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Top 10 Things to Know Before Initiating a Restaurant Remodel

Top 10 Things to Know Before Initiating a Restaurant Remodel

When considering a restaurant remodel, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of why you’re undertaking this project. Perhaps your current dining space is showing signs of wear and tear, with broken light fixtures, dim lighting, and outdated furniture. Whatever the reason, remodeling can breathe new life into your establishment and align it with your business goals. 

Here are the key aspects to consider when undertaking a restaurant renovation: 

  • Know Your Renovation Goals Clearly 
  • Manage Your Budget Effectively 
  • Research and Understand Permits and Regulations 
  • Establish a Realistic Timeline 
  • Inspect Equipment and Appliances 
  • Ensure Accessibility and Safety for Your Restaurant 
  • Maintain Excellent Plumbing and Electricity 
  • Invest in Branding and Marketing Efforts 
  • Collaborate Your Staff Members 
  • Keep Your Customers Well-Informed 

Know Exactly Why You’re Renovating 

Before getting on a restaurant remodel, consider the reasons behind it. 

Perhaps you’ve noticed declining profits, received customer complaints about outdated furniture and fixtures, or simply feel the need to refresh certain elements, like updating the lighting with tiffany lamps and switching to round tables in the dining hall. The goal is to attract new customers and keep loyal ones coming back through restaurant renovations. 

It’s a smart move. A well-executed restaurant renovation can create a memorable atmosphere for your patrons and provide an opportunity to revitalize your brand. 

Manage Your Budget Effectively

When taking on a restaurant remodel, it’s crucial to budget wisely. By considering the restaurant’s financial situation, you can set a realistic budget for the entire process. There are three key aspects to consider in this regard; existing debt, ongoing operational expenses, and the importance of having an emergency contingency fund. 

  1. Existing debt

Begin by assessing your current financial situation. Determine how much you can allocate towards the remodel, taking into account any existing debt. This will give you a clear picture of your available resources. 

  1. Ongoing operational expenses

Factor in the various costs associated with the project, such as construction, permits, equipment, and design. It’s also important to plan for unforeseen expenses by setting aside a contingency fund. Research industry standards and consult with professionals to ensure you have an accurate cost estimate. 

Prioritize your budget based on your goals. For instance, if your aim is to enhance the quality of your food, consider investing in kitchen equipment and improving the dining area. This ensures that essential aspects of the remodel are addressed first. 

  1. Emergency contingency fund

Construction projects often encounter unexpected costs and delays. Therefore, it’s wise to allocate a portion of your budget to an emergency fund. Experts recommend setting aside between 10 and 20 percent of the total budget for contingency expenses. Having this fund in place ensures that you’re prepared for any unforeseen circumstances without derailing your project. 

Research and Understand Permits and Regulations 

Start by finding out what the local building codes are that concern restaurant remodeling. Several features like structural requirements, provisions for fire safety, plumbing and electrical standards, ventilation systems, as well as accessibility are among the numerous areas covered by building codes. Make sure that your restaurant renovation project complies with all relevant codes. 

You should also contact the local health department before restaurant remodel about requirements in your area. For example, it may include rules about food preparation areas, storage rooms, sanitizing stations, waste disposal, and keeping pests away. To this end, make sure that you comply with these legislations to take care of the health and welfare of your customers and employees. 

Getting the right permission is an important stage in any restaurant remake. However, every project is unique and there are different specific permits needed in every location. Typical permits are building permits, plumbing permits, or electrical permits. 

Speak with the building department or permitting office that would grant you a license and get acquainted with the process of applying for it. However, it would be wise to hire a professional permit expeditor or consultant to overcome these problems. 

Establish a Realistic Timeline 

Timing is one aspect of restaurant renovation you’d want to be strict with, especially with service workers. Being very straightforward with your timing expectations will ensure that your work is done on time. 

Look at the scale of the project, necessary permits and approvals, and access to contractors and suppliers. Work together with other members of your project team like the architects/designers and contractors in creating a chart of activities and their respective deadlines. As you prepare to launch your project, consider the possibility of delays and add extra time to account for unexpected events. 

Talk with your project team right at the start so everybody can be on the same page when it comes to the restaurant renovation timeline and the outcome. Keep communication open with contractors and suppliers so that they can continually update on progress or problems of any sort leading towards making changes to schedules. 

Discuss with your work team about logical sequencing and identifying phase renovations that would allow for continued servicing while undergoing improvements. For instance, try starting with remodeling the dining area but leaving the kitchen in operation, and later on remodeling the kitchen before it operates again. The strategy also ensures that there is continuous revenue and a maintained client base until the restaurant renovation is complete. 

When you are undertaking your restaurant remodel plan, also consider the seasonality of restaurant operations. In case your business usually has less traffic in certain months or periods, then you could as well have the restaurant renovation done just during that period. Lastly, ensure that after every milestone of the restaurant remodeling has been accomplished, you have ample time to inspect and approve. 

