Planning Your Restaurant Renovation

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If you're new to the restaurant business and you have purchased or lease a space that needs to be renovated, the task can seem daunting. Unless you are taking over a restaurant or opening a new restaurant in a space that already has the necessary amenities, there are special considerations that need to be made. Restaurants utilize specialized wiring, water, sewer, parking, lighting and other features that require specialized planning and expertise.

Once you have found the perfect location for your restaurant, it's time to assess your needs. You'll also need to discuss your plans with the landlord before you proceed, as restaurant renovations may require major structural changes. You may even find that your landlord is willing to share some of the renovation costs since you'll be making improvements to their building. Nevertheless, ensure that you have a contract or lease that allows for renovations before you start.



Again, before renovations are started, you'll want to have all the relevant systems inspected. Hiring an experienced electrician, plumber, and carpenter will help you ensure that your wiring, pipes, water lines, HVAC (heating, air conditioning, and ventilation) systems, and lighting are appropriate for your restaurant. Commercial stoves, ovens, and other equipment will require specific electrical outlets and wiring that is not compatible with domestic uses as far as safety codes are concerned. In addition, fire safety regulations will bring other specialized requirements including ventilation hoods and sprinkler systems.

While many aspects of restaurant renovation are best handled by experts, the motivated owner can tackle some aspects of the job. Basic cosmetic upgrades such as painting, decorating, and cleaning can be completed even by a do-it-yourself novice. Refinishing floors, laying carpet, installing tile require more advanced skills, but you can decide for yourself whether you're capable of the task.

Ultimately, restaurant renovations can be completed smoothly, on time, and on budget if you take some time to plan the work carefully. Once you have determined your budget, you should focus your renovations on the most important aspects. Start planning for the most important and expensive renovations on your list to ensure you have the funds to move forward. As your renovation plans progress, you can re-assess your budget and determine whether you have the budget for more minor renovations.


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Another tip for restaurant renovations is to consider which renovations will have the greatest impact on your customers. The aesthetic of your restaurant is very important, but a clean and well appointed washroom may have an even greater impact. Customers often associate kitchen and overall restaurant cleanliness with the condition of your washrooms. Moreover, lighting and other decorative features have a major impact on the mood of your restaurant - if you want to create a romantic mood, you probably want candles and softer colour tones. On the other hand, a fast food restaurant may be brightly lit and feature few decorative accents.

Be sure to consider the building requirements, budgetary limitations, and the impact you wish to have on your customers when you first start planning renovations. A well planned reno will be executed more effectively.

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