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Tips, Advice, and Best Practices for Your Next Restaurant Renovation

Remodeling your restaurant can be one of the most stressful and financially impactful decisions a business owner can make. Whether you are looking to upgrade tableware and seating, or updating to a new concept entirely, having a game plan and planning for the unexpected are two of the most important steps you can take. We recently reached out to a number of experts in the restaurant renovation field to see what advice they would provide to any individual thinking about making major updates to their restaurant.

John Schneider is the President of Broadpoint Construction, a commercial contractor based in Rehoboth Beach, DE.  As the nation’s “summer capital,” Rehoboth has an extensive foodie scene and countless top-notch restaurants.  They specialize in restaurant construction and renovations and have delivered numerous new facilities in the last 3 years alone.  Here are a few quick-tips that will help you along the way:

Scope – do your homework!  There are the obvious improvements that you want to make, whether its kitchen upgrades, bar redesign, outdoor dining space, or “just” trim and paint.  Before you hire a Contractor, make sure that you’re as educated as possible on what is changing and what else may be impacted.  For example, if you are renovating a bathroom, does your local code require it to be ADA compliant?  Plan for the worst and strive for the best. Being unprepared for the unexpected isn’t an option.

Budget – while there are countless drivers of cost, having a realistic budget established prior to starting a renovation project is critical.  With any renovation project there will be unknowns, so you’ll want to accommodate for those as much as possible before getting started.  A trusted and experienced general contractor can help you with this.

Schedule – in a perfect world, everything goes per plan. But with renovation projects, expect the unexpected.  Be realistic when planning. Also, check with your City, Town, or Municipality as there may be work or parking restrictions that could hinder progress. Review and talk through the schedule with your general contractor and make sure that you are both on the same page. Think ahead and always have a plan-B in your back pocket.

Availability – no matter how “good” a set of construction documents may be, there will always be questions.  Make sure that you or a trusted team-member is available to review progress and answer questions on a daily basis.  Things don’t always look the same in person as they do on a 2-dimensional set of drawings.  Catching something that you may want to change early on will help mitigate change orders and schedule delays.

Communication – as with any successful endeavor, communication is key!  Before selecting a general contractor, make sure that you are comfortable with how well and clearly they communicate.  If they’re difficult to get ahold of before you sign a contract, this trend will likely continue throughout the project. Thoroughly talk through the project and ensure that their interests are aligned with yours.  Ask them for their opinion as to what may be obstacles during the build and formulate a plan if and when those are encountered.  Open communication throughout the project will keep expectations in check and confidence levels high.

Tim Spiegelglass is the co-owner of Spiegelglass Construction Company, a St. Louis-based commercial general contractor specializing in restaurants. He says the key to a successful project is to seek a professional in the early planning stages to minimize problems and cost efficiencies.

“If you’re thinking about a restaurant remodel, we always suggest bringing in a general contractor (GC) during the very early stages of planning. An experienced GC (one that specializes in restaurant construction) can look at the space with an educated eye and help identify cost-savings and/or any potential issues at the outset. A GC can also work with you to determine possible strategies for staying open during the remodel… an important consideration for your regular customers and for your business overall.”

Glenn Amerson, President and Founder of FGC, Inc., a Florida based commercial and residential construction management company offers the following checklist when considering a restaurant remodel:

-Make sure you are up-to-date with new and ever-changing fire and building codes

-Familiarize yourself with the leading trends on how the customer interfaces with the process of ordering and receiving product.

-Research ADA Codes that may or may not have been in place prior to the remodel

-Consider the sales presentation and attraction of the first impression upon entering.

-Consider how the food prep and service line is laid out with respect to the queue or line to the cash wrap.

-Be mindful of ceiling treatment or certain architectural elements that assist with noise control based on occupancy.

-Make sure you are mindful of the flow. It is always important to consider the flow of the service staff vs the customer convenience while navigating the space.

-Consider branding that may or may not have been strong in previous space.

-Finally, make sure to be strategic with the kitchen layout and efficiency to ensure that the staff can be held to a manageable number.

Ryan Mitchell, marketing manager at East Coast Chair & Barstool, says It’s important to align your furniture with your business model.

“If your restaurant’s model is to turn tables quickly and do high volumes, then you don’t want to outfit it with plush, spacious seating that encourages diners to sit for a while. Alternatively, if you are an upscale restaurant that makes money on upselling items like after-dinner drinks and deserts, then you don’t want uncomfortable seating that will have customers ready to leave as soon as their meal is finished.”

Each business owner deals with their own unique set of challenges, and we know cash flow and obtaining working capital is among them. If you’re looking for a flexible and easy way to get cash flow for your business without the hassle, we are the perfect business partner for you. Want more information? Call us at 1-888-239-7865 to get started today.

Businesses and individuals above provided their advice free and without charge. Use of their advice and listing the business does not equal an endorsement of the business or their services. Reliant Funding recommends all business owners perform due diligence on any business venture to ensure their business protects itself to its greatest extent.

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