Inspect Equipment and Appliances 

In terms of your restaurant remodel, the first step is to assess your existing equipment and appliances. This involves identifying any outdated or faulty items that require replacement. Evaluate their condition, efficiency, and suitability for your intended operational methods. This assessment will guide decisions on whether to retain, refurbish, or replace the equipment. 

The type of equipment you require will depend on the items you plan to sell, your operational concept, and the expected volume of customers. Prioritize essential equipment for your kitchen, such as cookers and refrigeration systems, which directly impact core operational activities. When selecting new equipment, consider factors like operational cost, energy efficiency, ease of maintenance, capacity, and durability. 

Furthermore, consider investing in energy-efficient fridges, cookers, washers, and heating/cooling systems as part of your restaurant renovation. These appliances not only improve operations but also reduce energy consumption, aligning with your sustainable efforts. 

Ensure Accessibility and Safety for Your Restaurant 

When you’re considering a restaurant remodel or restaurant renovation, it’s essential to prioritize accessibility and safety. Ensuring that your restaurant is accessible means making it easy for everyone, including those with disabilities, to enter and move around. Equally important is keeping both customers and staff safe from accidents and hazards. 

Incorporating features like ramps, wide corridors, and restaurant remodeling accessible toilets ensures that everyone can enjoy your establishment. Alongside this, implementing safety measures such as proper lighting, slip-resistant flooring, fire suppression systems, and clearly marked exit paths is crucial to protect everyone on the premises. 

By focusing on restaurant remake accessibility and safety, you create a welcoming environment where everyone feels comfortable spending time. This encourages repeat visits and fosters a sense of inclusivity in your establishment. 

Maintain Excellent Plumbing and Electricity 

The success of your restaurant hinges on excellent plumbing and electricity. Before proceeding with any renovations, assess the current infrastructure and identify any issues. Consider replacing outdated pipelines, installing water-saving fixtures, and ensuring proper drainage. 

Similarly, evaluate the electrical system to ensure it can meet your restaurant’s needs. This may involve adding extra outlets, updating old lighting fixtures, or complying with electrical codes. 

Hiring licensed professionals for plumbing and electrical work is essential to ensure compliance, safety, and proper installation. Focus on these critical systems to guarantee smooth operations in your restaurant, including reliable plumbing and electricity. 

Invest in Branding and Marketing Efforts 

When it comes to your restaurant renovation, branding and marketing are key. After all the effort you’ve put into transforming your business, you want people to take notice. You want your website buzzing and customers flocking in, drawn by your excellent service and fresh look. 

Consider updating your logos, signs, and interior decor to align with your new brand. And don’t forget to create a comprehensive marketing plan that generates excitement and attracts customers. This could involve revamping your website, ramping up your social media presence, running targeted ads, and reaching out to local food writers. 

Another option is to team up with a skilled marketing professional or agency to handle everything for you. Effective branding and marketing help tell your restaurant’s story in a compelling way, drawing more people to your revamped space. 

Collaborate Your Staff Members 

Throughout the restaurant renovation process, ensure that you and your staff are aligned with the business’s goals. You can’t have put in all that effort only for your team to not appreciate the hard work that went into revamping your establishment. 

Assess the capabilities of your current employees during the restaurant remodel and determine whether you need to hire new staff or provide additional training for existing personnel. Develop a comprehensive training program that will equip all employees with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in their roles. This may involve refresher courses on new equipment, updates to the menu, revised standard operating procedures, and enhanced customer service techniques. 

Foster a supportive work environment by offering ongoing coaching, maintaining open communication channels, and providing opportunities for career advancement. Investing in your staff is crucial because it enables them to better serve your customers, ultimately contributing to the growth and development of your business. 

Keep Your Customers Well-Informed 

Throughout the restaurant remodel, make sure to communicate clearly and consistently with your customers. Keep them informed about closures, changes to opening hours, and any other necessary adjustments. Utilize your website, social media channels, email newsletters, and other platforms to provide updates and address any concerns they may have. 

Even during the restaurant renovation or after the makeover is complete, continue to seek feedback from your customers. This shows them that their satisfaction is your top priority. Consider offering loyalty programs or exclusive promotions to thank them for their support and encourage them to return. Maintain active communication with your customers to ensure their continued patronage. Make them feel valued and demonstrate that you are committed to providing them with a great dining experience. Keep the phone lines open for any questions or feedback they may have. 


What is a restaurant remodel? 

A restaurant remodel involves making significant changes to the layout, design, or features of a restaurant to improve its appearance, functionality, or atmosphere. 

How long does a restaurant renovation typically take? 

The duration of a restaurant renovation can vary depending on the extent of the changes needed. It may take anywhere from a few weeks to several months to complete, considering factors like permits, construction, and final touches. 

What are the benefits of a restaurant remake? 

A restaurant remake can breathe new life into your establishment, attracting more customers, improving efficiency, and enhancing the overall dining experience. It can also help you stay competitive in the market and adapt to changing trends. 

How can I prepare for a restaurant remodeling project? 

Before starting a restaurant remodeling project, it’s essential to plan carefully. This includes setting a budget, hiring reliable contractors, obtaining necessary permits, and communicating with staff and customers about any disruptions or changes to operations.

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