Home » Culture, Food, Search for the (Sustainable) Source
19 May 2011, 2:00 pm One Comment

Search for the Sustainable Source: Pop-Up Eats, The One-Time Only Twist to Food

This post was submitted by Kira

Fruit-on-the-Go. c. Kira

Even if it a regular occurrence, meals at a restaurant bring a certain something to the table. Dining at single-location restaurants, opposed to a chain, seems to bring even more allure to the dining experience.  Perhaps this is due to the uniqueness, and we can feel that we are somewhat unique going to that one location; or perhaps we are drawn to the exclusivity of it; or to put it another way: if there is only one, it is not readily available to us, and therefore we will inherently think more highly of the finite resource.

I began to think about this as I read an article in Washington Post about the new pop-up restaurant that is coming to town. The idea of pop up shops is becoming more popular, as stores open for a limited time period, and one location turns from one boutique to the next.  So, why don’t we have more pop-up restaurants?

Pop-up restaurants are a great way to test a new idea in a neighborhood and gage reactions. But more than that, it add a certain something to the location when the customers know it is there for a limited time only. Pop-up restaurants have the same allure to us as the one-day only sale in some ways. We can justify going even when we do not really want to because it is there for only a short time. For that same reason, we can justify to ourselves spending more money than we normally would on a meal out. The transient quality is remarkably appealing.

Similarly, just like pop-up restaurants, the new craze of food trucks has the same draw for us. As the trucks troll around the city, word gets out in groups of friends, at the office, but even more – news travels at lightning speed online, and people come out in droves. I know there has been more than one occasion when a food truck has been parked outside my office building and I have gone out and bought lunch — not because I particularly really wanted to eat a lobster roll that day and not because I had forgotten my lunch at home; however, the idea that the truck would only be there that one day and I wasn’t sure when it would be back in the neighborhood.

Pop-up restaurants and food trucks, remind us how susceptible we are to the marketing ploys.  We can be easily convinced that a we really need to have a $15 lobster roll for lunch from the roving cart across the street, just as we can be convinced to go out and buy an expensive meal at the fancy limited time only joint around the corner.   Both are pretty ingenious ideas, which play to the human nature of wanting something that offers a unique experience, one feels a part of something special, and the transience shines light on the value we find in finite resources.

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One Comment »

  • Jonni said:

    Is that really all there is to it because that’d be flbaebrgatsing.