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Adding an Extension to Your Restaurant: The 5 Cs to Remember

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If you’re planning to add an extension to your restaurant, there are many things you can do to help your customers and employees have a smooth transition process. You can find the steps you need to take within the five Cs of extension projects.

1. Communicate 

You need to communicate with your employees and customers throughout the renovation process. Manage expectations about the timeline of events and create some buzz about the project’s completion to show any inconveniences are worth it.

Share plans with workers early on and work to earn their confidence in the project before construction teams arrive. You can alert visitors by placing signs on your windows a week or two before the renovation starts, putting the information in your restaurant’s ads and posting about it on your social media pages.

Be honest with your patrons about expected noise levels, capacity limits or closures during the project and notify your team members and social media if any plans change. Don’t forget to alert any neighboring homes and businesses as soon as you confirm construction dates so they can plan appropriately.

Consider hosting an open-house night for employees and regular customers to learn about the project and each stage. Another option is to create an e-mail newsletter diners can subscribe to for updates on the project’s progress.

Be sure to thank everyone for their patience during the transitions. By providing open communication, you avoid catching people off-guard and show your staff, customers and neighbors you care about their experience.

2. Contain 

You should block off the area where your expansion occurs from employees and customers. This is for the safety and well-being of them and the construction workers. 

Whether you use cones, gates or tape, you want it to be clear to anyone near the area that the site is limited to the team working on the addition. If your expansion connects to your present restaurant, block off a perimeter around the work and create a barrier with a tarp or divider so dust and debris don’t travel to any food.

Wherever the work is in your parking lot, separate it from your customers by a few spaces, letting machines get in and out without risking damage to them or a parked vehicle. Consider asking nearby businesses to allow customers to park in their lots in exchange for a fee or service — free meals can win some offices over.  You want to keep enough of a barrier between customers, staff members and the construction site where people can eat, work or relax in relative peace.

3. Courtesy

It’s vital that you are courteous to the customers, employees and others whose lives are inconvenienced by construction work. A way to help win visitors over from the inconvenience is to provide a courtesy to compensate. You can offer meal coupons, free or discounted coffee drinks or plates of dessert. If you’ve never done takeout, consider doing so during construction so customers can eat their favorite meals at home instead of eating in with construction noise.

Try to schedule the work during slow seasons, days and times when you usually have fewer patrons so you don’t ruin too many plans. Some contractors do charge more for unconventional hours, but it can be worth it to deter the noise, smells and debris from your customers. Having crews there at slow times can also help them work more efficiently since they can move freely without worrying about making too much noise, restaurant needs or customer disruptions.

4. Cover 

You want to ensure your team members are able to perform their duties appropriately without risking their physical or mental health. You can do this by providing them with ear or eye coverings when needed. 

If an employee works in an area where they have to raise their voice to communicate, they need ear protection to eliminate the risk of long-term damage. They may need to lower their noise exposure by 15 decibels, so offer them sound-dampening headphones or headsets that allow them to talk with other team members comfortably.

You can also offer alternative uniform choices to wear near construction areas. This can increase their comfort and eliminate the risk of messing up their standard uniforms. If more spaces are affected than others, create zones so workers know when to utilize protection and when to leave it behind.

Just as you don’t want customer parking impacted by construction, the same goes for your employees. If construction could lead to debris or damage to their cars or parking spots, give them temporary reassignments. Ensure you give your staff constant updates and raise their spirits by providing extra pay or free food and services.

5. Continue 

The best part of your expansion is seeing your shiny, new addition ready to welcome your customers. As your project comes to a close, it’s time to plan for the continuation of your restaurant as it enters a new era. Continuing after a significant project can feel overwhelming, but you can do a few things to ensure your new and improved business reopens the right way.

Host a grand re-opening celebrating your new extension, offering special deals and giveaways for the community to rediscover your restaurant. Promote your event with advertisements, social media posts and signs around your restaurant. Start talking about your opening with enough time for word of mouth to spread but not too far that the excitement will wane.

Ensure your workers know just how much you appreciate their time and patience during construction and acknowledge their efforts during the event. Be sure to update any photos or videos on your website with pictures that include the extension so new customers are aware of the change.

Having a Smooth Extension Process

There is a lot to consider when you plan an extension to your restaurant. By planning and following the five C’s, you can have the smoothest transition process possible to broaden your business’ future.

Author Bio: Oscar Collins is the managing editor at Modded, where he writes about food, fitness and more. Follow him on Twitter @TModded for frequent updates of his work.

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