Arrant Construction


Restaurant Remodeling: 10 Things to Know

When it’s time to give your restaurant a fresh new look, the excitement can be palpable. A remodel can breathe new life into your establishment, attracting new customers while delighting the regulars. However, restaurant remodeling is a complex process filled with challenges that require careful planning and execution. In this article, we’ll explore 10 essential considerations to ensure your restaurant renovation goes smoothly, keeping both your vision and practicalities in check.

it's time to give your restaurant a fresh new look

What to Consider When Remodeling a Restaurant

Learn about design, budget, schedule, permits, health department, building department, landlord, neighbors, contractor, and details for restaurant remodeling.
– Design impacts the ambiance and customer experience.
– Budget and schedule are crucial for project management.
– Permits and health department compliance are essential for legality.

10 Things to Consider When Remodeling a Restaurant

  1. The Design

The design of your restaurant is the heart and soul of the remodeling project. It’s what will capture the essence of your brand and create an inviting atmosphere for your guests. When considering design:

  • Concept: Your design should align with your restaurant’s concept. Whether you’re an upscale fine dining establishment or a casual eatery, the design should reflect the dining experience you want to offer.
  • Flow: Consider the flow of your restaurant. The layout should allow for smooth traffic of customers and staff, from the entrance to the seating area, and between tables and the kitchen.
  • Aesthetic: Choose an aesthetic that stands out but remains timeless. Trends come and go, but a classic look with some trendy elements can ensure your restaurant feels modern without needing frequent updates.

The Design

Insider Tip: Utilize natural light as much as possible in your design. It not only makes spaces look larger but also creates a welcoming ambiance.

  1. The Budget

Setting a realistic budget is crucial for restaurant remodeling. Here are some budgeting tips:

  • Detailed Estimates: Before starting, get detailed estimates from contractors to understand the full scope of costs.
  • Unexpected Expenses: Always allocate a portion of your budget for unexpected expenses. Renovations can often uncover issues that were not initially visible.
  • Investment vs. Expense: Remember that remodeling is an investment in your business. While it’s important to adhere to your budget, don’t cut corners on quality that could cost more in the long run.
  1. The Budget

  2. The Schedule

Timing is everything in the restaurant business. Consider these factors for your schedule:

  • Off-Peak Season: Plan your remodel during your restaurant’s slower season to minimize the impact on your business.
  • Milestones: Set clear milestones and deadlines with your contractor to ensure the project stays on track.
  • Communication: Keep your staff informed about the remodeling schedule so they can adjust their work accordingly and keep your customers in the loop.
  1. The ScheduleThe Permits

Securing the right permits is a legal necessity. Here’s what to know:

  • Local Regulations: Familiarize yourself with local building codes and regulations to ensure compliance.
  • Professional Help: Consider hiring a permit service or contractor who is experienced in navigating local bureaucracy.
  • Timing: Start the permit application process early, as it can be time-consuming and may impact your renovation schedule.
  1. The PermitsThe Health Department

Health department regulations are stringent, and for good reason. Keep these points in mind:

  • Code Compliance: Ensure your remodel meets health code requirements, including food storage, preparation areas, and sanitation stations.
  • Inspections: Schedule inspections with the health department well in advance to avoid delays.
  • Materials: Use materials that are easy to clean and maintain to keep your restaurant up to health department standards.
  1. The Health DepartmentThe Building Department

The building department will have its own set of requirements:

  • Structural Changes: If your remodel involves structural changes, you may need an architect or engineer to provide plans for approval.
  • Accessibility: Ensure that your remodel complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements for accessibility.
  • Safety: Fire safety, emergency exits, and proper ventilation are all crucial aspects that the building department will scrutinize.
  1. The Building DepartmentThe Landlord

If you don’t own the building, your landlord’s approval is a must:

  • Lease Agreement: Review your lease agreement for any clauses related to remodeling.
  • Approval: Get all plans approved by your landlord to avoid potential disputes.
  • Negotiations: If the remodel will enhance the property value, negotiate with your landlord for possible contributions to the cost.
  1. The LandlordThe Neighbors

