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You’ve got ideas to create the next greatest meal to serve in your city. All you need now is a venue to welcome people inside, cook up the exquisite items on the menu, and cater the attendees to a feast they won’t ever forget. The question is – how are you going to build it all? Many people who choose to open a new restaurant have plans to design and build the establishment to their heart’s desire. There’s a large space for the kitchen and open floor space for the tables. On top of that, there is a finely polished bar for people to have a quick drink before sitting down for their dinner.

But how do you make that vision become a reality? What are all the steps in the construction process that develop your ideal restaurant? We’re going to put together a restaurant construction checklist. With it, you can plan out your next big business venture.

Restaurant Construction Checklist

Restaurant construction checklist & timeline

Prepare to invest a sizable amount of time towards developing your new restaurant business. Some people say the work can be complete in as little as 90 days but, for most restaurants, the work will take several months and potentially up to or even over a year to fully complete.

Before any work begins, you need to map out a timeline. One that highlights how and when all of the development work will be complete. This includes where the restaurant will be located, applying for the proper permits, applying for a license to sell alcohol, sourcing the construction crew – using design build services to streamline the process – and more.

This is all considered part of the pre-construction phase, which sets the foundation for all of the following phases that occur throughout the process. You need to have a fully mapped out plan to develop the restaurant before you can begin the construction.

Best location for a restaurant

As the old saying goes, it all comes down to location, location, location.

There’s a great guide provided by EHL Hospitality Insights that outlines some of the key factors to consider when selecting the optimal location for your restaurant. Some of the most basic factors include:

  • Demographics → who are the types of people that live in the surrounding neighbourhood
  • Visibility → is your restaurant in a place that’s easy to spot on the road and by foot traffic
  • Accessibility → are there nearby parking spaces to accommodate your patrons

You’ll also want to research the area. This will help you gain a better understanding of other established restaurants that could be your direct competitors. Also, check with the local government to discuss zoning laws and any special by-laws that impact the neighbourhood where your establishment will be located. You can also look for nearby suppliers who can keep your restaurant stocked with food and alcohol to serve people.

Dealing with construction permits

You’ll need to apply for the proper permits with the city or local council to officially break ground and build your new restaurant. This guide offers a detailed account of what you’ll be required to take into account as you apply for the appropriate licenses. You’ll also need to file for a health department restaurant permit to ensure the establishment receives full certification by the local board of health.

Beautiful restaurant interior

Restaurant construction project plan

The location has been selected, the designs all mapped out, and the proper permits signed and sealed. From here, you can move ahead into the construction phase of the project.

As you get the construction work underway, there are a number of restaurant construction costs you can expect to incur along the road to completion. Many of these costs are to hire the designers, labourers, supervisors, and project managers to execute the vision.

You can use services like BUILD IT with years of restaurant construction experience to streamline the hiring process and eliminate the need to manage all of the different specialists individually. Using BUILD IT, you only have to deal with one point of contact to ensure the project remains on track. Not to mention on budget, as well.

Other considerations

You’ll also need to budget for floor plan work, equipment for the kitchen, supplies to stock the bar, tables and chairs for seating, and all the other variable expenses that go into running and maintaining the restaurant.


In addition to the lights that cover the breadth and depth of the restaurant, you’ll also need to acquire the proper lighting for other things. These include the refrigerator, ovens, and other equipment stored within the kitchen. Be sure you have a trusted supplier to give you top notch lighting equipment for all of your needs.


No one wants to sit in a restaurant with poor air quality and ventilation. Remember to invest in a quality exhaust system that keeps the air in the kitchen clean so the quality of the food is maintained. You’ll also want proper fans and ventilation for the floor space to ensure everyone can enjoy a nice meal with recirculated air.

Floors and walls

The heart of the restaurant’s structural integrity lies in the floor and the walls that surround the in-dining environment. You’ll want a proven construction crew that knows how to build load-bearing walls to support the ceiling of your establishment. You also need a floor that’s elegantly designed and sturdy enough to prevent people from slipping on the surface.


Finally, you’ll also need to include room for storage in your designs to keep the restaurant fully stocked with supplies. The kitchen will need plenty of storage space for the food in the refrigerator as well as additional items like spices and seasoning to add a little zest to the meals. The bar will also need enough storage space to stash extra bottles of liquor until a refill up front is necessary to continue serving the customers.

Modern restaurant interior

Final thoughts

After reviewing our restaurant construction checklist, there are many costs that go into designing and building a restaurant. Many of these costs also play a factor if you’re simply renovating an existing establishment. Make sure that you make the proper investments whether building from scratch or updating an existing location.

Looking for a construction partner for a turn-key solution? We can handle it from start to finish so you can focus on the growth of the brand. Get in touch with the experts at (905) 696-0486 or email [email protected] for more details.