Shipping container restaurants are becoming popular worldwide for their durability and unique modular style. Find out the popular container restaurant types, get new ideas, and know how to source containers at low prices in 2,500+ locations easily.

If you’re in the container restaurant modification business and struggle to find affordable containers from reliable suppliers, we’re here to help. On Container xChange, an online container marketplace, you can access an extensive global inventory of over 100,000 containers across 2,500+ locations.

Our platform makes it easy to find the units you need at wholesale prices so you can focus your time on modifications—instead of spending hours looking for containers. Choose from 1,700+ vetted members and negotiate deals directly without any middleman or commission. 

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            Find containers for your next shipping container restaurant project 

            Shipping container conversion companies like yours require a regular supply of containers. However, finding the containers you need can be difficult if you rely on your local sourcing network. Not to mention all the container scams that you must be careful of. 

            That’s why relying on a trusted platform to buy containers from like Container xChange is important. Our online trading marketplace gives you access to 100,000+ containers in 2,500+ locations globally at wholesale prices. All the sellers on our platform are thoroughly vetted and have public profiles, so you can make sure you’re dealing with trusted sellers. What’s more? We provide a 7-day payment protection. You can pay for your containers and get a full refund if you’re unsatisfied with your purchase.

            Want to check container deals in your location? Simply click the banner below to get started! 

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            What is a shipping container restaurant? 

            Shipping container restaurants are portable eateries made from shipping containers, making them ideal for take-out dining options. These restaurants can operate via a kiosk or walk-up window model, or be designed as traditional sit-down establishments.

            Shipping container restaurants

            Different types of shipping container restaurants

            There are different ways in which a cargo container restaurant can be designed. Let’s explore some popular ways. 

            Container cafe

            An outdoor container cafe is a compact and exciting evolution in the dining industry, constructed from shipping containers. These cafes often feature walk-up windows or small seating areas, offering a unique ambiance for enjoying beverages and light snacks. 

            Shipping container coffee shop  

            Apart from container cafes, container coffee shops are also getting quite popular. A shipping container coffee shop is a compact and modern setting for serving coffee and pastries. You can also convert a container to build a shipping container bakery. 

            It’s great for locations where takeaway coffee is popular. We’ll discuss how Starbucks utilized container coffee shops later in the blog. 

            Container bars

            Container bars are trendy, eco-friendly drinking establishments created from shipping containers that can be easily set up at events or other places. They offer a cost-effective way to serve food and drinks without compromising on quality or style.

            Shipping container food truck

            A container food truck is a mobile eatery constructed from a shipping container, offering a durable and customizable alternative to traditional food trucks. It combines the portability of a food truck with the robust structure of a shipping container, allowing for a unique and versatile dining experience. 

            Shipping container food truck

            Storage container restaurant 

            Containers can also be used for storing restaurant equipment efficiently. The surplus space within these containers can be repurposed to house kitchen appliances, utensils, and supplies, optimizing the restaurant’s functionality while maintaining a sleek and organized appearance.

            Shipping container kitchen 

            For a container restaurant design to work, you’ll need to create an efficient kitchen for food preparation. Containers can be used for this purpose too. You can equip container kitchens with all the necessary appliances, fixtures, and storage solutions.

            As you can see, there are multiple ways to modify containers even in the restaurant industry. Continue to explore our blogs to learn more about transforming containers into functional spaces like container gyms, container offices, container homes, etc.

            In all container modifications, the most important thing to keep in mind is to get containers at the best prices. Not only will this reduce your raw material procurement costs, but it will also leave you more money to spend on the actual modification work. 

            Want to know how you can do this? Simply use the Container xChange marketplace to find containers at wholesale prices in your preferred location. 

            Examples of converting shipping containers to restaurants

            Let’s take a look at how some popular companies are using containers for their restaurants. 

            Starbucks shipping container 

            Starbucks Taiwan opened its first store in 2018 constructed from recycled shipping containers. This shipping container drive-thru store addresses customer convenience while promoting sustainability by repurposing 29 shipping containers. Customers can also enjoy sitting in open spaces within the cafe. Spanning 320 square meters and standing two stories tall, this innovative design reflects Starbucks’ 30-year commitment to environmental responsibility. 

            Shipping Container Drive-Thru Wendy’s

            Wendy’s is another popular fast-food restaurant chain that has used the restaurant container model in Trinidad and Tobago. The company used multiple shipping containers to create the primary restaurant space and the drive-thru extension on the side. It’s the perfect example of how companies are using multiple containers to create a shipping container diner.

            It’s easier to buy containers at wholesale rates if you’re buying multiple units. Check out container deals at wholesale prices here! 

            Shipping container cafe Taco Bell

            The Mexican fast-food restaurant chain, Taco Bell, also joined the container concepts restaurants trend by building its first container drive-thru in Los Angeles in 2017. After its success, Taco Bell opened another shipping container restaurant in Detroit in the city of Michigan. The company used four 40ft high cube containers and a cantilevered 20ft cargo container on the roof.

            Check out deals for shipping containers in Los Angeles and Detroit here and build a food shipping container at the best price. 

