How to Strategically Plan Your Restaurant Renovation
A restaurant that becomes stale isn’t likely to attract diners. This is why it’s so important to switch it up every so often. Renovating may seem like a big step, but it helps to create a positive and attractive environment.
It’s important to recognize, though, that you shouldn’t attempt a renovation without sufficient planning. As with so many other areas of your business, your updates can significantly benefit from applying a little strategy to the process. It can help you to stay on time and within budget while causing as little disruption as possible.
We’re going to review a few of the key elements of a workable renovation strategy for your restaurant.
Knowing the Right Time
Timing is everything in most areas of business. This is no different where restaurant renovations are concerned. If you get your timing wrong there is the potential to lose customers, disrupt a positive dining experience, and fail to recoup your investment. As such, your first consideration should be getting your scheduling right.
Commit to a little research here. You might have some sense of what makes the right time, but data can help you. Review your busiest periods. Look at this on several levels — the times of day, week, and year. Many restaurants experience a period of seasonal slowdown depending on their location. The last thing you want is to start a major renovation at periods you’re most likely to get a lot of customers. Don’t just rely on your previous experiences, either. Look at what big local events are coming down the pipeline. These may result in additional patrons who could represent a significant part of your income. Work with your contractors to create a timetable taking these elements into account.
If you have consistently busy periods, you may need to make your renovation in stages. This can also be a wise approach if you can’t extend your finances to take care of a full renovation in one go. It’s best to work alongside your renovation contractor on creating a workable strategy for this. They’ll have insights on how best to divide and schedule the components of the full renovation to suit your timing needs. In between major changes it may help to implement some front-of-house upgrades using minimal capital and labor.
Arranging Your Finances
Remodels can be expensive. Yes, there are certainly some marketing advantages to changing the look of your restaurant to make it more Instagrammable. Your back-of-house equipment may well be long overdue for upgrades. But this doesn’t mean it’s wise to just jump in and start spending your capital. You need to strategize how your finances can work to support your remodel.
This can be challenging if you don’t have a background in finance. Even serial entrepreneurs can fall into the trap of expanding too quickly without expert consideration for how to recoup their expenses. As such, it’s worth collaborating with a professional on this project. A financial manager is often your best focus here. They will have some similar skills to your accountant. But a financial manager’s role is more directed toward using the accounts data to influence the direction of a business. They’ll gain an understanding of your income history, gather information about the industry, and meticulously plan with your goals in mind. Your relationship here can help make sure you can create a strategy to fund the elements of your remodel while still allowing your restaurant to function and thrive.
While you’re building a financial strategy, it’s wise to consider how you can gain the components of your remodel without breaking the bank. This doesn’t mean you should cut corners by bringing in the lowest-priced contractors. Instead, it’s about putting in the time to shop around. There will be items your contractor will be able to source for you at trade prices. But there will also be times kitchen supply chains and restaurant wholesalers will have discounts or clearance sales. Consider visiting auctions for some of your front-of-house elements like tables and decorative elements.
Preparing for Hiccups
A remodel can be an exciting prospect. But you also need to be cognizant of the potential for things to go wrong, too. This isn’t about being pessimistic about your project. Rather, it’s about being realistic so you are better able to manage issues.
You should begin with a thorough risk assessment. Go through your plans for the renovation and identify the types of problems that may arise. It can be especially important if you’re performing structural work to involve a professional assessor. There could be underlying aspects of your restaurant building that prove hazardous during work. If you operate from an older building, be sure to check for toxic elements like asbestos.
People working in close contact with asbestos over long periods of time are considered to be at risk of developing some forms of lung cancer. The hazards here arise when asbestos fibers are inhaled. While the danger of using this in construction was well known for some time, some companies continued utilizing it well afterward. It’s vital you determine whether there is a presence of this and other environmental hazards in your building so you can mitigate the potential for harm.
Beyond your risk assessment, it’s worth bringing your restaurant team together to create a problem response plan. This allows you to benefit from the insights of professionals in various areas of your business. Encourage them to contribute ideas about how the renovation could be disruptive or cause injury. You can then work together to produce procedures should any of these issues arise.
Your restaurant renovation can be instrumental in the positive trajectory of your business. But it’s important to approach the project strategically to get the most out of it. Map out a mindful timetable that best suits your business and work with professionals to maintain your financial wellbeing. Importantly, assess and prepare for any potential disasters along the way. With a little forethought and strategy, you can set up your business to truly thrive.
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About the Author
Beau Peters is a creative professional with a lifetime of experience in service and care. As a manager, he’s learned a slew of tricks of the trade that he enjoys sharing with others who have the same passion and dedication that he brings to his work. When he is not writing, he enjoys reading and trying new things.