Restaurant Construction or Renovation – Building A Dream Or An Endless Nightmare

Running your own restaurant or business … at one time or another owning your own restaurant would have crossed everyones mind. A dream that many Restaurateurs have pursued successfully. It is also riddled with numerous pitfalls and frustrations even for the veteran Restaurateurs. For a newbie restaurant entrepreneur it can turn into a nightmare and an endless money pit. In this posting, I hope to cover some important guidelines that can help alleviate some of the frustrations and challenges.

The Dream – The Business Plan
The business plan and strategy is a vital part in planning to start a business or restaurant. This topic is too in-depth to be covered in this posting, it will be addressed in the future.

Avoiding the Pitfalls
Once the financial backing has been approved by the bank, family or friends the actual frustration will begin if you are not prepared. The following are some key steps to consider:

  1. General Contractor (GC) vs. Do It Yourself (DIY – better known as DIY Project Manager)
  2. How to choose a reputable General Contractor
  3. What permits are required
  4. Getting the proper quote before the project starts
  5. Surprise! – How to handle them

1. General Contractor (GC) vs. Do It Yourself (DIY – better known as DIY Project Manager)
General Contractor – Role:
General Contractor is very helpful if you are starting out your first business and you are still working at your other paying job. It is crucial that you research the background of your General Contractor as you are still new and learning the business.. It is advisable to have some one who has launched restaurant openings as your guide or mentor. The key role of the GC is to co-ordinate the different skilled tradesman that are required for the respective phases of the construction and ensuring all the required construction
are within the building code & regulations.

Keep in mind you still require an architect, engineer or designer if the GC is not part of a larger construction firm that provides all services. The key is to keep an open communication with your GC and visit the work site daily so as to ensure you do not end up with too much of a surprise as the construction progresses. You ultimately have the last say on what needs to be done.

DIY Project Manager – Role:
If your main focus is the construction of the restaurant and you have no other business commitments, this would be the way to go. You will be the “Site or Project Manager.” Be prepared to spend your days on site and overseeing the work as it progresses. You would be the only key person co-ordinating the whole project. Do keep in mind you have to stay out of the way of the workers but you need to know what and where things are being placed according to the building blueprints. Be prepared to change and recommend alternatives if you should face any physical design challenges. Keep communication open with the workers and at all times keep your cool.

You will require the services of a professional architect in order to submit proper prints for building permit. If major construction or renovation is required, you will also need the services of a professional engineer. In your Project Manager role, you will either design the decor yourself or you can hire an interior designer to help you.

Whether you hire a GC or DIY, you will still need to be very diligent and detailed in all aspects of this project. Any mistakes can be very costly if it is not corrected or stopped as soon as possible.

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