Posted by Patrick Maness
Menus, tastes and styles all change. If you own a restaurant for any amount of time, at some point you’ll probably have to make some decisions about how to remodel various aspects of the restaurant. It's possible you might even need to close the restaurant for major renovations.
This, of course, can be a hard decision to make. The dilemma is that while you may need renovations to improve the efficiency and health of your business, closing will result in lost revenue.
The hazards of not closing
While it is possible to complete minimally disruptive and minor renovations without closing, trying to do so is a major risk. People don’t want to go out to see big plastic sheets or floors in the process of being refinished. Even if a particular renovation is minor or minimally disruptive, it’s still an eyesore.
In addition to compromising the dining experience, visible renovations may compromise food quality and safety. So while it can be tempting to avoid a costly closure, you may do more financial harm to your business by keeping it open during remodeling.
Benefits of closing
It is possible to make a restaurant closure work to your benefit. If you play it right and let patrons know that some exciting changes are in the works, you can generate a lot of buzz that can, once you reopen, attract new customers and make up for revenue lost during the closure.
Take, for example, 42 The Restaurant in White Plains, New York. Since its opening in 2008, the Ritz-Carleton's top-floor restaurant has undergone several transformations. It’s moved from fine dining to casual, mixing up styles and ethnic cuisines as well as the space's layout and seating options.
In February 2016, 42 The Restaurant closed for a million-dollar renovation that would take the better part of a year to complete.
Details are scarce, and the resulting speculation and buzz will be crucial to the restaurant's success when it reopens next year.
Though you may not be ready for a year-long, million-dollar reboot, wisely closing your doors during renovation is the smart thing to do.
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