Renovating a Restaurant: 4 Steps To Freshen Up Your Venue

Marketing 14 minute read 5th January 2024

Renovating a restaurant is your second chance at a first impression. In an industry where customers pay for food and ambiance, you must be aware of the wear and tear. In fact, people often decide against eating at a restaurant just because they don’t feel good there.

Even if you’re making great efforts with your food, an outdated layout will take away the charm. But fortunately, it’s not that hard to renovate a restaurant if you have the right information. Keep reading for our top tips on the process and keeping costs low.

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What’s the Difference Between Remodeling and Renovating a Restaurant?

When considering updating your restaurant’s outlook, you might hear the words restaurant remodel and renovate interchangeably. While they almost mean the same thing, they have subtle differences.

Remodeling is when your restaurant needs significant changes, including structural ones. Or if your restaurant layout is so poor that it’s hard to operate, you might need remodeling.

On the other hand, renovating isn’t that extensive. An upgrade in the layout, some technical fixtures, and optimization is enough for a renovation.

The process you choose will depend on the condition of your restaurant. But even if there aren’t major problems, you must update your venue every five to seven years. This way, you’ll be able to keep your decor fresh and attract new customers.

Moreover, you can keep up with current trends in the restaurant industry. With new restaurants popping up around every corner, it can become hard to stand out. But with the right renovation plan, you can beat the competition.

Lastly, many restaurants don’t use all of their space because of inefficient layouts. Renovation is your chance to rethink the seating arrangement and make the most of your restaurant space.

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How Much Does It Cost To Renovate a Restaurant?

The first question you must ask is, “How much does it cost to renovate a restaurant?” Without a number in mind, you might end up making extensive plans. But later, you’ll have to revisit them if the number doesn’t match your budget.

Renovating a restaurant costs between $200 to $250 per square foot. The amount of money you need to shell out will depend on several things. Here are some of the common ones:

  • Your location
  • The quality of the materials
  • Your contractor and their workers
  • Your restaurant concept

Moreover, your restaurant might need utility work for plumbing repairs or electrical wiring. If that’s the case, add that to your budget, especially if considering renovating the restaurant’s kitchen layout.

After all, what use would a renovation be if you face such issues even after the upgrade?

Plus, you’ll need licenses and permits to start the work. Otherwise, you might end up with legal issues instead of a new outlook. So, also include these in your restaurant remodel costs.

Apart from these apparent costs, there’s another thing you need to keep in mind. When your restaurant is renovated, you’ll probably have to keep it closed. Guests won’t be able to visit your establishment. That would cost you money unless you accept online orders and takeaways.

4 Steps To Renovate a Restaurant and Freshen It Up

Did you know that renovating your restaurant can spike your sales by almost 40%? All you need to do is keep things fresh so your customers are always curious.

Of course, you can’t make extensive renovation plans very often. But even a simple change in the layout can make a huge difference. If you’re ready for that, here are the four steps you need to take.

1. Start by Doing Extensive Research

The first step to renovating a restaurant is extensive research. You need to know what areas must change to see improvements.

Firstly, talk to your landlord if you’ve rented the space. Ask them what you can and can’t change. Ignoring this step could put you under legal stress. Even if the location is your own, you must look into your area’s laws and regulations. See what they allow to keep the process risk-free.

Secondly, do a complete audit of the place. See if there are any leakages or electrical problems.

Moreover, your furniture might need a refresh, or your walls may need a new coat of paint. Make a note of these things by creating a restaurant renovation checklist. You can even refer back to it and cross off the items as you complete them.

Thirdly, talk to your customers and ask if they need anything particular. The things they suggest might surprise you and make you think, “How did I miss that?”.

You’ve made the restaurant and have an emotional attachment to it. But your customers don’t have that same bias, so their ideas may be more trustworthy. Also, they might spark some simple and cool design ideas for your restaurant.

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2. Obtain Permits and Licenses

As mentioned earlier, you must look at the laws and regulations of your area. Once you know what those rules say, the next step is to obtain all the permits and licenses.

First, you must have a building permit to make big structural changes. It’s also a good idea to get your landlord’s signature on things you plan to upgrade. If you own the place, get everything in writing so there is no confusion later on.

Secondly, get health and fire department approvals. They know which layout is safe and which isn’t.

This will not only save you from legal complications but also from hazards that might cost you a lot. Depending on the area of operation, you might need more approvals related to safety and security.

Thirdly, if you’re planning on a rebrand and want to add signage to your establishment, you’ll need approval.

You might also have to pay some fees since it’s a type of restaurant advertisement. So, consult your lawyer and see what documents you need.

Lastly, you might need separate interior and exterior renovation permits. Or if you’re going to demolish some part of the building, you’ll need a permit. Again, this depends on your restaurant’s area.

3. Create a Plan for Interior and Exterior

Once you’ve got all the permits, it’s time to create the plan. The most important thing is to make the layout easy to navigate. If your customers are having difficulty exiting and entering your restaurant, it’s time for a change.

It’s a good idea to hire an interior designer at this point. But if you’re a small business, it might not be feasible.

In this case, use a tool like Adobe Illustrator, SmartDraw, or RoomSketcher to create a seating plan.

There must be enough space between the place where customers sit and the kitchen. Being too close may disrupt their experience.

Moreover, consider adding a unique theme to stand out from your competitors. Even if you don’t want a theme, remember to add elements from your branding to create awareness.

Look at interior design magazines and see what’s working for other restaurants. Scour the internet for new ideas, especially Pinterest.

In short, you must strike a balance between aesthetics and efficiency when upgrading your interior.

Additionally, the look of your restaurant’s exterior can make or break your impression. Customers often judge the type of food you serve by the exterior of your building. The most important things are cleanliness and color theme. Colors spark emotions in people. Red and yellow have the most potential to make passersby hungry. But don’t copy this combination since it belongs to McDonald’s.

Lastly, consider upgrading your sewage system, pipes, and electrical wiring as well.

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4. Let the World Know You’ve Changed

The last step is marketing your renovation. You’ve made a huge investment that has the potential to bring crowds of customers to your place. But if you don’t create a marketing campaign around this fact, it might all go to waste.

Hearing about a restaurant’s renovation makes people curious. They want to visit the establishment and see the changes for themselves.

It would also be a good idea to host a reopening event to attract customers. Create posters on social media and encourage customers to visit the place.

Moreover, give small discounts to people who visit on the first day of reopening. Take pictures of your changes and post them on social media.

Lastly, create a story about why you’ve gone through the renovation. People want to connect with the brand they’re investing in. The story will help you achieve this.

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Restaurant Renovation Is More Than Just a Change

A fresh and vibrant look can induce hunger in passersby and encourage them to stop for a bite. Plus, it can increase your sales by a huge margin. However, renovating a restaurant might not be cheap. Nonetheless, it will be worth the price and effort.

Along with renovating your venue, consider renovating your marketing approach. If you offer WiFi to your customers, you can now leverage it with Beambox. It is a WiFi marketing platform that helps you gather customer data and automate marketing campaigns.

Moreover, with Beambox, you can easily grow and manage your online reputation. Over 12,000 venues are using Beambox to scale their business. Do you want to be next? Start your trial now!

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