The restaurant industry has witnessed a great evolution in design, dating as far back as the 50s when mid-century designs were the most popular, to the 70s when the designs included dark-themed booths, and the 80s when tablecloths became a must-have for trendy restaurants.
Today’s restaurant designs are nothing like they were before. Therefore, if you want to remain relevant in the industry, according to the Toasttab blog, you may have to close down your restaurant for 4 to 12 weeks for renovations. This is easier said than done. There are many factors to consider before starting a restaurant renovation project, key among them is the restaurant renovation costs. The following nine factors affect the amount you spend on your restaurant renovation.
1. Have a Foolproof Plan
It’s essential to plan how you want to carry out your renovations. Any miscalculated step may end up causing huge losses. One central element to consider when devising your plan is time; you’d be surprised by the number of restaurants closed during peak season because of poor planning. When working with qualified personnel, your project should go smoothly, right? However, this isn’t always the case; the new equipment you ordered may get delayed at customs, or one of the contractors may miss a day or two if they’ve taken on more projects. Plan on how you would navigate worst-case scenarios.
Before starting the process, plan how to inform all concerned parties. These may include suppliers, staff, and, of course, your customers. Communication should continue throughout the renovation process, where you update them on new developments, such as if the reopening date is moved. The renovation period is also a great time to get feedback from customers on what changes they hope to see. All these will influence your restaurant renovation costs.
2. What Do You Want Out Of the Renovation
As earlier indicated, trends and designs eventually go out of style. Therefore, it’s essential to have clear goals for what you hope to gain from renovating your restaurant. There’s no need to spend so much on restaurant renovation costs if you’re not clear about what you want. Whatever changes you make could make or break your brand! So, why renovate your restaurant? To get new décor items, create more space, or rebrand your business? The following are some benefits of renovating your restaurant.
Improved customer experience: Regardless of how good the food is at the restaurant, customers always look for a great dining experience. If you serve Italian cuisine at your restaurant, you should ensure the design and style of the restaurant are Italian to give customers the whole experience. A renovation that enhances the type of food served will help promote your brand as the new Italian place to go.
Enhances employee performance: Employees are among the most important resources in a restaurant. Their performance directly affects the functions of the restaurant. Renovating your restaurant to create a better working environment for your employees not only boosts employee performance but also helps to generate more income for the business.
After determining what you hope to get from your restaurant renovation, the next crucial step is to budget; try not to overspend. Although the restaurant renovation costs vary from one restaurant to the next, Tech 24 Construction estimates a general average amount between 200 and 250 dollars per square foot. Of course, this amount will vary; therefore, you will need to hire general contractors for a more specific estimate. Get quotations from different contractors and go with the ones whose estimates agree or come close to the budget you had in mind.
Truth is, renovations are expensive, and you need to plan your finances wisely; you may need money for new equipment, marketing, or to accommodate new employees that need to be onboarded. If you don’t have enough savings, you may need to approach a money-lending facility to help finance your project. Luckily, there’re several facilities to choose from; choose one with the most favorable borrowing and repayment terms. It’s important to contract an accountant if you don’t already have one, to help you with bookkeeping services and to ensure the monies are used for the intended purposes.
4. Contractors and Labor
From your budget, you’ll see that contractors and the labor they offer account for a significant percentage of the total costs incurred during the renovation process. It is, therefore, essential to ensure you work with a contractor who can give you the desired results. With many contractors pitching online, choosing one can be daunting, but if you use the following tips, you’ll get one who’ll give you value for your money.
Work with a licensed and insured contractor: The first proof you need to ensure you’re working with a qualified contractor is to ask them to show you their license. It’s one of the ways you can be sure the contractor will not be conducting trial-and-error runs on your project. Second, accidents happen, even when working with the most qualified contractors. The last thing you want is to be held liable for any accidents on the job site. Hence, the contractor needs to have cover for both injuries and any other damage to property that may occur.
Consider their availability: Remember you want your restaurant back in business within the shortest time possible. Therefore, the availability of a contractor is a key consideration. Should you choose to work with an extremely busy contractor, you’ll not only have to pay more in restaurant renovation costs, but you may also need to push the renovation to a time when they’re available to take on your project, affecting your estimated completion timeline. As much as this contractor is good at their job, they might not be the ideal match.
Check reviews and references: Most online shoppers check the reviews left by previous buyers to determine if they’ll buy a product or service. Shopping for a contractor is no different. Reviews and references from previous customers help determine how effective and efficient a contractor is. Some may include pictures that show the type of work a contractor does. As you read the reviews, especially those the contractor has nudged you to check out, remember everyone always wants to showcase their best projects.
