When you head out to a restaurant on an evening, there is a certain level of expectation that comes with your visit. Customers are generally looking for a good time wrapped up with a sense of care-free luxury, and while much of that comes down to the quality of the food, the décor and ambience of the restaurant each tend to play just as big a part.
If your business is starting to look a tad run down in parts, you need to be conscious of the negative impact it can have on your customers. Here are five tips around why renovation and care of your restaurant matters, and how to approach it.
Evolve to survive
London restaurateurs will know more than most just how competitive the industry is. With thousands of choices around the city, often stacked up next to one another on the same street, it’s fair to say you need to offer a top product to retain a customer base solid enough to stay afloat. The recent struggles of major names like Jamie’s Italian and Pizza Express only attest to the importance of staying relevant.
Particularly for single franchise owners, aesthetics play a huge role in attracting and retaining patrons through an good overall dining experience. To survive in the industry, your business must evolve. The good news for those in capital is that the local industry appears to be bucking the wider national trend of restaurant closures.
Be prepared financially
Have you ever heard of a project that didn’t go over budget? You’ll need to put together some projected costs for the renovations you’re making so you can budget accordingly, but within that you’ll likely need to make room for extra spend – and then probably make room for more again.
Like in any walk of business life, things crop up and unexpected costs arise. With large contractor projects, those risks get bigger. Prepare your budget accordingly or look into construction insurance through a trusted provider like Gallagher.
Find a balance between customer feedback and your USP
Listening to the customer is essential in your renovations process. Why are you making the renovations you’re making? What impact are they set to have on your patronage and therefore the wider business? Are you installing features that your customer base wants to see and will attract further business?
Customer experience is your number one priority as a restaurant owner. Every step you take to improve your offering should be made with such opinions in mind. However, you must be careful not to sell your soul to new customers. If you’ve built up a loyal base of patrons, retaining your restaurant’s core identity and USP will be fundamental to keeping them around – then you can start thinking about growing it.
Stay involved in the process
Chances are you’ll have to hand at least some of your renovation responsibilities over to a contractor or two. If you have a clear vision in mind (which you hopefully should) for your new look, it’s important you remain hands-on in the process, so things don’t go astray.
Check-in regularly, communicate with your contractors and make sure the renovation project is staying true to form.
Some design essentials
Restaurant renovations come in different shapes and sizes, but there are some core elements of every business that should feature in your plans:
• Flooring: over time, your flooring will weather heavy footfall, spills and stains and, after a while, that’ll start to show. Hardwood floors come well recommended as a hardy solution that’ll look great for a long time.
• Lighting: ambience is everything in the restaurant experience, and you’ll want to install various types at various levels to set a memorable tone in your dining room.
• Repaint: a lick of paint of the walls should be a given, but don’t forget about your exterior. Make sure your shop front matches the interior for class and sophistication.
• Furnishings: there’s nothing your customers will notice more than tatty chairs and tables, and it’s something that really starts the night off poorly.
Staying on top of your restaurant renovations will be a key part of running a successful business in a highly competitive market. Whether it’s a full overhaul you need or a regular “touch up” approach, bearing these tips in mind will keep your restaurant experience where it needs to be.