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Opening and running a successful restaurant is stressful. Competition in the hospitality industry is fierce, with approximately 60% of restaurants closing their doors after just one year. The reasons why many restaurants fail are varied. From location problems, through poor management and budget planning issues down to inefficient design. And while we are no experts in financial planning or gastronomy, there is one thing we know how to do best: helping you create functional and aesthetic restaurant designs. A well-designed restaurant can help you streamline your processes and achieve your business goals. So to help you succeed in the restaurant business, we share our best tips on how to get your restaurant or bar fit-out right.

If you are about to open a new restaurant or refit your current premises, you might wonder what the key is to success. Fitting our a restaurant or bar is undoubtedly stressful. There are many things to pay attention to and numerous pitfalls to avoid. But with careful planning and design, you can significantly minimise the amount of stress and risks involved. And to help you plan for a restaurant fit-out efficiently, we share our best restaurant fitting tips with you. So, if you are about to open or refit a restaurant, read out restaurant fit-out tips and make sure you are prepared for the change.

Step 1 – Do Your Research

Every successful project starts with careful planning and thought. Whether you are opening a new restaurant, expanding or relocating your business, or simply giving your restaurant a facelift, planning should be the first step before you invest. But what aspects should you consider before fitting out your bar or restaurant?

The answer to that question will depend on what your end goals and problems are. You will probably have to dig deeper when you open a new restaurant, as opposed to refitting an existing premise. But in either case, you will want to consider a few critical aspects before you invest:

  • Evaluate your business goals. Before you invest in a restaurant or bar fit-out, make sure you understand the needs and wants of it. Reflect on why you want to refit your premises in the first place. Identify problem areas, and outline your main business goals.
  • Choose the location carefully. One of the main reasons why many restaurants fail is because they chose their location poorly. When choosing the appropriate location for your restaurant, make sure you understand the market opportunities and challenges in the area.
  • Understand the local demographics. Understanding the local demographics is crucial before you invest. Try to get an idea of the type of people who will likely visit your premises, and create an ideal customer profile. Think about what people in the area are looking for, and try to accommodate them.
  • Know your competition. As part of the initial research, it is crucial to understand who your competitors are. Take some time to visit restaurants in the area and see what they are doing. See what works and what doesn’t. Doing so will help you identify market gaps and opportunities. That will help you gain a competitive edge and give your restaurant a head start.

Step 2 – Set your goals and choose a concept

Ask yourself why you want to invest in a restaurant fit-out. Is your goal simply to update the existing design? Do you want to create more space inside the restaurant? Are you having problems with the workflow you wish to solve? Do you need to redefine your restaurant and change the entire concept?

Setting your goals and being clear about your objectives from the start of the restaurant fit-out is crucial for success. Knowing what you want to obtain by investing in a restaurant refit will help you prioritise tasks and create more functional designs. It will help you avoid overspending on things that will bring little benefit to your business. Instead, help define the direction of the project, and help you focus on things that will take your business to the next level.

During this stage, you should also define the restaurant concept. Based on your initial research, try to establish a restaurant concept in line with the local opportunities. Knowing your competition, the local demographics and your goals will help you define your concept more easily. Use the information you have collected and look for inspiration. Take your time to evaluate various options, create mood boards and try to create a future vision for your restaurant.

Step 3 – Establish a budget

When planning to invest in a bar or restaurant fit-out, it is easy to get carried away and overspend the budget. Not being able to establish your costs realistically, however, can have disastrous consequences. To avoid falling into this trap, make sure you establish your budget and stick to it.

But how can you get a realistic estimate of the fit-out costs? One of the best ways to do that is to get in touch with established restaurant fit-out contractors from the earliest stages of the planning. With years of experience behind their backs, they will be able to estimate the costs and advise you on the best design solutions based on your business model and goals.

Also, make sure you contact several restaurant fit-out contractors and ask for a quote. Doing so will help you gain a deeper insight into the costs involved, and help you narrow down your options.

Step 4 – Reach out to professional restaurant fit-out contractors

When planning a restaurant fit-out, it might be tempting to think that you will be able to do a lot of it alone. Nevertheless, unless you have hands-on experience in professional design and architecture, chances are you will only be increasing your expenses. For this reason, it is always a great idea to ask for professional help from experienced restaurant fit-out contractors.

Professional restaurant fitters have years of experience in the field. Having worked on numerous projects and with various clients, they tend to know best what works and what doesn’t. They will be able to help you avoid common design mistakes and reduce the costs of the fit-out without compromising on either quality or design.

Moreover, since most restaurant and bar fit-out contractors can take care of all associated design, building and planning work, saving you from a lot of stress and wasted time. Their invaluable insight will allow you to create a restaurant concept and fitting design that best supports your business goals.

Step 5 – Avoid restaurant fit-out compliance delays

Restaurants are subject to strict health and safety regulations. When planning to refit your restaurant, make sure that the new design and plan complies with all local building and safety regulations and standards. Overlooking something this important can have disastrous consequences, that might be impossible to solve later.

To make sure your establishment complies fully with all local building codes and safety legislation, it is a good idea to ask for expert help. Professional fit-out contractors will be able to advise you on all current laws regarding this aspect, so make sure you benefit from this knowledge. Having a competent team on your side from the earliest stages of the restaurant fit-out process will significantly reduce your risks of running into extra costs relating to this aspect.

Step 6 – Don’t rush it!

When you set your mind on getting your restaurant refitted, you might want to get it done quickly. Nevertheless, setting tight deadlines can push your costs upwards and decrease the quality of the work. Make sure you create a plan ahead of time and do your research thoroughly.

Take your time in setting your goals and getting inspiration, and make sure you do not sign the first contract you receive. Get in touch with several fit-out contractors, aks for quotes and consider your options. As a general rule, the more time you allow for the restaurant fit-out project, the lower your costs will be.

Looking for professional restaurant fit-out contractors?

Contrast Interiors a leading restaurant and bar fit-out contractor in London. Having an experienced, multi-disciplinary team of restaurant designers, architects and shopfitters allows us to offer a full design and refit service to bars and restaurants of all types and sizes.

With extensive experience in the shopfitting industry, we can advise you on how to maximise your revenue and create restaurant interior designs that encourage repeat visits. Contact our team for a detailed quote today and find out what we can do for your business.