Shipping Container Restaurants: The New Trend in Food Business

shipping container restaurants for sale

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shipping container restaurant


shipping container restaurants for sale

Firstly, In recent years, shipping container restaurants have gained popularity in the food business industry. These innovative structures offer a range of benefits, from cost-effectiveness to flexibility in design and mobility. As industry leaders like Taco Bell, Subway, and Starbucks have embraced this trend, independent restaurant owners have also recognized the practicality and versatility that shipping containers provide. In this article, we will explore the advantages of container restaurants, the various types of food businesses that can operate within them, the dimensions and costs involved, and some inspiring examples of successful container restaurant ventures. shipping container restaurants for sale

Advantages of Container Restaurants


Secondly, One of the major advantages of container restaurants is their cost-effectiveness. Compared to traditional brick-and-mortar establishments, container restaurants can be built at a fraction of the cost. The use of shipping containers eliminates the need for extensive construction and interior design work, resulting in significant savings. Additionally, these structures can be easily customized and modified to fit specific requirements, allowing for efficient use of space and resources. shipping container restaurants for sale

Versatility in Design

Shipping containers offer a unique and modern aesthetic that appeals to customers. The industrial look and feel of these structures can be leveraged to create a trendy and eye-catching design for the restaurant. Furthermore, containers can be stacked, joined together, or modified to create larger spaces or unique layouts. This flexibility in design allows restaurant owners to create a distinctive and memorable atmosphere for their customers.

Mobility and Flexibility

Unlike traditional restaurants, container restaurants offer the advantage of mobility. These structures can be easily transported to different locations, making them ideal for pop-up restaurants, food festivals, or catering events. The ability to quickly set up and dismantle a container restaurant provides entrepreneurs with the opportunity to test new markets and reach a wider audience. Additionally, container restaurants can be relocated in response to changing customer demand or business needs.

Types of Food Businesses in Container Restaurants

Beverage & Coffee

Container restaurants have become a popular choice for coffee shops and beverage businesses. The industrial style and durability of shipping containers make them a perfect fit for creating a unique and inviting atmosphere for customers. Whether it’s a standalone coffee shop or a small portable restaurant with a seating area, container cafes offer a trendy and efficient solution for serving beverages.

Ice Cream & Dessert

Another profitable food business that can thrive in a container restaurant is an ice cream shop. The mobility and eye-catching design of shipping containers make them an ideal choice for retail businesses, especially in high-traffic areas such as shopping malls or outdoor street locations. Container restaurants provide a visually appealing and convenient space for customers to enjoy their favorite frozen treats.

Packed Foods

Container restaurants are also suitable for businesses that offer packed foods. Whether it’s factory-made foods or fast takeaways, container restaurants provide a cost-effective and efficient solution. These structures can be equipped with the necessary equipment to warm up and sell packed foods, making them an ideal choice for businesses that focus on convenience and quick service.

On-Site Cooking

Container restaurants can accommodate on-site cooking, offering a unique and engaging dining experience for customers. With a large kitchen and the necessary equipment, container restaurants can serve a variety of cooked foods, such as pizzas, crepes, or pancakes. The versatility of shipping containers allows for the integration of functional kitchen spaces, making on-site cooking a viable option for food businesses.

Building a Container Restaurant

Customization Options

When building a container restaurant, there are various customization options to consider. Containers can be joined together or stacked to create larger spaces. Additional features such as stairs, outdoor seating areas, or rooftop gardens can be added to enhance the overall design and functionality of the restaurant. The interior can be tailored to fit the specific requirements of the food business, including counters, sinks, lighting, and storage.

Dimensions and Costs

Container restaurants are available in different dimensions, with 20-foot and 40-foot containers being the most common options. The cost of a container restaurant depends on its size, shape, and internal equipment and furniture. For example, a 20-foot container restaurant with one side open can cost around $14,500, while a double-sided restaurant can cost up to $16,500. Larger containers, such as 40-foot options, can range from $18,500 for a single side open to $21,500 for a double-sided restaurant. Custom dimensions, such as 10-foot or 45-foot containers, are also available but may come at a higher cost.

Logistics and Transportation

Container restaurants are designed to be portable and can be easily transported to different locations. Due to their standard shipping size, these structures can be shipped as sea containers, making logistics and transportation straightforward. This mobility allows entrepreneurs to explore new business opportunities and reach a wider customer base. With conventional transit methods, container restaurants can be moved virtually anywhere that offers good business prospects.

Inspiring Examples

Taco Bell’s Shipping Container Store

In 2015, Taco Bell debuted its first shipping container store at an annual film and music festival in Austin, Texas. This innovative pop-up restaurant showcased the possibilities of container architecture and demonstrated Taco Bell’s commitment to unique and engaging customer experiences.

Starbucks’ Drive-Thru Shipping Container Outlets

Starbucks introduced drive-thru shipping container outlets in 2014, utilizing the mobility and functionality of these structures. These container-based coffee shops have been successfully implemented in various locations, providing customers with a convenient and visually appealing coffee experience.

America’s Largest Shipping Container Restaurant

Located in Asheville, NC, America’s largest shipping container restaurant was opened in 2015. This impressive structure, created using 19 shipping containers, was installed in just three days. The restaurant owners capitalized on the cost-effectiveness and versatility of container architecture to create a unique dining space.

Ska Brewing’s Container Restaurant

Ska Brewing in Durango, CO, embraced the container restaurant concept to enhance their visitors’ experience. The Container Restaurant, consisting of two stacked containers, offers a food service area on the lower level and an outdoor patio on the upper container. This setup allows customers to enjoy their food while admiring the brewery’s scenic surroundings.


Shipping container restaurants have emerged as a popular trend in the food business industry, offering numerous advantages such as cost-effectiveness, versatility in design, and mobility. With their unique aesthetic appeal and practicality, container restaurants have been embraced by both national chain operators and independent restaurant owners. Whether it’s a portable coffee shop, a modular bar, or a pop-up beer garden, container restaurants provide a creative and efficient solution for entrepreneurs looking to enter the food business. By leveraging the benefits of shipping containers, businesses can create memorable dining experiences and reach a wider customer base. So, why not consider a shipping container restaurant for your next food venture?