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10 Pointers to Keep in Mind for Remodeling you Restaurant

10 Pointers to Keep in Mind for Remodeling you Restaurant

Learn from the experiences of someone who has undergone a restaurant remodeling to understand the remodeling process, priorities, and insights they wish they had before starting. 

After a decade of successful business, celebrating your restaurant’s longevity is natural. However, in a constantly evolving industry filled with new and exciting openings, it’s essential to reinvest in your establishment’s success to remain competitive. 

Determining when it’s time for a remodel can be a challenge. For the owners of a Denver restaurant, launching new concepts provided a fresh perspective on their original venue. 

“After completing another restaurant, we were thrilled with the outcome,” one owner reflects. “Sometimes, you need to step back and see your establishment with fresh eyes. Keeping our restaurants current and relevant is important to us.” 

The owner shared insights into the remodel process, priorities, and lessons learned from their experience. Here are their key tips and takeaways: 

  • Evolution is Crucial for Staying Relevant

For the restaurant, the remodel presented an opportunity to generate excitement about the establishment, particularly for customers who hadn’t visited recently. In a competitive town, it’s crucial to maintain a leading position in the community. Avoiding an outdated appearance is essential, striving to set the standard and stay ahead of the competition. 

Occasionally, the decision to renovate is purely aesthetic. Perhaps the space inherited had a mix of finishes and building materials, and over time, there’s a desire to unify the restaurant’s appearance. Evolving into a look that better reflects the essence of the establishment is a valid reason for renovation. 

  • The Expected Budget vs. Reality

Projected budgets for remodels often fall short of reality. The actual costs tend to exceed expectations and desires. Finding a balance between ambitious renovations, such as a million-dollar overhaul, and making noticeable improvements is crucial. Show respect to your investors by conducting value engineering to identify the most significant priorities. 

  • Pay Attention to Customer Feedback

During a restaurant remodel, it’s essential to consider customer feedback. This input can guide changes to create a more inviting atmosphere. For example, in response to noise complaints, noise panels were installed in the dining area. Additionally, the seating layout was redefined to enhance comfort and appeal. 

Previously, the restaurant had a main dining room and a smaller back room used for private parties and general seating. However, these spaces were transformed into three distinct seating areas, each with its own allure. Now, there are three equally inviting areas, with the backroom featuring cozy booths, making it more appealing to diners. Although no seats were intended to be lost, adjustments were made to maintain the dining room’s integrity. 

  • Make the Most of the Opportunity:

Remodeling a restaurant presents an opportunity to overhaul the business. Beyond updating artwork and decor, structural enhancements can address fundamental business needs. For instance, if there was insufficient storage space to execute the desired wine program, the remodel provides the chance to address this deficiency. 

Whether it’s improving storage, upgrading equipment, or enhancing the overall layout, a restaurant remodel allows for strategic changes that positively impact the business. 

  • Hands-On Approach for Restaurant Remodeling

When it comes to restaurant remodeling, being hands-on is key to maintaining control. The more you immerse yourself in the remodeling process, the better. Being present on-site as your restaurant undergoes its transformation allows you to be part of crucial conversations and influence the final outcome. 

You might feel like you’re taking on an extra job, but the temporary effort of being there during the remodel typically pays off. Show up early in the morning, preferably right when work begins, and observe closely. Engage in conversations and ask questions about the ongoing work. This keeps you engaged and ensures there are no unpleasant surprises once the remodel is complete. 

  • People Over Property

In restaurant remodeling, remember that your people are your greatest asset, not just the four walls. Your regular customers may have a strong attachment to your restaurant as it is. Making significant changes can risk alienating some loyal patrons. 

To mitigate this, involve your guests in the restaurant’s evolution. Consider inviting them to a grand re-opening celebration to showcase the changes. Assure them that while the restaurant may be getting a makeover, its essence remains the same. For instance, if there are concerns about menu changes, reassure them that it’s still the same beloved place. 

  • Your Team Relies on You

The restaurant underwent renovations for a month. Besides considering the financial aspects, the manager had to think about the staff. Communication was key; the plans were shared early, and the remodeling was scheduled for January, a quieter month. Alternative resources were arranged: some staff worked at other restaurants, others utilized unemployment benefits, and some took vacations. Paid vacation was always part of the deal. 

The outcome was a remarkable success, with nearly all of the front of house staff retained. 

  • Familiarizing Staff with Changes

Expect a learning curve when remodeling your restaurant. After all, with a restaurant remodel comes a whole new setup for your team to adapt to. It’s like learning the ropes all over again. 

For instance, there are new table numbers to learn and new seat arrangements to get accustomed to. It’s not just about fancying up the place; it’s about getting everyone on board. And that’s where the learning curve kicks in. 

  • Finding Value in the Details

You can’t get the best of everything, but you can make strategic decisions that yield significant results. Prioritize key elements that will make the biggest impact, such as lighting and staff uniforms, while being mindful of costs. By aligning investments with overarching goals, you can create a cohesive and impactful renovation that leaves a lasting impression on your customers. 

  • Planning for the Long-Term

Be honest with yourself about the future of your restaurant. Will a remodel support your long-term goals, or is it merely a short-lived solution? Consider where you envision your establishment in five or ten years. Before getting ahead with any major renovation, carefully evaluate its potential impact on your restaurant’s trajectory. 


Why should I remodel my restaurant? 

Remodeling revitalizes your establishment, improving its appeal and functionality to attract and retain customers. 

What areas should I focus on? 

Focus on updating dining layout, decor, kitchen equipment, and accessibility to enhance ambiance and efficiency. 

What is restaurant renovation? 

Restaurant renovation involves updating and improving various aspects of your establishment to enhance its overall appearance, functionality, and customer experience. 

Why should I renovate my restaurant? 

Renovating your restaurant helps keep it competitive, attracts new customers, and retains existing ones by creating a fresh and inviting atmosphere. 

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