A restaurant makeover entails many modifications that, without proper planning, can have a substantial cost and lead a restaurant to lose money. Altering your equipment, menu items and general appearance can be consuming in time and cost. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to give your restaurant a makeover without taking on substantial costs.
Design New Menus
A simple change in font on your menus can give your restaurant an instant facelift. A small investment in menu jackets allows you to customize your menu as much as possible. No need to fuss with a professional printer — menu jackets make a simple piece of printer paper more elegant. Just be sure to keep them clean — numerous media companies have done work on how improperly kept jackets are germaphobe nightmares.
Change Your Menu
Make sure your menu offerings are up-to-date with current food trends. You don’t need to revamp your entire list of offers, but make sure you’re presenting new specials to keep loyal customers excited to return. While it’s good to have reliable dishes you know your staff prepares well as flagship meals, you’ll want to stay away from your menu becoming a static piece of art.
For potential inspiration, look at the competition to see what’s selling well, or consult online recipe databases for popular options. Additionally, consult with your culinary staff to see if they have a specialty or favorite dish that you haven’t tapped into yet.
Buy Upgraded Equipment Secondhand
While it may not be as high as alarmists warn, a whopping 17 percent of new restaurants fail in their first year of business. At some point, these restaurants invested thousands into shiny new equipment, which now needs to go somewhere else, like an auction.
Utilize an option like PCI Auctions to upgrade your cooking equipment at a fraction of the cost. You can find everything from ranges and storage racks to kitchen utensils, all cheaper than a wholesaler. Then, you can sell the equipment you are replacing for a profit to recoup some of your costs.
Remember That Cleanliness Is Key
Like you’ve probably learned at your home, the best way to upgrade a space without spending any money is to clean it. A chef is not creating their best pieces in a kitchen infested with grease. Similarly, a customer would rather eat at an outdated 60s diner if it’s spick and span than a trendy gastropub teeming with germs. Cleaning should not be an afterthought that you and your employees activate at the end of shifts. It’s an ongoing process that should be taken seriously by every staff member.
Choose the Best Lighting
Ambiance can make or break a diner’s evening. A woman who spent an hour putting on makeup for soft romantic lighting will not fondly remember an evening at a restaurant with harsh overhead lighting that made her face look like a clown’s.
Some online retailers offer lighting fixtures at reasonable prices. Your biggest cost will be employing an electrician to set them all up. Still, it’s possible to save costs by comparing rates from electrician competitors or even partnering with a local electrician with the promise to use them for future electrical work.
Step Up Your Tablescapes
Unless your tabletops are dingy, you should skip using tablecloths. They’re time-consuming to set up, expensive to launder and annoying to replace. Instead, focus your attention on adding accents to your tables. Flowers and votives are cost-effective ways to make your atmosphere more inviting. A simple bud vase plus one flower instantly transforms a space. A votive with a single tealight invokes romance. These items are inexpensive, and they can be changed out easily based on seasons to keep your designs fresh.
Paint the Area
We know that color affects mood. A black wall can look uninviting and grungy or hip and edgy based on the type of restaurant. A yellowing wall can quickly show your businesses’ age. Paint is cheap compared to larger remodeling projects and creates a big design impact immediately.
If you stick with neutrals, be sure to adorn your walls with some colorful artwork. An overdose on a neutral paint can make your space look cold. If you go with a bold color, be prepared to reduce accents like lighting and furniture so that your space doesn’t become loud and overwhelming.
Invest in New Flooring
Laminate flooring is cheaper than hardwoods and is highly functional for a restaurant that has high foot traffic. Don’t go crazy and rip out hardwood floors if your place is lucky enough to have them. If your floor feels like a throwback to the 50s vinyl days, then laminate flooring is a cheap way to bring you into the 21st century. Flooring may seem like an afterthought, but in reality, it makes a strong impression on a customer in establishing whether a place feels new or like a relic from the past.
Change Your Seating Plan
Does your current table arrangement utilize your space well? Get some outside opinions, since what feels cozy to one person can feel cramped to another. Was your main audience couples a decade ago but now you mainly serve families? Perhaps you will want to switch out how many sweetheart tables you have in favor of more family-friendly seating. Feel free to gauge the opinions of patrons and friends to determine if your current seating plan works well or if an alteration is needed.
Spice Up Your Furniture
An eclectic design can look fun and help to save costs. You don’t need all your furniture to match. Instead of calling a wholesaler, you can head down to your local consignment shop to pick out new-to-you pieces that liven up your space. You don’t need to replace everything at once, but you’ll want to stick with one overarching style to give the design some cohesion.
A restaurant makeover doesn’t have to force a restaurant into a tight financial situation. Although a makeover requires ample time and research, the cost can vary depending on your foresight and planning. As these tips show, it’s possible to undergo a successful restaurant makeover, all without losing money.