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Pop-up restaurants have been popular since the 2000s in Britain and Australia but they are not a new phenomenon. Pop-up restaurants have existed in the United States and Cuba. Diners typically make use of social media, such as the blogosphere and Twitter, to follow the movement of these restaurants and make online reservations.
Pop-up restaurants, like food trucks, are an effective way for young professionals to gain exposure of their skills in the field of hospitality as they seek investors and attention pursuant to opening a restaurant or another culinary concept.
Pop-up restaurants have been seen as useful for younger chefs, allowing them to utilize underused kitchen facilities and "experiment without the risk of bankruptcy". By 2013, this restaurant style had gained steam and prevalence in larger cities thanks in part to crowd-funding efforts that offered the short-term capital needed to fund start-up costs.
Notable entrepreneurs, chefs, and restaurateurs have opened pop-up restaurants:
- Jason Atherton
- Camille Becerra
- Chris Siktars 
- Thomas Keller
- Pierre Koffmann
- Ludo Lefebvre
- Alan Philips [who?]
- Stephen Starr
Differently from traditional pop-up restaurants, which tend to financially support their restaurateurs as means of profit or living, the Restaurant Day event (Finnish: Ravintolapäivä) invites people to put up their own restaurants, cafés and bars for one day only. Founded by Timo Santala, Olli Sirén and Antti Tuomola in Helsinki, Finland, in 2011, the movement is intended to promote and celebrate food culture.
Restaurant Day takes place worldwide four times a year, and over 3600 one-day restaurants by estimated 12,000+ restaurateurs have catered for estimated 180,000+ customers in the past Restaurant Days.
One-day restaurants have so far popped up in 43 different countries including Aruba, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guyana, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Mexico, Mozambique, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Ukraine, Venezuela and USA.
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- "At Pop-Ups, Chefs Take Chances With Little Risk", Gregory Dicum, New York Times, February 11, 2010
- Sarah Schindler, Unpermitted Urban Agriculture: Transgressive Actions, Changing Norms, and the Local Food Movement, 2014 Wisconsin Law Review 369, available at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2414016
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- "So You Want To Open A Pop-Up Restaurant", Alan Phillips, Zagat, March 2, 2011
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