People across the country continue to make their way back to their favorite restaurants, delis, and cafes after a long time away, but many restaurant owners are discovering that customer dining habits have changed. Customers are flocking to places with more outdoor dining options, eye-catching and bold graphics that generate social media buzz, or family-style tables and dining halls that encourage group meals.
If your restaurant is considering making a change inside or outside to attract more customers and raise the visual appeal of the business, there are several important pros and cons to consider. Learn about some of popular expansions and renovations in the restaurant industry and the factors your business should weigh before changing up your restaurant property.
Popular Restaurant Expansions and Renovations
Restaurants can create delicious and award-winning meals day after day, but it can be a struggle to attract new customers into your business if your building has an outdated and boring façade. A renovation or expansion can go a long way in attracting positive feedback and an increase in sales if it's done right.
Some of the most popular ways restaurants and cafes might expand or renovate their existing site include:
Patio or Outdoor Seating– A growing number of restaurants customers want outdoor dining options that allow them to safely enjoy a delicious meal with family and friends in the fresh air. Building out a covered patio or improving existing outdoor seating can help welcome in new customers that want to enjoy dining alfresco.
For restaurants with existing patios, upgrades might include misting or cooling fans to make it more tolerable in the Texas heat, installing televisions for showing sporting events, or adding flowers, plants, and shrubs to minimize traffic noise and increase the natural beauty of the outdoor space.
Bold Signage and Artwork – For many restaurants and cafes, social media is a great tool for building buzz and generating excitement about your food, and having a visually stunning focal point can help as well. It can be an inexpensive way to boost your brand and make your restaurant a must-see destination for foodies who seek out your restaurant in part because of eye-catching artwork or murals.
Family-Style Tables – Dining out has become a fun group event for many people who are reconnecting after a challenging couple of years, resulting in a surge in popularity for family-style dining tables. Restaurants may consider removing some smaller tables in favor of larger, family-style dining tables, or expanding their building to offer a party room with family tables for private events or large gatherings.
Pros to Renovating or Expanding
One of the biggest benefits to renovating or expanding your existing restaurant space would be the potential uptick in revenue. The investment in upgrades and renovations could easily be offset by an increase in sales because of the transformation of your business for the better.
For example, the addition of a larger, more attractive outdoor dining patio could increase your number of customers and sales, especially during the weekends and evenings when temperatures are milder. Outdoor dining areas could also be promoted as a venue for live music or private events such as birthday parties, wedding receptions, baby showers, or graduation dinners.
Bold signage, trendy displays, and stunning murals can make your restaurant or café a must-see destination for tourists and locals looking for places to capture on social media. Your business could benefit from hundreds or even thousands of positive social media interactions, encouraging more people to support your brand and visit your restaurant.
Also, renovating or upgrading your existing restaurant building can increase the overall curb appeal and property value, making your business more valuable in the long run. Upgrades could also result in a safer, more energy efficient property, meaning lower utility bills, reduced liability risks, and a reduction in annual expenses.
Cons of Expanding or Renovating
As with any business, there is a risk to investing money in restaurant expansions or renovations when there is no guarantee that there will be a tangible return on the money spent. Some customers might not be interested in dining outdoors because of the heat and humidity, while others may stick to curbside or delivery options out of concern for their health and safety in venturing out for meals.
In addition, eye-popping signs and murals can fade or become outdated over time, which can diminish the appeal of the investment. Also, it can be easy for vandals to deface a popular mural or buzz-worthy sign, creating an added cost for repairing or replacing the artwork.
Finally, the restaurant industry is still recovering from the impact of Covid-19. With slim profits and rising costs for food, fuel, and raw materials, it can be difficult for restaurants to fully recover their investment from an expansion or restaurant renovation. In addition, expansions can lead to additional costs for utilities, or an increase in business insurance to cover the larger space.
How Aegis Supports Local Restaurants
Aegis Insurance & Financial Services is a leading provider of reliable, top-quality Commercial Insurance solutions for restaurants across the Gulf Coast region. Our team of Commercial Insurance experts understand the unique needs of the restaurant industry and can help you identify the best course of action for your restaurant, bar, deli, bakery, or café. Contact Aegis today at 713-850-7622 to learn more about our full range of Restaurant Insurance policies, or fill out our online form to request a free quote.