Tips for Planning Restaurant Renovations in 2021
Out of all the industries out there, the restaurant industry was most likely hit the hardest by the pandemic. As a contact-heavy industry, restaurants adjusted operations and rethought dining spaces. On top of that, with the increase in dine-in restrictions and social distancing regulations, many eateries turned to downsizing, takeout and delivery services, and even temporary closures. Naturally, this prompted a great deal of disruption throughout the market, causing widespread uncertainty.
With the hope of a vaccine on the horizon, restaurant owners start to look forward. In most cases, these brands have a chance to rethink their approach to brand growth and development. That often equates to remodeling and renovations, especially if you have new space requirements. If you’re ready to revamp your brand for a successful 2021, here are a few things you should know.
Continue to emphasize delivery and takeout offerings.
Until a potential vaccine is publicly available, many markets will continue to observe social distancing practices and reduced in-person capacities. As such, you must structure your dining space to be as conducive to takeout and delivery as possible. In a traditional restaurant space, your host stand or bar often doubles as a pickup space. This confuses diners, staff members, and managers alike. Instead, it’s important to consider consolidating to a single, easily accessible delivery and takeout pickup space during the renovation process.
It’ll reduce confusion when delivery partners enter your restaurant and also make the pickup process smoother. This also means that your renovation should include smarter pathfinding and clear signage or markings that direct guests and delivery partners to the restaurant’s proper place. You can also consider exterior renovations to include a curbside pickup space, consider clear sightlines, spot markings, and proximity to the door.
While it’s important to consider your takeout and delivery options’ physical logistics, you should also revamp the software that’s backing them. Currently, you probably have a different tablet that’s tied to each delivery platform. That means one for Grubhub, one for Doordash, and one for Uber Eats. You have to juggle several different tablets, push orders to your POS system, and ensure that the data transfer goes according to plan. If this sounds as confusing as a messy pickup situation, you’re not alone. Brands like Cuboh make it easier to consolidate delivery partners onto a single point of access. Instead of switching between different tablets and systems, you use a single tablet that allows for greater POS integration and makes the overall process less of a hassle for your team members. It’s a smarter way to handle both delivery and takeout.
Trim the fat.
If you’re like many restaurateurs, you downsized a bit this year. Whether your previous space wasn’t sustainable for your operations, or you wanted to rethink your approach to your dining experience, restaurant downsizing comes with a variety of unique challenges. For instance, you should consider reducing and removing some of the clutter that inevitably accompanies any downsizing project. Perhaps the easiest way to do so is through self-storage options. However, you need to ensure that the expenses required for a self-storage facility don’t overpower your profit margins. There are a few things you should keep in mind when you’re looking for storage space for some of your excess inventory or equipment.
First, turn to the internet. Finding the perfect storage space might be as simple as searching phrases like “storage prices near me.” It makes it easier to sort through some of the top results and compare price points. Also, you want to take a look at the amenities a storage facility offers. If you’re going to store excess product, look for amenities such as climate control, 24-hour access, and monitored security. It provides peace of mind and helps guarantee you’ve made the right choice. Finally, balance costs against your overall value gained.
When you’re considering what to store, think about practicality and current usage. For instance, your water cooler might make it easy for employees to stay hydrated but won’t necessarily ensure that you’re following cleanliness protocols. Unless you’re working with a water cooler delivery service that also handles machine cleaning, storing your water cooler may be a smarter option. Instead of the cooler, you can temporarily switch to a water bottle delivery service. When you put your needs into context, it’s easier to decide what should and shouldn’t be stored.
Prioritize key fixes.
When you invest in renovations, you need to be able to differentiate between wants and needs. After all, it would help if you still keep your finances in mind. It would be best if you also looked for local installers. If you have issues with your restaurant’s windows, for instance, Google something like “Grand Rapids window installers” or “Los Angeles window repair.” These are definitely big-ticket items, and you need to make sure you’ve accounted for a higher expense. Other top-priority issues may include plumbing fixes, roofing repairs, interior paint jobs, new branding, or furniture upgrades for a more comfortable dining experience.
If there are any renovations or repairs that won’t immediately benefit your restaurant or the dining experience, these should move to the back burner for the time being. That way, you can more easily determine where your money is best spent. Once you’ve addressed the hot-button items, you can address cosmetic upgrades. If you’re struggling to determine what counts as a want or a need, it’s always a good idea to make a bit of a list. You can also ask your staff members to help you decide what they think is a priority and what can wait until another day.
Handling restaurant renovations takes time and patience, especially in the current climate. However, if you want to ensure that 2021 is kinder to your eatery than the past year, it’s a step you’ll need to take. Between enhancing your restaurant’s layout and investing in some key upgrades and fixes, you’re liable to have your hands full for the foreseeable future. Ensure that you prioritize as effectively as you can, and give your business a leg up when restrictions, regulations, and social distancing practices ease up.