Thursday, 16 July 2009

Underground Restaurants

There's a new trend on the culinary scene and its called underground restaurants. You probably already know about it, articles have been written here and here and they've even mentioned it on ITN.

The basic idea is that people set up restaurants in their homes. This of course isn't strictly legal, so there tends to be a bit of secrecy about the exact address. We went to one round the corner from us last night called The Secret Ingredient.

The food was pretty tasty and at £20 a head for seven courses and a couple of drinks it was good value. But the reason for blogging about it here, is that there were two interesting pointers that I want to remember to use when working on pop-up type things for brands.

Firstly, the more intrigue the better, the fun bit was the secrecy around the location, getting hold of the address, then trying to find the place. A bit like getting texted the details for an illegal rave (only for older more sedate people). Some of the pop-up stores I've seen recently are too obvious, almost as if they are part of conventional retail expansion plan.

Secondly, confusing people a bit and challenging their ingrained behaviours is a good thing. The fun bit about last night was that you weren't quite sure if you were in a restaurant or someone's home. As a result you weren't quite sure how to behave, and this created the tension that made it interesting and memorable.

Worth checking out one of these 'home restaurants' this blog is a good place to start.