The restaurant business is competitive, and it is vital to keep your customers interested and happy. Did you know that studies have shown that a well-planned restaurant renovation can help boost your overall sales by 10-30%? Here are some ways to renovate your restaurant, that will help improve your bottom line.
Customers visit restaurants for two reasons: to eat, and to enjoy the ambiance. Make sure your restaurant looks as good as your food tastes. If things are feeling a little out of date or drab, it is time for a renovation.
Listen To Your Customers
One of the first rules of business is to know who your customers are and what they want. These days, your customers are often happy to tell you exactly what they think about everything from food quality to the wait staff to the colour of the bathroom walls.
- Reviews – Pay attention to your customer reviews, both the good ones and the bad. If a customer says the look of your restaurant is dated, it might be time for a facelift.
- Talk with your customers – Use this opportunity to talk with your loyal and existing customers, find out what they love and what they might like to see improved. If you follow your customers’ input on renovations, they will feel valued, and you can be sure you are making changes that your customers will enjoy.
Create a customer survey online and offer coupons or other incentives to get people to respond. Your POS platform should allow you to add the survey URL to your customer receipts. There are several online survey engines, like Survey Monkey, that will do all the compiling & number crunching or you. Most offer a free entry-level survey, with pay-for-play upgrade options.
- Customer behaviour – Pay attention to where your customers like to sit and hang out, and where your busiest locations are. Also, pay attention to the empty spots. Customer behaviour can give you clues to where you could make some changes to make the most of your restaurant.
- Areas of high demand and short supply – Do you always have a lineup after house league on Thursday nights? Should you expand your outdoor patio if it is always full? Maybe expanding your bar area and removing some booths makes more sense. Watch for ways you can take make more space where you have the most demand and find more ways to pack people in.
- Changes in demographics – Take a walk around the neighbourhood. Notice who is moving in, and how things are changing. You don’t have to follow every trend, but it is vital to take advantage of this opportunity to attract new customers.
Think of renovations as a chance to welcome these new customers to your restaurant with something that appeals to them. Maybe you started as a student-friendly sports bar, but now you notice your customers are getting older and starting to have families. It could be time to add a kids’ section to your menu and seating that appeals to families.
Ask Your Staff
Ask your staff to help think of ways to improve their efficiency. Some changes could be as simple as rearranging the shelving to make reaching supplies easier. More substantial upgrades, like a new efficient dishwasher or cooking equipment, can be expensive but can have a massive impact on your restaurant. Upgrading the kitchen will not only improve employee morale, but you will also be able to move out the food at a better rate or diversify the menu in new and exciting ways.
Accessibility and Flow
Making your restaurant accessible is about more than adding a ramp at the door; it’s about making sure that all your customers can feel comfortable navigating the space. A ramp at the entrance is great, but if your washrooms are up a flight of stairs, that doesn’t help customers who use a wheelchair.
Take advantage of the renovations to make your entire space accessible. Consider how to improve the floor plan to help your staff and customers move through the space efficiently and comfortably. This includes the seating areas, washrooms, and entrances (including fire exits). It will make your restaurant feel more open and welcoming for everyone.
Simple Decor Updates
Simple updates in wall colour, lighting and flooring can have a significant impact on the look and feel of your space. If a total restaurant overhaul isn’t in the cards, consider a paint job, new carpet and new lighting fixtures to give your restaurant a fresh update.
Thinking Outside The Box
The exterior of your restaurant is the first thing your customers see when they visit your business, which makes it your first opportunity to create the impression that you want new customers to get.
The entrance is also an important place to focus on accessibility. If your customers can’t get through your door, they can’t give you their business. Make your entranceway welcoming, exciting, and impactful for existing and prospective customers.
Get creative about different ways to generate revenue. Some ideas might include enlarging your bar area to take advantage of high-profit margins on alcohol, creating a private party suite for private functions, adding a take-out window for late-night snacks, or an outdoor patio with live music to increase your bar sales.
Energy expenditures are a significant business expense. Take a look at ways you can improve your carbon footprint, and lower your energy bill. Simple ways to go green in your restaurant include:
- A programmable thermostat
- Switching to LED light bulbs – they produce light 90% more efficiently than traditional bulbs.
- Installing a programmable LED lighting system – this lets your design the look of the lighting in your space and is
- incredibly energy efficient.
- Automatic water faucets
- Automatic hand dryers instead of paper towels.
- Energy-efficient appliances
- Double pane windows
These small changes can save your energy bill 30% over a year.
Look for ways to use recycled or sustainable materials. And let your customers know about these green initiatives.
Timing Your Renos
While it may seem counter-intuitive, experts advise you to do renovations when your restaurant is doing well. Don’t wait for when things start to take a downward turn. This forward-thinking is appealing to customers who will have to look forward to the exciting new changes coming up.
Renovations are an opportunity to upgrade the way your entire business functions, including service, technology and environment. You can welcome new customers who may not have given your restaurant a second look, and win back customers who came once but didn’t care for what you had to offer. If done thoughtfully, these renovations can also increase revenue for your business and bring in new customers.
For help with all aspects of restaurant renovations from planning to permits, call PT General Contractor at (416) 757-9100. We are specialists in restaurant renovations and can help get your project started today. Take a look at our list of services, and contact us for a quote today.