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Adding an Extension to Your Restaurant: 5 Steps to Follow

Adding a restaurant extension is exciting and nervewracking for most owners. Anytime you make a major investment, you will undoubtedly change your business for better or worse. If you’re considering adding to your restaurant, here are five steps to follow for success. 

Know The Reason

Extending your building is an attractive proposition for many restaurants. It makes your business seem grander and gives you more kitchen, dining or entertainment space. 

Ask your customers what they want before planning the extension to see what they want. Would they prefer an expansion, or would that detract from the experience? What would they like to see your business add, and would they enjoy coming up more with different options?

You can’t make everyone happy, but you need to consider the positive or negative impact an extension will have on your customer base. They are the ones who do your business last. Promote the possibility of an extension in your restaurant and on social media to see the public reaction. 

Also, determine what your team will look like with the extension. Will your current staff handle the extension, or can you hire new staff to fill the new need before it opens? 

Figure Out the Size 

It’s easy to plan an extension before nailing down its true purpose, leading to potential disorganization and a space that isn’t optimized. More space isn’t always a good thing. If you don’t have the customers or supplies to fill the space, you could pay for an area you hardly use. 

If you want to extend your kitchen, see what kind of dishes they’d like you to serve so you can know what equipment and preparation areas are most beneficial. If you want more dining space, consider asking them what they’d prefer. Would they like smaller, intimate seating options or accommodations for larger parties? How about a private space for meetings and parties?

Another thing to consider is whether or not the extension will affect your parking. Even if your lot isn’t full now, consider the parking needed if you fill your new area. New customers will also need places to put their cars. 

Once you calculate the size of your construction project, you can plan to break ground. 

Get Your Construction Permits 

Anytime you do more than minor interior changes in your restaurant, you must have a construction permit. Different municipalities have different requirements for what you need to secure before you begin your project. 

Even if you remove a wall, you need permission from your area and the right permits to post around the property. You can contact your local permitting or building code department to apply for a permit. To get your permit, you can expect to pay several hundred or a couples of thousand dollars. 

Once you secure your permit, you must display it, so anyone in the area knows you are completing a project. You’ll likely need multiple permits for different parts of your project. Electrical and plumbing projects may need separate permits. Talk with your permitting options to determine which permits you will need and when. 

You can help with the costs of permits, materials and services by selling scrap materials and holding fundraisers. 

Keep Safety a Priority

Whether you’re still operating or not, the safety of everyone involved should be your top priority. If you are manually performing construction work, you must ensure that you safely operate each machine. Do your research and read up on proper safety procedures with common equipment. Without the proper training, hiring a professional who can responsibly provide the resources you need is best. 

Ensure you post about construction and put up barriers to prevent unauthorized people from entering the area. You also need to provide any safety equipment for employees near the work, such as hard hats, ear protection and safety goggles. You also need to ensure that any contractors you hire have a safety policy that prevents you from being liable if they are unsafe with equipment. 

Schedule the work during slow seasons to eliminate the risk of someone wandering where they shouldn’t be. Working during times with few customers can also help you avoid losing more profit than necessary. Keeping the noise, fumes and debris away from your patrons also keeps them safe and comfortable during the times they do visit. 

Celebrate With Customers

Not everyone will be thrilled with the construction, which is good. It means you have customers who enjoy your meals and atmosphere. How you approach your loyal patrons will impact the business you receive after the extension is complete. 

During the construction phase, you can offer special discounts, giveaways and promotions that show your customers how much you care. When the work is done, celebrate with everyone by having a grand re-opening to invite old and new customers into the new space. 

Another important way to celebrate your extension is to update your photos and information online. By featuring your new extension, you also promote your new abilities to your community. 

Adding to Your Restaurant 

Whether you need greater capacity, want to provide new privacy and entertainment options or want to expand your menu offerings, putting on an extension can help you enter a new era. Adding to your restaurant can attract new customers, accommodate new business ventures and significantly increase your income. 

You will need to make sacrifices to ensure the project gets done safely and effectively, but following these steps will help ensure a successful extension. 

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