If your restaurant has been around for a while, your physical location, staffing policies, and menu offerings can feel a little tired. When you're looking to make a change to your restaurant and reinvigorate buzz, it can be tough to narrow down what to do.
But sometimes, your restaurant might just need a makeover!
Renovating your restaurant could be just what it needs to stay relevant and profitable.
Obviously, a restaurant renovation can be a big step. It's costly, time consuming, and can cause a change of brand perception from your customers. Here's what you should keep in mind when deciding if restaurant renovation is right for your establishment and - if it is - how you should go about it.
Find Out What Your Customers Are Saying
Your clientele is the most valuable resource available to you during a restaurant renovation. Before you even consider contacting a contractor, gather some information from your client base. An easy way to begin this process is to do an audit of your social media accounts. See what the people are saying! Keep an eye out for negative comments regarding the atmosphere in particular. If your customers are complaining about the dim lighting or they hate the way the walls are painted, make a note and mention that to your contractor in your initial meeting.
There are other ways you can learn about your customers thoughts. To obtain a number of opinions, try requesting some feedback through comment cards, suggestion boxes, email campaigns, and even conversations around the restaurant during regular business hours.
See how people are interacting with the space. Is anyone having difficulty getting around? Does anyone look generally displeased? Engage with your customers to see what they would like to see in your restaurant renovation, if anything.
Once you've gathered this information, you can begin creating a comprehensive plan for your renovations. Of course, a contractor will help bring these ideas to fruition and make suggestions for your space, but it's a good idea to go into the renovation with a sense of direction.
Consider Your Layout
Logistics are a vital part of the success of your restaurant. On the customer end, you should consider the following questions:
- Are your customers entering and exiting the building with ease?
- Do you have proper accessories installed to make your building accessible to everyone?
- Are the tables laid out in such a way that your clientele can maneuver around your facility easily?
- Are entrances, exits, and restrooms clearly mapped out and marked for your guests to easily find?
- Do you have the table space and chairs necessary to fill your space to capacity on busy nights?
When it comes to your servers, similar needs should be addressed, including:
- Are they able to access ready-to-serve food quickly and easily?
- Is there an orderly food-prep station for finishing touches?
- Is the right equipment installed to make prepping, cooking, and clean-up easy?
- Do your servers have a space to take breaks that isn't exposed to customers?
- Are the kitchens equipped with sanitary stations your employees can wash their hands at designated times?
Remodeling companies such as BrandPoint Services work together with interior designers & design agencies during the rollout & refresh processes to make a restaurant's layout more functional.
Refresh the Exterior
The outside is just as important - if not more important in some aspects - than the exterior in a restaurant renovation.
People avoid restaurants that appear disheveled - it draws the mind to think "What kind of food am I getting inside?"
Similarly, if your venue appears tired from the outside, with faded paint colors or outdated signage, this could be a deterrent for customers. In today's day and age, consumers want food from places that look and feel fresh.
Take a thorough look at the outside of your restaurant. Examine the walkways and building(s) for structural damage. Hire a landscaping company to take care of any overgrown plants and shrubs. A well-maintained eatery that has bright signage and interesting exterior decor will draw customers in from near and far, regardless of whether they've heard of the place! Pick the Perfect Time
Timing is everything. Don't wait until your list of repairs is several pages long. Typically, restaurants require a facelift every 5 years to keep up with the times and continue attracting consumers.
To prevent losing too much business, consider renovating during the "slow season" of your restaurant if you have one. If your restaurant doesn't have a slow season, you can arrange to have a majority of the contracting work done at night, during non-business hours. This lessens your risk of offending customers with any renovations and keeps your operation running smoothly.
Avoid Too Much Change
Change can be a blessing and a curse in this industry. Making the right changes can result in an uptick of business, but too much change - so much so that your restaurant becomes unrecognizable - can be detrimental. Most often, repeat customers may continue to visit your location because of particular aspects. For example, maybe you're known for your burgers, or the festive bathroom decor. When committing to a big restaurant renovation, ensure that the elements that make your restaurant yours stay the same.
You'll Be Great if You Renovate!
When the time comes that you finally decide it's time for a restaurant renovation, never forget the message you want to communicate to your customers. That message should be reflected in every aspect of your restaurant. By balancing the appeal of a fresh look but the familiar feel of your restaurant, your guests will eagerly show their support.