Depending on the demands of your lease, you may curse the need to refit to your restaurant in the foreseeable future. If you’re in a high-street location, landlord conditions may be slightly more relaxed. If you’re in a mall or major shopping centre then check the fine print, you may need a refit soon.
Before you object that the paint has hardly dried on the last renovation, you need to consider the purpose behind your refit. Landlords don’t just do it to inconvenience you – they know that the retail and restaurant game can be fickle, and that every business needs to regularly reinvent themselves to stay top of mind in the market. The fact is, they may be doing you a favour.
Dining is now about the experience
More and more diners are looking for an experience rather than just food and, with an increasingly competitive dining scene, creating a point of difference through the look and feel of your restaurant is crucial.
Restaurants such as the Coogee Pavilion in Sydney have recognised the need to cater to diners across the board, with the addition of a games area featuring petanque, scrabble and table tennis, and fitting out their top floor bar area as an adult-only area.
Sake’s new restaurant in Double Bay, NSW has incorporated lipstick images to its walls and images of Geisha girls on the floor. Part of the Urban Purveyors restaurant group, the company has been known to incorporate hanging cars as part of their branding. With social media platforms increasingly spreading a company’s brand, restaurant chains like Urban Purveyors see this type of visual imagery as critical to building awareness of their restaurants, and with Sake Restaurants having almost 12,000 followers on Instagram and over 27,000 on Facebook, it’s easy to see how a refit can be an important part of the marketing message.
At a smaller scale, a local restaurant in Surry Hills, NSW called “French Touch Bistro” launched a french authentic experience fitout, and included a petanque alley inside the restaurant. This makes for an eye catching, different experience, customers will stop for.
It can come at a cost
Getting your restaurant fitted out does come at a price however, even if only doing a partial renovation. The competition for refits is also becoming a significant factor, with many concept to creations taking only 6 weeks. For a small restaurant that’s a very short time frame to round up the necessary cash.
Thanks to the development of the online sharing world, more creative financing options are making it easier for small businesses to deal with the fit-out transition. Peer to peer business lending has gone from a non-existent market in 2014 to predictions that it will become an $11B industry by 2020. It is an increasingly viable option for restaurant owners frustrated by high interest rates and long delays in securing short term funding. With peer to peer lending, investors can be matched with borrowers via an online portal, reducing the middleman layers of additional costs, and speeding up the turnaround time for approval.
With competitive interest rates, and approval in as little as 48 hours, it has allowed many businesses to enjoy the benefits of their refit much sooner than was otherwise possible, and has contributed to the regeneration of many restaurants whose look was beginning to tire.
If you’re considering a refit in the near future it’s important to shop around for lending options.