Creating a shipping container cafe: A Unit Hire Case Study

Creating a shipping container cafe: A Unit Hire Case Study

Cleveland Containers tasked the Unit Hire team with creating a coffee shop in a container to demonstrate how a business can be run from one of our big metal boxes at the Farm Business Innovation Show earlier this year.

We’ve written plenty of articles about the benefits of using a container to house your business before. It feels about time that we demonstrate just how a cafe in a container built by the Unit Hire team could look.

Coffee Box interior

Why put a cafe in a container?

As we’ve discussed in previous articles, having a container-based business can work wonders. They’re cheaper than a bricks and mortar premises, potentially portable and offer a really unique way of selling your products.

Cafes, in particular, work wonderfully in containers. For city dwellers, you could put your hip container cafe down in Manchester’s Northern Quarter or Shoreditch High Street, where the innovative design is sure to attract the oat milk cortado guzzling hipster hordes. More rural types may find a container cafe a perfect fit for parkland or as a great place to offer weary ramblers a spot of tea at the end of an unforgiving walking trail. The great thing about a container business is that there are very few restrictions placed on you by the area you’d like to set up shop.

Of course, the portability aspect of container businesses is one of their major selling points, and is particularly important for cafes. With a container, you’ll have the pop-up coffee shop of your dreams, perfect for events such as weddings, birthdays or for larger functions, like community fairs or food festivals.

Designing a shipping container cafe

When Cleveland came to us for assistance in creating the ‘Coffee Box’ we had to consider a range of container coffee shop ideas. While we do think they’re absolutely fantastic things to run a business out of, we’d be lying if we didn’t say that you have to think outside the box before you start decorating one.

Coffee Box interior
Step one was to fully insulate the container to keep any potential customers warm. Then we needed to wire it up so it could be hooked into mains water and electricity to keep the flat whites flowing. Now, a corrugated steel box doesn’t make for the most beautiful cafe in the world, so we lined the exterior of our Coffee Box with wooden planks for an attractive, rustic look that would be sure to bring in the customers. To top that off, the wooden floor and brick walls ensured that customers wouldn’t feel as though they were in a shipping container at all.

The bar in a coffee shop is an utterly essential feature that you can’t afford to ignore. It’s where orders are placed, coffees served and where all the washing up takes place. While the container does confine the space a little, we were able to fit enough sinks, coffee machines and spaces for cups and cutlery behind the counter to cover almost any event.

Coffee Box interior

Our shipping container cafe was a great success at the event and a prime example of just how beneficial shipping containers can be for business owners. If you’re interested in owning your own coffee shop but don’t have the funds or space for a bricks and mortar property, then look no further than the Unit Hire team. Get in touch with our friendly team today.

20.11.2019
Unit Conversions

Do you pay business rates on shipping containers?

Unit Conversions

Can I get a mortgage on a shipping container home?

Unit Conversions

Cabin Fever: How to create your own container office

IMG_0613-min
Unit Conversions

Shipping Container Changing Rooms: A Unit Hire Case Study