In the bohemian haven of Shoreditch, there’s never shortage of individuality, culture and style. Certainly, when it comes to Tom Reaney and his team, complete with succulent patties and bacon jam, Burger Bear definitely looks at home in this London hotspot. However, it isn’t the snapbacks or perfectly-formed beards that help Tom stand out, it’s the fact that he’s built his business from within a shipping container – an idea that, like his burgers, is starting to attract serious praise.
In his own words, Tom has “started looking at spaces differently”. Burger Bear’s founder seems almost dreamy in his notion, evaluating every gap, cove and nook that surrounds his experimental Shoreditch kitchen in a bid to visualise his next container-based project. “I couldn’t recommend them enough” states a proud Tom, starry-eyed with pride as he reflects on his burgeoning business. So what is it that makes containers so suited to the modern world of business? Surely this isn’t just a Shoreditch trend, is it?
Electricity is one of the most important facets of any business and today, there are loads of options available when it comes to powering up your shipping container. When it comes to green energy, solar panels and even wind turbines provide a solid argument in the case for economical solutions. For Tom, a traditional generator was opted for, offering his kitchen the power it needed to maintain its consistently high output. “We’re totally wired up here” declares Tom as he begins to explain the armoured cables and intricate systems that act as the veins of his business, pumping the all-important electrical lifeblood to his hobs.
Tom’s customers are the first to praise the bold declaration that Burger Bear echoes throughout Shoreditch. “I think the storage unit looks great” explains one satisfied patron. “It really works”. For Tom himself, the modular, building-block structure that houses his company offers an opportunity to showcase his daring and forward-thinking vision. There’s no denying that in the context of modern society, the ambition of projects such as Burger Bear offers a welcome alternative to the high-street norm. Radiating individuality from every corner, shipping containers may well provide the solid foundation for future business not just here, but throughout the world as a whole.
For the likes of Tom and Burger Bear, the extortionate rental market within Shoreditch may well have quashed his dream prematurely had he not explored the option of housing his business within a shipping container. Outside of London and throughout the UK as a whole, expensive rental rates are preventing more and more start-ups from pursuing their vision. In the North East, Anna Hedworth’s ‘Cook House’ offers another fine example of how shipping containers can provide an alternative when it comes to starting out for the first time. “I couldn’t afford the prices of some of the leaseholds in town” explains Anna, “then the idea came to me about transforming shipping containers. They offered a cost effective alternative which enabled me to realise my ambition”.
Keeping it simple
When it comes to start-ups like Burger Bear and Cookhouse, the sky is the limit as far as shipping containers are concerned once the planning has been obtained (a process that can be started, managed and concluded online). “I love shipping containers” states an excitable Tom, ” [I love] the modular design of them. Build them up, across. They’re really easy to cut open.” The simplicity of shipping containers makes them ideal for start-ups, offering a plug-in-and-go option where normally bricks, mortar and money stand in the way.
“Our storage containers can keep overheads to a minimum” argues Mobile Mini’s Health and Safety Director, Chris Watcham, “so new businesses can focus on growing, while also helping the environment with an eco-friendly solution”.
You can hear more about Tom’s story here.