Renovation of Restaurants

By Sharmila Chand

Renovating restaurants is essential to spruce up their image and attract more clients, which can benefit both their owner/s and their customers.

However, the entire process often does cost not so insignificant resources, which is why it is recommended to have a strategy in place to guide successfully throughout the whole renovation process.

Even if the restaurants have been doing good business, sometimes it is necessary to give them the right facelift, say experts. This is also true for restaurants housed within hotels and resorts. I talked with some industry experts regarding restaurant renovation. They also gave tips to renovate restaurants successfully and talked about challenges involved towards this endeavour. 

Factors to Consider

“Having a systematic plan is the first step towards renovation of restaurants. Remodeling projects always tend to cost more than what they are being expected. So having a budget for your restaurant renovation requires special attention. Professional assistance too is required,” explained Simran Dhingra, Co- Founder of Twist at DLF Cyber Hub, Gurgaon.

“There is no set pattern as such to renovation of restaurants but it has its limitations to it as it is not a bare shell that you are working upon,” proffered Joy Singh, Co-Founder, Raasta, New Delhi.

“The restaurant renovation is an element of basic hygiene. Don’t wait until the place becomes so run down that it is crying for help. Re-evaluate the restaurant’s appearance and ambience every five to seven years and then decide if some light updating or heavy renovations are needed,” advised Saurabh Khanijo, MD, Kylin.  

“While renovating restaurants, try to avoid changing the kitchen location as it will increase the hassle of changing the gas pipelines. One of the most important things is to be sure if one wants to change the location of the bar and alcohol storage as changing these in India requires new plans to be made and sent to the concerned government departments,” Joy elaborated. 

“If you haven’t renovated for many years, you may require a thorough redo rather than adding just a twist. When deciding on a final design, you have to know what type of clientele you want to attract,” Simran added further. 

“The new interiors play a major role in the renovation. It is very important that the new interiors look different from the old but at the same time it is very important to have a connect so that people notice and realise the transformation,” pointed out Joy.

“For the renovation to be successful, lighting needs to be perfect as lighting plays a major role in the visual appeal, especially at night,” Joy observed while adding, “When renovating it is important to give attention to human resource because if they are happy the outlet will also do well.”

 “Restaurant renovation should be done keeping in mind the trends. Moreover, decide on how you want your restaurant to look like. You must be very clear in your mind about the interiors and design of the restaurant beforehand,” Saurabh aired.

“Since renovation needs big investment, get your financing in order before you start your restaurant renovation project,” Saurabh aired. “Find an experienced and good contractor for the renovation of your restaurant. Choosing a contractor who has worked on other restaurants will make it likely that the project stays on time and within your budget,” he averred.

“Try not to shut the restaurant for renovation, for you would not want your customers to know that your restaurant has been shut for a long time. Also, shutting down the restaurant for renovation can mean a loss of revenue. You can renovate your restaurant/s in part/s/ section/s to avoid this,” conveyed Saurabh. 

“Bringing change as per guests’ liking is important in restaurant renovation. Smart designing of key elements which add value to the customers’ dining experience need to be incorporated, while keeping in line with the expense incurred to create it and the return on such investment,” expressed Aroop Chatterjee, F&B Manager, Four Points By Sheraton Hotel & Serviced Apartments, Pune. According to him, market trends and competition also have to be taken into account while undertaking restaurant’s renovation.

Challenges to Renovate

There are challenges involved in restaurant renovation, of course. “Sometimes the majority of the clientele of the restaurant may be used to a certain type of ambience and a major change in that in a rush to remodel can often lead to losing the restaurant’s important client base. A major change in restaurant’s ambience and décor through restaurant renovation can lead to a sense of uncertainty, and can lead to a mixed reception among the guests,” affirmed Simran. 

“Also limited budget allocation can pose to be a snag as it limits the scale at which renovation needs to be done,” she added further. 

“There are a few challenges when it comes to restaurant renovation. First and foremost is the timeline as most of the real estate owners don’t give a rent free time or compensation for renovation so timelines need to be adhered to and planning needs to be perfect, especially for restaurants on rented space,” explained Joy.

“Secondly, the contractor needs to be efficient and ideally all the relevant procurement pertaining to renovation should happen before the restaurant renovation begins. This will save a lot of time. And the most important are the finances. It is important to keep finances handy so that there is no delay and the quality is not compromised. Even during the renovation process, the business of the restaurant often keeps running, so it is important to keep these challenges in mind and deal with them very carefully,” he elaborated further.

“The key challenges towards restaurant renovation include defining the customers’ expectation/s exactly and aligning it/them with the key features of your product to ensure the dining experience is fulfilling,” averred Aroop.

“Enhancing the dining experience while keeping in line with the constant change in customer’s behavioural patterns and expectations is another challenge towards restaurant renovation as is prioritising an avenue which involves least investment but entails higher return on investment,” affirmed Aroop. 

“Sometimes we go overboard with money and time, and are not able to finish the project within the allocated budget and time. This can be one of the pitfalls in a restaurant renovation exercise,” disclosed Saurabh.

“Another challenge that the restaurant industry faces while renovating restaurants is that diners want a restaurant’s design to be in line with its cuisine, so restaurant designers and architects are geared to meet diners’ expectations while also satisfying the vision of the restaurant owner. Balancing them at the same time can often be a challenge towards restaurant renovation,” Saurabh pointed out.                     


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