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Shipping containers – the next generation of restaurant design?

  • September 1, 2020
chef working in shipping container restaurant

Shipping container restaurants.

They’ve become a popular option in recent years.

In fact, some of the most charismatic and thriving eateries in the UK have been created from shipping containers. Budding chefs and experienced restauranteurs alike have begun to ditch traditional bricks and mortar in favour of an empty steel box – and it’s easy to understand why.

Aside from their low price tag, they have a long list of benefits. For example, they’re:

  • portable, allowing restaurants to tap into different markets
  • easy to modify to meet the restaurant’s style
  • expandable in line with current demand and requirements
  • durable and sturdy
  • low-maintenance
  • eco-friendly

For many businesses, they’re the ideal steppingstone. A way to establish their brand and attract trade, before moving on to a permanent location. For others, they’re proving a convenient way to tackle the challenges of social distancing, creating sufficient space for customers to dine safely.

Perhaps you’re looking to increase your venue’s capacity? Or maybe you need a cheap option to get your business off the ground? Either way, a container restaurant could be the solution. And to shine a light on their potential, here we take a look at some of the most successful ones already created.


3 of the best shipping container restaurants

1. Cook House – Newcastle upon Tyne

Example of shipping container restaurant

Cook House began life as a supper club, run from two converted shipping containers in Newcastle. The owner wanted to create a space where guests could sit inside the kitchen, eat delicious food, and experience a warm and welcoming atmosphere. And, it’s fair to say, it worked.

This popular shipping container restaurant is now one of the city’s most talked about eateries. It’s been listed in the Good Food Guide every year since 2016 and – to accommodate its growing number of loyal customers – it has now shut its container doors and moved to bigger premises. A fantastic example of how containers can be used to kick-start a business, without breaking the bank!


2. Box-E – Bristol

Example of container restaurant

Another popular shipping container restaurant – this time based in Wapping Wharf, Bristol. Box-E is a 14-cover venue made from two basic containers. However, the interior is incredibly impressive, featuring plywood clad walls and an open kitchen that allows you to watch the chefs at work.

It’s the first solo adventure for Elliot Lidstone and his wife, Tessa. Elliot is well-known in the hospitality industry, having previously worked at Michelin-starred restaurants and earning himself two AA rosettes. As such, Box-E demonstrates – it doesn’t matter whether you’re just starting out as a cook or have been wearing chef whites for many years – shipping containers are a viable option.


3. Wildflower restaurant – London

New shipping container restaurant in London

Wildflower is London’s first ‘fine-dining’ storage container restaurant.

It opened briefly before lockdown and forms part of the brand new Buck Street Market – a complex made from 88 multi-coloured and recycled containers. The sheer incongruity of the concept is fascinating. The finest tasting menus are combined with a relaxed atmosphere. And despite its rustic exterior, inside is plush and luxurious – with thick-pile carpets and opulent velvet seating.

This is a fine example of the amazing things that can be achieved with a couple of old steel boxes.

Create your own shipping container restaurant

Feeling inspired? We’re not surprised. Shipping containers are the future of restaurant design. Whether you’re looking for unique premises for a new eatery or are struggling to cope with the challenges of social distancing in your restaurant, this is the way forward. And we’re here to help.

Not only do we supply new and used shipping containers, we’re leading specialists in container conversions and have worked on many container restaurant projects in the past – including a recent multi-storey for the Christmas markets. So, why not get in touch with a member of our team?

To discuss your ideas and requirements – and take the first step towards your new shipping container café or restaurant – simply give us a call on 0870 240 9405. Or, alternatively, send an email to and we’ll respond to your enquiry as soon as possible.


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