Shipping Container for Restaurant


Many restaurants utilize shipping containers on a regular basis. The restaurant industry typically depends on frequent shipments, keeping a reliable quantity of inventory, and storing seasonal items to operate efficiently. Many restaurants see thousands of customers weekly. In order to cater to their needs, restaurants must design their back-of-house infrastructure to handle high customer volume. This includes the need to store items like perishable food, non-perishable food, beverages, drinkware, utensils, uniforms, seasonal needs, and a slew of other restaurant needs. 

That’s why on-site shipping containers are an essential for so many restaurants. Shipping containers are a mobile, convenient storage solution that help restaurants operate and serve their customers day-in and day-out.

Top 6 Advantages

Here are some of the top benefits of shipping containers for restaurants:


Restaurants are able to use shipping containers for a variety of purposes. Because many restaurants have a limited amount of indoor storage space, they often need extra storage space for supplies. Containers come in many sizes – including 20-foot and 40-foot. You can use them for storage for overstocked inventory of any size, such as:

  • Uniforms
  • Furniture, such as tables and chairs
  • Back-up glassware or dishware
  • “Dry storage” for non-perishable items
  • Refrigerated or frozen storage, for drinks, beer and wine, chilled foods, and other items that are temperature-sensitive
  • And more

Some restaurants even use shipping containers as a building material. Tons of restaurants and bars today are housed in reused, converted steel shipping containers. Some restaurants even build outdoor bars with re-purposed containers. This can act as a creative add-on to your existing restaurant. Building with a shipping container is becoming popular among businesses because they are cost-efficient, mobile, temporary, and more.

Cost efficient

Compared to investing in off-site storage or adding space in your permanent building to store restaurant items, you can save money by opting for an on-site shipping container. Shipping containers come in a variety of new, used, and refurbished conditions, as well as leasing vs. buying options. This allows providers to be flexible and cater a shipping container to your business’s budget. To learn more, take a look at our guide to shipping container pricing.


Portable shipping containers are designed to easily be transported from one location to another. This makes them a very convenient option for businesses that need a temporary or semi-permanent storage solution. Additionally, they can be great for businesses that may need to relocate and don’t want to deal with the hassle of relocating stored items. To learn more about container rentals and delivery, take a look at our shipping container renter’s guide.


Shipping containers are made of high-grade steel that is wind and water tight and weather-proof. This gives restaurants the option to keep their shipping container in just about any location on their premises, including outside the restaurant. They are also secured with advanced locking mechanisms, reducing the risk of theft when your restaurant is closed. Additional security features available include padlocks, lock boxes, and more. Make sure you ask your supplier about options.


Because their clientele and environment is always changing, restaurants’ needs can change very quickly. There might be a sudden influx of customers, or you might break a set of glassware while busy. As a restaurant owner or manager, you never know when you might need access to your storage space to get an extra table, set of chairs, more glassware, and more. If your storage is housed off-site at a storage facility, you simply will not be able to access it regularly. This can result in displeased customers or the inability to handle more volume, which will result in loss of revenue!

Climate Controlled

Restaurants often have to store items that are temperature sensitive, and must be stored in climate-controlled environments. Depending on what type of climate control you need, you can customize and insulate your storage container to reliably store items at a variety of temperatures. Just talk to your supplier about what your restaurant needs, and they will be able to cater to you.

Types of Restaurants to Start with Shipping Container 

Here are just a few of the types of restaurants you can start using shipping container:

Coffee Shops

Many coffee shops offer customers the benefit of buying coffee quickly and on-the-go. This makes shipping containers perfect for small coffee shops. They can be easily delivered to your location and set up in areas where there is a high volume of pedestrians, so that you can easily attract business. Additionally, using a shipping container for your coffee shop gives you the option of operating with a kiosk model, where customers simply walk up and order at the window. You can also convert your container to operate as a walk-in shop with counter service as well as sit-down options.

Mobile and Take-out Restaurants

Because of their portability, shipping containers can be easily used to create a mobile restaurant or take-out restaurant. Similar to a coffee shop, these types of restaurants can operate via a kiosk or walk-up window model, or via a traditionally designed shop. While a 20-foot container would be great for a window-service restaurant, a 40-foot storage container can provide enough space to accommodate a traditional counter service restaurant. Additionally, these restaurants are extremely cost-efficient to start, and can draw lots of attention from foot traffic.


If you are looking to open a bar, using a shipping container is a great strategy. Many bar owners use shipping containers to create an innovative concept with indoor-outdoor space. Shipping container sizes are also perfect for bars, since they are long in length and can easily accommodate a bar seating arrangement. Additionally, they can be stacked or combined to create a larger bar environment.

Full-Service Restaurant

Believe it or not, shipping containers can also be used to build a full-fledged restaurant! At a lower cost than a traditional building, you can use the shipping containers’ versatile building material to create a restaurant of just about any size, dimension, and architectural design. Shipping containers can also give your restaurant an industrial feel, which can create a unique atmosphere for your customers.

Learn more about businesses you can run using re-purposed shipping containers. To compare prices on shipping containers for your restaurant, or any other business operation, we can help you get started. Visit us here, tell us a few details about your needs, and we'll provide you with up to 5 free quotes on a shipping container, with no obligation to buy!

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