Maintaining a good relationship with your neighbors is key:

  • Communication: Let neighboring businesses know about your remodeling plans, especially if there might be noise or disruptions.
  • Consideration: Schedule noisy or disruptive work during times that will least affect your neighbors’ businesses.
  • Support: Show support for your neighbors during your remodel. This can help foster a supportive community and potentially bring in more business post-remodel.
  1. The NeighborsThe Contractor

Choosing the right contractor can make or break your remodel:

  • Experience: Look for a contractor with experience in restaurant remodeling.
  • References: Check references and past projects to ensure quality work.
  • Contract: Have a clear, detailed contract outlining the scope of work, timelines, and payment schedules.

The ContractorInsider Tip: Always have a contingency plan in place. If your contractor encounters delays, be prepared with alternatives to keep your project moving.

  1. The Details

The devil is in the details:

  • Finishing Touches: Pay attention to the finishing touches like lighting, decor, and table settings. These elements can significantly impact the overall atmosphere.
  • Functionality: Ensure that every design element is not only aesthetically pleasing but also functional for both customers and staff.
  • Branding: Your remodel is an opportunity to strengthen your brand. Use details that reinforce your restaurant’s identity.

The DetailsRestaurant Remodeling in the Bay Area

Remodeling a restaurant in the Bay Area comes with its own set of challenges and opportunities. The area’s diverse and discerning clientele expects innovative design and outstanding dining experiences. Additionally, being in an earthquake-prone region may require special considerations for structural integrity. Partner with local professionals who understand these unique circumstances to ensure your remodel meets not only your expectations but also the high standards of Bay Area patrons.

Restaurant Remodeling in the Bay AreaReal-Life Restaurant Remodeling Experience in the Bay Area

When I decided to remodel my restaurant in the Bay Area, I knew it would be a challenging yet rewarding endeavor. One of the most crucial aspects of the remodel was working with the building department to ensure compliance with local regulations and codes.

Dealing with Local Regulations

I had to navigate through the complex maze of permits, zoning laws, and building codes. It was a daunting task, but with the help of a knowledgeable contractor and thorough research, I was able to understand and adhere to the requirements set by the building department.

The Impact on the Remodel

Understanding the local regulations not only helped me avoid potential legal issues but also ensured that the remodel was done efficiently and without unnecessary delays. It also gave me peace of mind, knowing that my restaurant was up to code and safe for both customers and employees.

This experience taught me the importance of thoroughly understanding and complying with local regulations when undertaking a restaurant remodel, especially in a place like the Bay Area with its specific requirements and standards.


Restaurant remodeling is an exciting, yet complex, undertaking. By considering the design, budget, schedule, permits, health and building departments, landlord, neighbors, contractors, and the all-important details, you’re setting yourself up for a successful renovation. Remember, a remodel is not just about the physical transformation of your space—it’s about setting the stage for future success and creating an environment where customers will love to dine. Embrace the process, prepare for the challenges, and look forward to the grand reveal of your newly remodeled restaurant.

We invite you to share your thoughts and experiences with restaurant remodeling in the comments below. Your insights could be the guiding light for fellow restaurateurs embarking on their own remodeling journeys.

Q & A

Who should I hire for restaurant remodeling?

You should hire a professional contractor with experience in commercial renovations.

What are the key steps in restaurant remodeling?

The key steps include planning, obtaining permits, demolition, renovation, and final inspections.

How can I ensure the success of restaurant remodeling?

You can ensure success by setting a clear budget, timeline, and working closely with the contractor.

What if I have a limited budget for restaurant remodeling?

You can prioritize essential upgrades and consider cost-effective materials and design options.

How long does restaurant remodeling usually take?

The duration of restaurant remodeling varies depending on the scope of the project, but it often takes several weeks to months.

What are common challenges in restaurant remodeling?

Common challenges include working within a limited space, complying with commercial regulations, and managing kitchen equipment upgrades.

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