Renovating a restaurant reboots your brand and revitalizes customer interest in your business. Keeping it looking fresh and updated can be as important to growth as what is on the menu. There are many aspects involved in a restaurant renovation including build-out, interior decor, and kitchen supplies. Cost is often the number one factor in determining what your restaurant renovation will encompass. Set a realistic budget to achieve your renovation goals, and hire a professional contractor to help bring your vision to reality.

Renovate your restaurant without breaking the bank with these tips:

interior decor

Enhance the Entranceway

As the saying goes, you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. Rework the entrance to your restaurant to give existing and new customers an immediate sense of your business. Impressing guests as soon as they arrive will prepare them for what to expect inside. Ideas to improve the space include:

  • Cleaning up the parking area (e.g. emptying garbage cans)
  • Adding landscaping such as planters and flowers
  • Installing new lighting
  • Opening up the entrance to enhance the ceiling height
  • Updating signage
  • Installing modern doors and/or windows

rest rooms

Update the Facilities

The state of your restaurant’s bathroom can make or break a customer’s perception of your business. It can be a deciding factor as to whether or not a customer will return. Cost effective strategies for improving the restroom include adding a fresh coat of paint, new mirrors, and updating the fixtures. You can also install softer lighting, low-flow, modern toilets, and decorative items such as pictures and furniture. Remember that this is an important space and it will be used by almost every customer that comes into your restaurant.

Invest for the Long Run

Restaurant renovations often include upgrading the kitchen equipment. While making these changes won’t affect your restaurant’s interior style, an investment in energy-saving equipment pays off for years to come. Consider Energy Star-rated freezers, walk-ins, ovens and fryers.

paint colour matters


One of the easiest, most effective, and cost-conscious ways of making a big impact in any space is to paint. Choosing the right colour for a restaurant can also make a big impression on your customers. Colour has been studied by psychologists and marketers for its effect on emotions. Everyone has their own preferences, but there are some universal truths about how colour can influence mood.

In restaurants, colours can sway customers to order quickly and leave, or relax and stay longer, and feel comfortable about spending money. For example, warm colours such as red are known to stimulate and excite. Since red also enhances appetite, many fast-food companies incorporate red into their logos and restaurant colour schemes. White can make a space look bigger and provide a sense of cleanliness. Alternatively, if you have a huge space that feels vast and disconnected, create warmth with colours like dark green, gray, and brown.

eating outdoors

Add a Patio

Eating outdoors (or in areas where there is an abundance of natural light) has been shown to improve concentration, boost creativity, and reduce stress. If you have unused space outside of your restaurant, consider converting the area into a patio. Adding extra seating increases the capacity of your establishment and offers customers a dining alternative. Design the space to protect people from the elements, so that the area can be used in all types of weather. Make sure to obtain the proper city permits for this kind of build. If adding a patio is not an option, consider creating more natural light by adding skylights or extra windows, or opening up interior walls to let light flow throughout the space.

wall art

Redecorate Creatively

  • Art – Sometimes it’s the little things that make the biggest difference. Add artwork and decorations to enhance the space in your restaurant. Connect with the community by working with local artists to obtain unique paintings and creations, often at budget-friendly prices.
  • Menus – Updating the look of your restaurant can also be accomplished by creating new menus. Design your own menus that will be a custom fit for your new look at a fraction of the cost.
  • Tables – Instead of replacing tables, consider overhauling the existing ones. Solid wood tables can be stripped down and refinished to give them a brand new look. If the tables are scratched beyond repair, purchasing inexpensive linens will do the job as well.
  • Materials – Add interest by using non-traditional material like PVC pipes. Cut sections of PVC piping to the proper length and circumference to create a visually interesting rack to store wine in sight of diners.


One design element that makes a huge impact on a restaurant is lighting. Introduce unique decorative lighting depending on the mood you wish to create such as an ambient glow (created by using candlelights). Remember that different surfaces, (metallic, wood, granite or glass) reflect and disperse light differently.

know your customer

Expand your Target Market

While not specifically a renovation budget issue, understanding your target market is essential to the success of your business. Think about the customers you have and the ones you want to attract. If your current clientele are people with children, you may want to expand to a different demographic (such as people in their mid 20s who have their own income). Knowing who comes to your restaurant and why will help you determine which renovations are most important, and the types of finishes you want to incorporate.

crunch the numbers

Renovating a restaurant takes planning and money. Many factors go into determining what you can, and will, spend including the size of your space, the materials being used, the scope of the renovation, and the labour involved. Use these tips along with the help of a professional contractor to keep your renovation on track.

Renovating your restaurant doesn’t have to be expensive. PT General Contractor has been contributing to Toronto’s thriving food and restaurant industry since 1999. We specialize in a full array of building services and are experts in restaurant renovations. Let our skilled team of experts bring your vision to life. Contact us for a free estimate at (416) 757-9100.