5 Signs Your Restaurant Decor Needs a Makeover

Even if reservations are coming in and the menu is flawless, there comes a time when your restaurant decor needs a makeover. Knowing when to redesign is one of the responsibilities of a restaurant manager, and a fine art to master. You may live by the rule, "If it's not broken, don't fix it," but time takes a toll on the building and kitchen. Just as a good haircut or spa treatment gives you a boost of confidence and new energy, a restaurant benefits from updates as well.

But how do you know your restaurant decor needs a makeover? The National Restaurant Association suggests not waiting until the place looks like it needs a remodel, so stay a step ahead. Here are five surefire signs your restaurant needs a facelift.

  1. Customers Say it's Time for a Change
    The good news? Patrons say your cooking is as good as their grandma's. The bad news is that the restaurant decor reminds them of their grandma's house, circa 1975. If you're concerned about a drab paint job or uncomfortable chairs, ask for opinions. One of the responsibilities of a restaurant manager is to listen to your customers, whether it's Yelp reviews or old-fashioned comment cards calling the decor tired.
  2. You Constantly Throw Away Busted Items
    Broken rungs, chipped wood and sagging seats indicate your restaurant decor needs renovation. When the restaurant itself is in disrepair, it's crucial to act quickly. Managers should make sure everything is in good working order. Poorly made or worn materials are annoying but a good indication change is necessary — stat.
  3. Layout Hinders the Crew
    When your staff has only one way to get from the kitchen to the customers, it's a collision waiting to happen. It also likely hinders productivity and morale. You know your staff is top notch, so help them do their jobs better with a remodel. The layout of the restaurant may need an upgrade with partitions, table groupings or even a separate path to the kitchen or bathrooms.
  4. Operation Costs Are Lapping Sales
    If your heating, ventilation and air condition (HVAC) system isn't functioning properly, or high energy costs give you anxiety, renovation should be in your near future. Your technology is probably behind the times, too. Does your cash register still use paper rolls with carbon? No payment technology at the tables? There's probably a cheaper (and cooler) trend to embrace in your remodel.
  5. Your Last Redesign Was in the '80s
    When you last decorated, you chose the best of everything. Everything at the time, that is. To be competitive in perhaps the most competitive industry out there, you have to be at the pinnacle of style and function. Things popular when your current customers were in diapers faded away years ago. Keeping up on trends is also a good way to introduce new, younger customers with more disposable incomes to your establishment.

Sometimes you won't need a full renovation. A good paint job, better lighting, new table linens and well-placed art might be all it takes. However, if furnishings are worn or the space itself causes headaches and big repair costs, it's time to make some changes. Determine what you want the renovation to accomplish. Do you want to attract younger clientele? Are you contemplating a menu shift that requires different decor? Do you want to create different dining space — a patio, perhaps? Find what matters to you and consider how upgrading your restaurant decor accomplishes it.

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