Every building needs some maintenance now and then, including restaurants. A little reinvestment is essential to remaining relevant as other establishments come and go. When you open again after the work’s all done, you might be able to branch out to new demographics and enjoy more success in the future.

Before you hire a restaurant contractor, you have to think about what you need first. There’s plenty to do before you start the work. First, you have to work out things like budgets and schedules to help direct how the work should progress. Keep these things in mind before you start to make the reconstruction more of a breeze.

Secure the proper permits first

Before making any structural or aesthetic changes, make sure you have the right permits for them. Check your lease as to whether you can make any renovations to the property. Some contracts have restrictions on what renovations tenants can make. It may be possible to renegotiate the terms of your lease on a case-by-case basis. Check with your landlord if you can find an arrangement. Do some research on municipal codes that may prohibit you from making significant changes to the building’s exterior or interior. Work with your contractor to ensure that you have all the permits to proceed.

Have some emergency funds in your budget

Your projected budget is never your real budget

When developing your budget, it’s usually a good idea to plan to go over budget. It’s impossible to plan for every occurrence that pops up during the renovation. Part of the renovation process is striking a balance between saving on costs and making enough of a difference for customers to notice. Keep some extra funds in case of emergencies; they’re an excellent way to keep production on schedule. When unexpected costs rear their ugly head, you’ll have a way to pay for them.

Take your employees into account when planning

Think about your people

Human resources are a vital part of any business, and especially for restaurants. When planning your renovations, think about how the construction work may affect your employees. If you’re planning to be closed for a significant amount of time, what are they going to do? Be considerate of your people’s situation and help them through the transition.

Inform them early to give them time to make their arrangements. Consider helping your employees with other resources; for example, providing paid time off during the renovations. Employees are always appreciative when employers make an effort to be considerate. You will see a return in morale and future productivity.

Keep up with current trends

Giving your restaurant an all-new look is a good chance to adapt to the latest trends and make yourself hipper. Study the newest food trends for some ideas on how to stay modern and chic. Put your own spin on them to give your restaurant a unique atmosphere. Take a few chances and get comfortable innovating; many people appreciate a place with its own identity.

Focus on critical issues first

When it comes to renovation, it can be easy to get carried away with aesthetics. However, think about the critical factors first. If there are pressing issues that need fixing (e.g. leaking basins or congested parking) solve them first. Sprucing the place up is important, but pressing issues that affect how well the restaurant runs always come first.

Think simple

Your renovation isn’t just about big fixes like new furnishings or decor. You can renovate the little things (e.g. repaint your furniture to make it look fresher, or change the light fixtures to fit your restaurant’s theme). Look for simple ways to breathe new life into your restaurant without adding extra costs to the bill.

Give some thought to your floor plan

Think about your layout

Your restaurant’s layout is a big deal, both for the sake of customers and employees. On the customers’ end, consider factors like ease of entrance and maneuverability. Are your tables arranged so customers can make their way around easily? How easy is it for customers to enter and exit the premises?

What about your employees? Are they able to access ready-to-serve food quickly and easily? Do servers have rest areas that are screened from customers? Use questions like these as a guide to make the floor plan more convenient for everyone inside.

Stay in control of the process

Be a part of the loop at every stage of the renovation. Being more hands-on lets you exert more control over the upgrades. Strive to be on-site frequently to give your input and make it easier for contractors to consult you when needed. It’s also a chance to look around and ask questions. Use the opportunity to stay informed and keep track of what’s happening. Be prepared for the dust and noise, though.

Use social media to spread the word

Let people know

Once the dust settles (literally and metaphorically) it’s time to let everyone know you’ve had a renovation. It’d be a waste to go through all that effort if no one knew about it (especially in the case of your regulars). Use every method of advertising you have to spread the word and raise awareness.

There are plenty of ways to launch a restaurant via social media these days. Try posting updates and videos to get customers pumped for the reopening. You can even offer promos to your advantage. Provide special offers related to the season or the theme of newness to help build a great atmosphere.

Do a practice run before reopening

Account for the learning curve

The renovation will bring big changes with it. It might be wise to get used to the new layout before reopening. Consider having a mock service first to get the staff used to the new workflows. After all the work, all the table and seat numbers will be different, and your employees need to get used to an all-new workplace. Take some time to get back in the swing of things and find out where everything is before reopening night.

Should You Stay Open during Renovation?

Most people might consider closing the restaurant while the reconstruction gets done. However, the average remodel takes about six to eight weeks to finish. With significant renovations, you may have to close for at least some of that time. However, it is possible to keep operating during the renovations if you’re careful. Minimize the amount of downtime you need by getting all the details out of the way before starting the work. Having timelines for each task can help streamline your schedule and get everything done on time.

Renovating your restaurant is a big step; it’s a chance to do some routine maintenance, but it’s also a chance to update your image. It’s a big job, and sometimes you could use some help.

When you’re planning a restaurant renovation, it’s critical you find a contractor you can trust. PT General Contractor boasts a wealth of experience and a professional work ethic. We always strive to provide quality work in a safe and timely manner. Give us a call at (416) 757-9100 or visit our contact page to tell us about your project. We look forward to working with you.