My name is Stephen Haller and I am the
general manager and order of Home Restaurant in Belfast. I obviously
heard about pop-up restaurants and pop-up shops etc. I think if you’re in this
industry for any amount of time, your end goal is generally you want to own
your own place. The bank’s weren’t lending a lot of money I didn’t have a
lot of money, so I thought good way to open something and test It if you want was
to do it as a pop-up, so we decided to do do Home as a pop-up in Calendar Street. We opened the Home pop-up for 5,000 pounds, which is for nothing. Calendar Street had been a restaurant at one stage so we didn’t have to pay for
extraction to go in, we didn’t have to pay for gas to get plumbed in which we
did here when we became permanent, we worked very closely with a girl called
Jill O’Neill from, Refound. Jill totally furnished the whole of Home, but
everything that was in it the tables, the chairs, the artwork, all had a price tag
on it. So we were in and you a saw a chair and table at the light you could buy it, so we
didn’t have to pay for any furniture. So we were really really lucky that it only cost
us five grand which was phenomenal. You open as a pop-up you don’t have a lot of money, so
you don’t have money for a big advertising campaign, you can put all the
usual stuff ads in papers etc etc. So one of the first things we did, two or three months even before we opened. We started the whole Twitter,
Facebook thing. So social media was really really really important,
especially if you’ve no money. The two biggest things which I found, were
the biggest drawbacks were, number one, was trying to staff it. Trying to convince people to come and work with you, because Home was
originally gonna be for three months. These people obviously being offered like a
full time job, there could be either for, basically as long as they wanted.
So staffing was kind of hard, the whole idea of pop up was kind of new, trying to
convince a landlord, into giving you space for three months, was kind of hard.
Things went really really well actually shocked us how well it went. So we made the decision then that we would like to go permanent. When you go permanent there’s a lot more money to spend, you know in a pop-up
restaurant, you get away with a lot more. Your place doesn’t have to be as finished
as well, you know all the wee details don’t have to be there. One of the good things
was, when you go permanent getting staff was a lot easier, but the big thing was
was shelling out the money and, signing a contract saying ten years. You have to
think long and hard about that. One of the big changes was, obviously it’s a
much bigger restaurant, like Calendar Street would would have sat maybe
40 people, this place seats 80. So the hardest thing for us was getting round how much
more visibly we were. You’re right on the front of Wellington Place here. So the
fruit fall was so much more than Calendar Street. The main tips I would give people
who want to open a pop-up, would be number one, is location is so so
important. Second thing I would say, would be you need to be very thrifty with your money.
People open so many paces and spend so much money on the fit out and the
cutlery and the knifes and forks. We purposely held back on that. That’s how
we open the restaurant for five thousand pounds, nobody opens a restaurant for
five thousand pounds. So the two things would be location, and definitely keep an eye on
your money.