            Shipping container restaurant Gulf Shores 

            The Gulf restaurant at Long Beach is an innovative restaurant that combines industrial aesthetics with coastal charm. Its modular container design allows for flexible layouts and is sustainable compared to building traditional restaurants at the beach. 

            Get a 20ft cargo-worthy container in Long Beach, California for $1,400 on our platform today! 

            Container restaurant Detroit

            Converting a shipping container into a restaurant has become quite popular in Detroit. Many container restaurants in Detroit repurpose shipping containers to create a trendy shipping container food court. These establishments reflect the city’s industrial heritage while offering a modern and eco-friendly dining experience.

            Want to modify containers into restaurants for your business? The first step is to identify if you need containers on a regular basis; if yes, we recommend you buy containers in bulk. Why? Because you will then get containers at wholesale price and spend less compared to buying single units now and then.

            Check out container deals on Container xChange for a shipping container restaurant in Tucson, Denver shipping container restaurant, shipping container restaurant Kansas City, shipping container restaurant Orlando, and other 2,500+ locations. 

            Simply click the banner below to get started! 

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            What are the benefits of using sea containers in a restaurant?

            The benefits of shipping container restaurants include sustainability, cost-efficiency, and how easy they are to customize. Let’s explore this in detail.  


            One of the key benefits of a restaurant container is how customizable it is. Customized container restaurants fit the specific design preferences of clients, allowing for unique and innovative layouts. You can also choose from different restaurant container sizes. For example, choose a 20ft container to build a low-budget small container restaurant design. Or, build a 40ft container restaurant for more space. You can even combine two containers for unique designs.

            Energy-efficient and sustainable 

            A restaurant made from shipping containers is energy-efficient and sustainable. By repurposing shipping containers, these restaurants promote environmental sustainability and reduce construction waste. Additionally, their compact and well-insulated design helps to significantly lower overhead costs, such as electricity, making them an eco-friendly and cost-effective option for modern dining establishments.

            Time efficiency 

            Shipping container food restaurants can be constructed and assembled much faster than traditional restaurants, often taking just a few weeks compared to several months. This expedited build time allows for quicker openings and faster returns on investment. 

            As a container modifier, you should have access to a container inventory so that you can buy containers quickly whenever needed. Simply subscribe to the Container xChange marketplace to access an inventory of 100,000+ containers and reduce the time it takes to find containers. 

            Portable restaurant 

            Container restaurants offer significant benefits in terms of portability, as they can be placed virtually anywhere, from urban centers to remote locations. Their modular design allows for easy relocation and you can even build them off-site.


            Another advantage that container restaurants offer is cost-effectiveness due to their efficient construction process and lower material expenses—compared to traditional brick-and-mortar establishments. The use of shipping containers significantly reduces the investment costs. Let’s explore the container restaurant cost further in the next section. 

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            Container restaurant price: How much does a shipping container restaurant cost?

            The cost to build a shipping container restaurant is primarily determined by the cost of the shipping container itself, which varies depending on factors such as size, container condition, and whether it’s new or used.

            You can get a new 20ft shipping container for $1,890 in Chicago. It makes more sense to buy cargo-worthy containers for modifications as they lower the shipping container restaurant cost. The average price of a 20ft cargo-worthy container in the US is $1,300.

            To get more container space, you can choose bigger containers like 40ft. The average price of a new 40ft container is $3,350 in the US. For cargo-worthy condition, you’re looking at $1,455. 

            Many shipping container restaurant ideas also require 40ft HC containers. They provide the maximum container space for converting shipping containers to restaurants. You can get a cargo-worthy 40ft HC container for $1,720. 

            Now that you know the prices of containers, let’s explore how you can use the Container xChange platform for your business. 

            Get containers for restaurants at best prices on xChange 

            As a shipping container modification business, your priority is to buy containers at low prices. You may also want a regular supply of containers to meet your business needs. That’s where the Container xChange marketplace can help you. 

            On our platform, you can choose between 100,000+ containers globally. Whether it’s special containers you’re after or standard ones, xChange gives you access to an online inventory in 2,500+ locations at your fingertips. 

            All sellers on our platform are vetted so you can be sure that you’re dealing with trustworthy partners. To further ease your worries, we offer a 7-day quality assurance period during which you can thoroughly inspect the container. If you’re unsatisfied, rest assured you’ll receive a full refund.

            Our support team is always available to help you through your container deals, payments, or any other issues you may have—making it easier for you to focus on modifications rather than spending time buying containers or worrying about scams and unreliable suppliers. Want to know more about the xChange marketplace? Simply click the banner below for more information. 

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            Shipping container restaurants: Common FAQs

            How to start a shipping container restaurant?

            To start a shipping container restaurant, customize the container with kitchen facilities, seating, and ventilation, ensuring it meets health and safety regulations. Secure necessary permits, choose a strategic location, and create a unique dining experience to attract customers.

            What size is a shipping container cafe?

            A shipping container cafe typically uses a 20ft or 40ft container, providing a compact yet functional space for kitchen facilities, seating, and customer service areas.

            Is shipping containers a good business?

            Yes, a shipping container business can be profitable due to its cost-efficiency, versatility, and growing popularity in creating unique, customizable spaces like cafes, gyms, and offices.