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June 21, 2016 Staff

Food Trends: Custom Built Tiny House Cafe’s on The Rise

There are some tiny houses beginning to make big changes in the way people view starting a restaurant. But if you haven’t been paying close attention, you may have missed it. The tiny house movement has been gaining steam post the-Great Recession that left many Americans out of work. This event resulted in lost homes for tens of thousands of famalies and let many to question the traditional knowledge of buying a home to invest and gain in value over the long term.

If you’ve never seen a “tiny house” before the concept is simple. The shelter has of the basic comforts of a traditional home, such as a roof over your head, kitchen, bathrooms and bedrooms. The only difference is the space is much, much smaller. Often 150 – 400 square feet is all that’s available in these homes. Compare this to an average sized American home that will range from around 1500 – 2500 square feet.

Still proponents of the movement say that don’t miss the extra space and that the benefits are worth it. The biggest benefit driving this trend is price. Depending on where you live, you can expect to easily pay north of $250,000 for a modest 3 – 4 bedroom house. Most Americans take out 30 year mortgage and spend decades paying this back.

A custom-made tiny house on the other hand, can often be owned outright for less than $100,000. While many homeowners will use financing to be able to afford their unit, it’s a lot more manageable to pay off. In fact, according to The Tiny Life website, 68% of these people no longer have a mortgage and own the property outright. That’s more than double the rate of traditional homes with a fully paid off mortgage.

Of course the benefits don’t end there depending on who you talk to. Unlike residential homes that are in a fixed location. Tiny houses are built to travel and can be pulled to a new location with a decent sized truck or SUV. This makes the homeowner less tied to a particular city or state and reduces risk as a result. If the job market heads South in your community, you can literally pickup and drive to greener pastures with more opportunity. Other tiny dwellers cite being able to spend more time with the family due to less of an immediate need to make money and travel more.

What’s Causing The Rise of the Tiny Cafe?

So what do custom-built tiny homes have to do with the restaurant industry? Well… Many of the exact same benefits apply to tiny cafe’s and restaurants as they do to homes. Take for example the following:

Lower Price – The startup costs of starting a restaurant begin at $250,000 and can go up to over a million dollars depending on the concept. Many tiny cafe owners get their business launched for under $100,000 making this an appealing way for bootstrapped entrepreneurs to get started.

No Fixed Location – Every restaurant owner understands the importance of a high-traffic and convenient location. Choose the wrong location and you could be out of business or just getting by for years until you get out of a lease. With a mobile unit, if things don’t work out you can hitch the food unit to the back of a truck and find a new location.

Less Risk – When you start a new restaurant, you’re typically leasing out the location. The lease cost alone will typically be a few thousand dollars in rent per month to be able to conduct business. These leases usually require a multi-year commitment from the business owner. If the business doesn’t make enough money, the owner is faced with months of bills before being able to get out of the contract.

With a tiny cafe or restaurant, the risk if far less. The cost of financing a tiny restaurant will usually be less than a monthly lease. Many owners can pay off their equipment within a few years and from there have an asset they can sell if they choose to do so.

In addition to all the benefits listed above. The tiny house cafe movement does owe some of the credit to their growing popularity to the food truck. These business models are nearly identical and operate in pretty much the same way.

Real Life Examples of Tiny Restaurants

If you’re interested in learning more about tiny restaurants currently in operation, check out the examples we’ve compiled below for further reading:

The Lynx Cafe – This tiny cafe serving up big taste to residents of Pemberton, British Columbia.

Portland’s Tiny House Food Truck – News story covering Portland’s SaltBox Cafe, serving up gourmet sandwiches.

This New Cafe is Inside of a Tiny Little House – This article features a pair of couples that started a mobile coffee shop called Story Coffee Company, currently based out of Colorado Springs, Co. The article also outlines how the entrepreneurs came up with their business idea. It’s a great read!

If you are considering getting in building a tiny house cafe for your future business, we would love to help you build your dream house. At M&R Specialty Trailers and Trucks, we are custom manufacturers with over 15-years building experience. Click here to contact us about your project. 

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