Skip navigation

With plans to open a new restaurant, there are a lot of factors to consider on the journey towards opening day. You need to select a location, establish an appropriate square footage, research affordable supplies, and hire talented staff to manage the day to day. But the most pressing concern is the construction costs to design and build the restaurant. 

There’s a lot of work that goes into building the establishment, and you need to budget for each step of the construction project in order to build a viable business plan. You need to know what to charge on your menu and how much business is necessary to make the restaurant a profitable venture. And that can only be determined when you know how much it will cost to build the restaurant so that you can open the doors.

So what are the restaurant construction costs you can expect? Let’s walk through those items and how they’ll influence your budget.

Restaurant Construction Costs: What to Expect

Restaurant construction costs by category

When you think of restaurant costs by category, think of the categories as the different pieces of the restaurant. There’s the kitchen space, the space for the bar, the lighting, the mechanical work, the walls, the floors, and all other physical aspects of the restaurant space. The median startup cost for a new restaurant is approximately $95,000, and this list features some of the most common costs included in the total sum.

Restaurant kitchen layout design

Designs for the kitchen are probably the most important layouts you’ll need to create. All of the equipment to make the meals must fit into the available space and there needs to be ample room for the staff to move freely as the food preparation is underway. All of that needs to factor into your design plans.

Restaurant floor plan

After the kitchen, the main floor plan is the next most important space you need to design. This area will include where you build the restaurant bar, which needs to have enough space for proper seating, stocked shelves, and storage room for the unopened bottles. You’ll also need to account for space for all of your tables, chairs, and enough room to navigate in between.

Elegant restaurant booth

Electrical and mechanical services

Electrical, mechanical, and energy costs are constant bills that must be paid. They’re also expensive bills that add up the total cost of running the restaurant. Commercial heating and cooling costs account for over a quarter of the restaurant’s total energy bills, while lighting and refrigeration costs also add up the total costs for electrical and mechanical equipment.

Plumbing costs

Any building needs viable plumbing for people to patronize the establishment. Your restaurant needs to have a proper plumbing system in place before workers can be hired and people can dine inside the building. That’s why it’s important to calculate the true plumbing costs for your venue as you implement your plans to construct the restaurant.

Professional fees in construction projects

There are also the fees for each specialist you need to hire to complete the work. Time is another indirect fee as the length of time for the construction will impact when you can get the restaurant open to the public. That’s why a design build construction model, which allows different phases of the project to proceed in tandem with each other can help speed up the entire process while maintaining high quality standards.

Restaurant Construction Costs: What to Expect

Commercial construction cost per square foot of the restaurant

One of the ways to budget and forecast your total construction costs is to calculate the commercial construction cost per square foot of the restaurant space. You can break down the total cost and set a benchmark for the cost per square foot as the construction proceeds. This is a great way to monitor progress as the construction gets underway, and it will help you stay on budget in the event costs get overrun.

The cost per square foot calculation also factors in all of the materials you’ll need to purchase for the restaurant. This includes tables, chairs, bar stools, table cloths, utensils, drink glasses, and all other inventory you need to run the establishment. Break those costs down into an average cost per square foot so that you can run the numbers in a way that’s easier to track.

Fast food restaurant construction costs

Suppose instead of a full dine-in restaurant with a bar, you instead plan to open a fast food restaurant. Many of the costs that go into a dine-in establishment will carry over to a fast food location as well, minus the cost of the space for the bar, for example.

Similar to a full dine-in restaurant, your best option to budget for the cost of a fast food location is to break down the costs into a checklist, and then calculate the average cost per square foot. This will help you keep costs in line, progress on track, and ensure that you’re prepared for any unexpected bumps in the road should they come along.

Interior of a well designed micro brewery

Final thoughts

It’s not easy and it’s not cheap to build a restaurant. You need to take the time to think through the entire construction process on the road to opening day, and you need a budget that accounts for each phase of the project so that you don’t overspend yourself into the red ink before business gets off the ground.

Working with qualified, respected, and proven construction experts will help you stick to your budget and maintain peace of mind. BUILD IT is a turnkey design build contractor with a network of talented professionals, and a track record of sourcing and managing multiple contractors to take that burden off your shoulders. We provide a streamlined project delivery service that combines interior design, project management, and construction expertise. When you want a project done, do it the BUILD IT way.

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.