10 Tips for a Successful Hotel Restaurant Renovation
By Rollin Bell, Founder / CEO, PCM Construction
According to recent Industry Performance Indicators (IPI), restaurant revenue has increased by nearly 10 percent over last year, signaling increased consumer confidence and an expanding economy. For hotel owners and managers who are considering new strategies for increasing revenues, now might be the right time to build a restaurant on your property or to renovate an existing one.
A well-managed restaurant in your hotel can be a terrific source of revenue. After all, a high quality restaurant will keep guests on your property for meals and can even draw non-guests to your hotel for dinner and/or drinks. But competing with other restaurants, lounges and bars in your area may not be as easy as you think. As great as your food, service and location may be, guests are increasingly seeking out exciting venues. Unless your hotel's restaurant is up to date with the latest design trends, you could very well be letting money walk out the door.
If you are considering building or renovating your hotel restaurant, there are several ideas to consider. Below are ten tips (in no particular order) that can help guide your project:
Competitive Research - Effective managers recognize environmental factors that can influence the success of any new business venture. To that end, it is important to carefully examine the other restaurants, bars and lounges in your geographic region with whom you will be competing for customers. Consider their interior designs, atmosphere and themes and think about which market segments they are attracting. Create a unique identity for your hotel restaurant by introducing design, atmosphere and thematic elements that are differentiated from your closest competitors.
Finding the Right Team - Chemistry is an important element in assembling the right team for any project. Fortunately, many of the best architecture and interior design firms have spent years cultivating strong working relationships with general contractors and can present a unified team to help you craft and execute your vision. Be sure to engage several different firms to find a team that you are comfortable working with.
Do Your Homework - Before you select a general contractor for your hotel renovation or construction project, consider past performance. Be sure to ask for examples of similar projects they have completed in addition to references. Contractors should be able to provide a list of firms they have worked with in the past - including subcontractors - to illustrate their ability to work as a one-stop-shop for your construction needs.
Look for Innovators - The best hotel restaurants are those that stand out and create a memorable experience for guests. These restaurants have a "buzz" factor and profit from positive visibility. When assembling your team, consider firms that have experience working with a broad scope of design features - from sandblasted glass panels to exotic tiles and natural fibers. By finding firms with experience executing big ideas and producing creative results, your project will be a success.
Make Communication a Priority - Successful projects occur when ideas are effectively articulated and broken into small, manageable pieces. At the outset of your renovation, make sure that the scope of work is clearly defined and that your goals for the project are clearly communicated. Establish points of contact from your company and from your construction team and ask for recurring updates. Track performance through pre-established milestones and communicate concerns or issues quickly as they occur.
Schedule Accordingly - Since the hotel depends on the revenue from the restaurant, renovation work should be performed "off-hours" for the dining area. An experienced general contractor will be skilled at making provisions to ensure that work is minimally intrusive of guests and that the area is cleaned up for regular operations at the start of each day.
Offer a Limited Menu - There is no getting around it - renovations to the kitchen are disruptive of meal preparation and can limit the variety of dishes your restaurant can serve. During kitchen remodeling, consider offering a limited menu to guests rather than closing down the restaurant entirely. Depending on your regular menu, think about creative twists that will offer a taste of the extended menu and potentially entice guests to return.
Consider Temporary Power - General contractors can provide temporary power or other services to a remote location within the hotel where the restaurant can set up a limited operation to continue serving your limited menu during construction. The restaurant can negotiate/coordinate with the hotel manager to select a location, which often is in a corridor or lobby area.
Be a Closer - Most experienced project managers know that closing out a project can be extremely challenging. To ensure that your restaurant renovation comes to a successful conclusion, make sure that you thoroughly examine the area before the final walkthrough to be certain that any concerns you have are addressed and corrected at the appropriate time.
Marketing - Make your new restaurant/lounge a focal point of your marketing efforts to guests and other visitors. Consider offering packages that combine dinner and hotel stays and/or discounts for guests. Publicize the renovation to repeat guests through e-mails, newsletters, advertisements and public relations activity.
After reviewing the checklist, it may be helpful to discuss your ideas with an experienced construction team. Contractors, who perform dozens or more of these projects each year, can add valuable insight to your unique construction or renovation needs and can alert you to potential technical problems before they occur.
To help ensure that you maximize your consultation with a contractor, be prepared to walk your property and discuss your vision for how you would like your restaurant to look and feel. Clearly articulate your expectations and come prepared with a list of questions about how the project will be managed, who will be managing it and how resources will be used to maximum efficiency.
Again, an attractive new restaurant can be a tremendous source of revenue for your hotel and add to your guest's experience. Best wishes on your next renovation!
Rollin Bell is founder and CEO of PCM Construction, a full service general contractor serving the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore regions. PCM provides interior construction and other design/build services. Mr. Bell is a 2006 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist and serves on the board of BAPS Imagination Stage, an organization committed to making the arts accessible to all children regardless of their physical, cognitive or financial status. He is a contributor to several charities including The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Mr. Bell can be contacted at 301-595-3700 or email@example.com Extended Bio...
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