Planning Your Restaurant Renovation

If your restaurant has been around for a long period of time, your location, menu items, and employee operation’s can feel a little out-dated. When you’re looking to make a change to your restaurant to reignite the buzz, it may seem like a daunting task. However, your restaurant might just need a makeover! Renovating your restaurant to keep up with the current trends and help keep it profitable. A restaurant renovation can be a massive undertaking. It’s costly, time consuming, and can cause a change of brand perception from your customers. Our VP of Operations Jenny Companion shares her top tips for the best approach to do so.


THE WHY: The Importance of Renovation

Keeping your restaurant design on pace with the times is an important strategy for maintaining relevance in a very competitive industry.  Customers will judge the quality of your restaurant as much by its appearance as its food.  In fact, experts in the field recommend remodelling your restaurant at least once a decade as a method for not only attracting new customers but to keep loyal customers interested.

No one likes an outdated looking space, which is worn-out with a bleak look. Freshening up the look of the establishment on the inside and outside adds a new vibe and energy into the space. This will help the following parties make the most out of the renovation:


  1. Customers: New customers will be attracted to a renovated establishment, and old customers will be excited to see the transition and updated features, menus, staff and look of the space.
  2. Staff: If the space is dysfunctional, it will contribute to challenges in execution and operations for the staff. Moving around and providing a quick and efficient customer service by the staff depends a lot on the layout and the design. Part of the renovation should be hiring new staff and staff training. If there are people on the team that are not excited about change it may be time to part ways.
  3. Management: Although the renovations will require a lot of time, capital, and effort, it will reap great returns for the management, if executed properly. Management will be able to implement new policies and guidelines that will ease up a lot of tasks with a newly renovated space.



Re-launching with a new look and feel helps create a new attitude and focus. It will create a far better guest experience, improves service, and introduces menu updates that add more value to the restaurant. Lastly, when it comes to budgeting for a renovation, always leave an extra 10-20% buffer for the extras that arise during the process.


THE WHEN: Timing and Schedule

The renovation process can have an impact on sales, as the restaurant will be closed during that time. When planning a renovation, review previous sales to see the down time and select a time frame that would be ideal to renovate, to minimize the loss as much as possible. That also includes blocking off reservations so you don’t encounter problems that will cause customer dissatisfaction due to cancellations. A simple way to do so is communicating to your audience the closing time well in advance.

From a planning perspective, allow 3-4 months in advance to plan the renovations, especially if it is a larger scale establishment that may require a permit, which can potentially cause unpredictable delays.

Lastly, allow for additional time to review potential designers and contractors. Be prepared to do so few months in advance to ensure they have enough time to prepare, order equipment and finishes. That way everything will be planned and completed prior to closing the doors.


THE HOW: Getting The Renovations Underway

The first step to a successful renovation is determining what needs to be updated. Whether it is building repairs, mechanical and electrical issues, design, or general operations, the more you can complete within the renovation process at once (without having to go back and re-do it) the more it will save you time and cost.

Once that is determined, the next step would be finding a designer that understands the needs and commitment to deliver the finished product that you have envisioned at the start. Working together with a designer will help add an extra creative eye on items that you might miss.

When the renovations commence, focus on the items that give the biggest impact such as lighting, signage, millwork upholstery and tabletop finishes. This will ensure the interior is well set up for a positive and new customer experience. Nevertheless, Lauren Rey, Blogger at Toast says always consider the exterior as well. She suggests “5 Things to Keep in Mind” when renovating, this includes tips on giving the outside or outdoor signage a facelift.

Lastly, determine if it is time to upgrade tech; caballing and wiring for new audio/visual, introduction of a new Point of sale system


Let the World Know!

One of the main objectives of the renovation of your restaurant is to attract more clients. As such, it is highly recommended you run a promotional campaign that makes the new space its focal point and raves about how it stands to benefit your clients. One idea is to throw a “Grand Re-Opening” or food tasting event, which you can advertise both offline by handing out flyers, or online using social media.

Renovating a restaurant is a massive undertaking, but if done correctly, it will help revive a slow business, or further enhance a steadily successful one. It brings added value in having a clean slate to learn from what worked previously, what needs to be improved, and what can be build upon. They payoff in the long run will be worth it!


Expertise provided by VP Operations Jenny Companion.

For more insights, contact Stephen at

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