5 Things to Consider When Planning Food Service Remodel

restaurant kitchen

Whether you are opening a new food service business or trying to improve your current one, at some point you will have to remodel. And commercial remodeling is much more complicated than updating your bathroom or remodeling your own kitchen. There are dozens more building codes and health regulations to comply with, as well as quite a few important things to consider. At Northstar Commercial Construction, our Maryland design/build team can help you avoid many costly mistakes by helping you make the right decisions.

Remodel or Build?

Many business owners think that remodeling is less expensive than building. For some smaller food service establishments and basic renovations this could be true. However, if you need a complete overhaul of an existing space, whether it’s yours or used to belong to another food service, it can often cost close to, if not more than, building from the ground up. Additional expenses may be associated with code compliance, which may require significant modifications to the current space—something you may not have planned for or budgeted for.

Think About the ROI

Return on investment is always important when it comes to remodeling. After all, a big part of why you are remodeling in the first place is probably to grow your business by adding more space, replacing outdated technology or creating a more enjoyable dining experience for your customers. So when you work with your Maryland design/build company, evaluate which changes will bring you the most ROI and then focus on them. For example, if your food service currently takes up two floors, it may make sense to combine them into one. It could cost more upfront, but in the long-term you will save money on heating, A/C, electricity, cleaning and other maintenance costs.

Anticipate Service Interruption

If you are remodeling your restaurant or cafe that is currently in business, you should carefully plan how you will handle service interruptions. Even if you are remodeling gradually and are able to keep the business running during this process, there will still be noise, dust and other inconveniences for you customers. If it’s a major renovation, at some point you will need to close down. You have a few options you should discuss internally and with your commercial remodeling contractor to choose the one that makes the most sense:

  • Close down, lose some profits but finish faster
  • Stay open but extend the project and inconvenience customers
  • Hire a third-party food provider if you are in a facility like a school or a hospital where interruption of service is not an option
  • Use temporary on-site kitchen modules

Consider Replacing Your Equipment

The layout of your commercial kitchen highly depends on the number and size of your equipment, which may include stoves, fryers, ovens, freezers, dishwashers, etc. Now is a good time to evaluate your equipment and review its maintenance costs for the past year. If you notice that certain appliances require frequent servicing and break a lot, it’s a good indicator that you should replace them before your new kitchen is installed. But even if your equipment seems fine, it’s still a good idea to consider its age and energy efficiency. Once again, think in terms of ROI and see where you can save money on utilities by purchasing a better appliance. Meanwhile, you could recoup some of the replacement costs by selling your old appliances.

Tailor to Your Customers

Do you know who your customers are? For the most part, they are probably locals who live or work nearby. However, these populations change. Maybe a large tech company opened an office near you and now, all of a sudden, your bistro is packed with business professionals instead of college kids. What kind of space would they like? Could they use an outdoor patio? Do they order online and pick up in store? All of these factors will determine what your food service should look like and how it functions.

Need more help designing or remodeling your food service space? Give us a call or contact us online for a consultation!


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