While construction permits are relatively affordable, costing between 50 to 300 dollars for projects such as those requiring a plumber service, according to Homeguide, working with a qualified contractor means you’ll get all the relevant permits for your renovations. According to Barnpros, getting a permit may take longer, depending on the project and your location. However, on average, the process takes between 6 to 12 months. Therefore, permits should be among the first items to check off your list before commencing renovations.
On one hand, failure to have all the relevant permits or insufficient permits may result in fines and penalties, which add pressure to your already tight budget. On the other hand, having all the right permits will protect the value of your property; if, for example, you work with roofing companies specializing in shingles installation, which isn’t allowed in your local building codes, the value of your restaurant could very likely decline. Consequently, it can be difficult to sell the property when needed. Another notable advantage of having your permits in order is that they’ll help you save money. If, for example, you contract for a hood cleaning service at your restaurant and, unfortunately, you incur damages, your insurer may not reimburse you if you don’t have the proper permits.
6. Utility Work
You would typically not require utility work if you’re doing minor renovations to your restaurant. However, utility work becomes necessary when renovations include expanding the floor space, which translates into high restaurant renovation costs. According to Amanda McCorquodale, restaurants spend a lot of money on utilities. Therefore, it’s critical to ensure that utilities such as the HVAC, electric wiring, and water systems are in perfect working condition for optimum use at the lowest cost. Industry experts advise restaurant owners that if the energy cost is more than five percent, they need to devise a plan to reduce utility bills. One of the ways a restaurant owner may reduce utility costs includes:
Ensuring no dirty filters: This includes your HVAC and the water filtration system filters. When your HVAC filters are dirty, the system uses more energy to produce the same effect. Therefore, hiring HVAC services at least once a month is important. Mineral deposits and other debris may also clog up your water filtration system; scheduling frequent maintenance services is, therefore, important.
7. Furnishing Materials
Furnishing and the materials you use in restaurant renovations comprise a big percentage of the restaurant renovation costs. However, this is one of the areas you can take advantage of to give your restaurant its unique style and design. For example, choose epoxy flooring instead of tile or plain old concrete floors, which lend more character to your space. Besides, it’s a durable material lasting up to 20 years, making it superior for your restaurant floors. Furnishing should be done carefully to ensure the restaurant’s quality is enhanced. If you’re uncertain how to go about furnishing your restaurant, hire an interior designer to help. This is highly advised since interior designers are in touch with the latest trends and designs in the market.
You can use several items to furnish your restaurant. These may include light fixtures, window replacements, couches for the lounge area, or cutlery. If you love shopping, this is a perfect excuse to do so without feeling guilty afterward. Visit different shops, showrooms, and hardware stores and get other quotations. If you already have suppliers you have worked with before, try to secure discounts so you can save on restaurant renovation costs.
8. Let The World Know
As much as you have already communicated the plans to renovate your restaurant, once the job is done, you need to shout it out to the world to know that the renovations are done. For example, you could have a new logo design for your restaurant or print flyers and plaster them all over town, or erect billboards in strategic locations to announce the fact that you’re back with a bang!
How about launching several digital marketing campaigns? You can create social media buzz with creative giveaways to get people talking and even go viral. Research indicates that restaurants that undergo a facelift experience a 10 to 20 percent increase in sales with the right type of marketing. So, don’t be shy; let the world know there’s a refurbished kid on the block. Be bold in your marketing campaigns and have a compelling call to action spiced with giveaways. If you do this correctly, you’ll have to provide extra seating during reopening.
9. Opportunity Cost Of Being Closed
As noted earlier, while restaurant renovations may take 4 to 12 weeks, depending on the upgrades, you’ll likely have to close the restaurant during this time. As soon as you get an estimate on how long the project will take and the restaurant renovation costs, go back to your drawing books and identify what opportunity costs you have at your disposal. For instance, the kitchen can still run if the upgrades only affect the dining area. In that case, you might find it prudent to let your customers continue enjoying your delicious Italian cuisine by placing online orders.
Remember the COVID-19 pandemic that forced restaurants to close down for in-person dining? Instead, restaurants were encouraged to deliver meals to their customers’ doorstep as WHO fought to tame the pandemic. If online deliveries worked during the pandemic, surely your restaurant could survive the renovation period.
According to Zippia, as of 2021, there were 660,936 restaurants in the United States. Further, the National Restaurant Association estimates that the food service industry, in general, will gross 997 billion dollars by 2023. This indicates that restaurants must stay current with all the industry trends to remain relevant as the sector grows. To do this, there are times when they’ll need to renovate, either to bring their structures to par with current decor and ambiance designs, to improve the functionality of the restaurants, or both.
When customers visit your restaurant, they expect more than food and drinks; they want the whole experience, and renovations should also factor in these demands. Your food may be great, but having the right ambiance creates an unforgettable dining experience that keeps customers coming back!