are Overrated

The food truck’s greatest appeal lies in its mobility. However, in reality, most food businesses thrive based on their location. Once you find a busy spot, driving back and forth loses its value.

Container restaurants, on the other hand, offer more flexibility. They can be easily picked up and moved using a flatbed or towed by a large SUV or pickup truck. These containers provide significantly more space, allowing you to set up in prime, semi-permanent locations such as neighborhood parks, bustling beaches, or stadium parking lots. This gives your business a brick-and-mortar vibe without the expensive rent and overhead of a traditional location.

Shipping containers are specifically designed as restaurants, eliminating the need for regular vehicle maintenance and unexpected repair visits. With a custom shipping container, you have the freedom to change locations if desired. Additionally, when your restaurant is not doubling as your daily driver, you can simply lock up and go home after the evening rush.

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More Space for Your Money

Since the food truck craze began in Los Angeles in 2008, the entry price has remained relatively unchanged. Forbes and OpenTable have done the math, revealing prices ranging from $50,000 to $275,000 for a fully customized food truck.

For approximately $50,000, you get a used food truck with about 80 square feet of floor space. In comparison, a custom shipping container like the BoxPop® 20 provides 160 square feet of usable kitchen space in a brand-new 20′ x 8′ container, starting at $65,000. The extra space is invaluable, considering the challenges of small food truck kitchens. It’s a headache for workers who spend hours hunched over in cramped quarters, taking orders through tiny service windows. In contrast, a mid-sized cargo container offers twice the elbow room, ample equipment space, and storage, all at a similar cost.

Shipping Container Food Truck

In summary, shipping containers are revolutionizing the mobile food business. With their flexibility, mobility, and cost-effectiveness, they provide a solution that meets the demands of a post-pandemic world. Embrace the future of dining by considering a shipping container as your restaurant’s new home.

Hook’d Up Bar and Grill