Immersion in the creation of an ephemeral restaurant concept

After 10 days of welcoming the general public to lunch, teatime and dinner services, the pop-up restaurant created by our students in the 2nd year of the Bachelor’s in International Restaurant Management has closed its doors. Here we take a look back at the genesis and operation of the Back to Wonderland restaurant concept, where the art of bringing guests into the peculiar world of Alice in Wonderland came to life!

Creating a viable pop-up restaurant concept

To conclude their second year and put all of their acquired know-how into practice, we gave our students on the Bachelor’s in International Restaurant Management just one mission: to create and run an innovative pop-up restaurant concept that would be open to the general public, no less.

With the support of our teaching teams, the students worked for several weeks on the numerous aspects involved in setting up a restaurant, combining creativity, operational skills and managerial know-how:

  • Development of a concept and a strong brand identity
  • Creation of the Food & Beverage offer with a coherent pricing strategy
  • Seeking partnerships for decor, tableware, raw materials, drinks, etc.
  • Implementation of a communication strategy with the aim of creating awareness and generating bookings
  • Management of a schedule and human resources

Back to Wonderland was, of course, a project created within the educational framework, but where everything existed in real life: real external and internal clientele, inventory management, cash flow, etc. Our students also had to manage income and outgoings like true professionals, with no room for mistakes!

After a thorough initial exploratory phase, it was time to put everything into practice. Discovering the immersive dining room, deciding on the layout of the pop-up restaurant, printing up menus, holding preparatory meetings with the teams, sending out a press release and implementation of the communication plan, and much more. The restaurant was set to open its doors for 10 days on the Institut Lyfe campus and the launch proved to be a great success, with Back to Wonderland fully booked before it even opened!

Full immersion in the world of Alice in Wonderland

Back to Wonderland was a unique restaurant experience, immersing diners in a vivid recreation of the fantastical world of Lewis Carroll, author of Alice in Wonderland. Inspired directly by the novel, the pop-up restaurant imagined and created by our students enchanted clients and served more than 400 covers in just 10 days. From lunch to dinner via the traditional English afternoon tea, there was something for everyone.

Everything about this concept was there to amaze and enthral the curious. A welcome from a hurrying White Rabbit, immersive service alongside Alice, the Mad Hatter and Tweedledum and Tweedledee, decor based on the Aces of Clubs and Spades, etc. Back to Wonderland lived up to all of its promise.

The whole class is proud of the work done for this project: we exceeded the expectations we had set for our very first pop-up project. Being fully booked even before the opening adds pressure, of course, but after a day of trial runs we were ready and we got excellent customer feedback, both in terms of the menu and the immersive experience! Alice in Wonderland is a theme that speaks to everyone, young and old: we managed to transport adults back to their childhood for the duration of a meal, and bring a sparkle to the eyes of our customers. Arthur Blanc, 2nd year student on the Bachelor’s in International Restaurant Management

Full marks, therefore, on this assignment for our students in the 2nd year of the Bachelor’s Degree in International Restaurant Management! Perhaps this concept will come to life near you one day. In the meantime, more pop-up concepts are on the way. Stay tuned, our students have serious talent!

Do you want to design and launch your own restaurant concept? Our Bachelor’s in International Hospitality and Restaurant Management is for you! You will gain an understanding of the challenges and the reality of creating a restaurant, essential learning for our students who dream of setting up as entrepreneurs after their studies.

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