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Keeping up with the changing trends and attracting new customers is important for restaurants. The right decor, layout, and atmosphere are essential in appealing to your clientele. Professionals in the industry recommend renovating your restaurant every 5 to 10 years. While planning a restaurant remodelling requires a lot of work, statistics show that you can generate a 40% sales increase. But how long does it take to renovate a restaurant? What does the process entail?

Importance of restaurant renovation timelines

A project timeline has an important role to play in a successful renovation. Timelines typically depend on the current space and what you are planning on doing. Renovating a past restaurant can usually take 4-12 weeks. If it is a quick job, it will be 4 weeks. However, if you are completely gutting it, 12 weeks is the average duration. And keep in mind, this is primarily construction time that does not include the design or permitting time.

Michelle Bushey, the U.S. design director for Harrison Architecture and Design, states that architects or designers should be able to determine a practical renovation timeline upon seeing the space. Moreover, they should know what they need to do. However, even with a precise timeline, demolition can run into sudden obstacles. Consequently, this could affect opening (or re-opening) day.

Constructing stores with a new design helps lead to better renovation timelines for franchisees. Additionally, they remain consistent with the founders’ main focus on revisions. For some, one of the essential aspects of formulating their timeline is building new restaurants with new designs. After proving the concept of the new design, they can easily break down the components of what they are renovating.

The ideal timeline

How long it takes to renovate a restaurant also depends on how you plan and refine certain factors. Creating a strong restaurant renovation timeline requires you to take certain things into account. That, and the help of an experienced developer if need be. Additionally, you should participate in the process as much as possible.

There is an array of components that determine the timeline for restaurant renovation: 

  • The size and design of the restaurant
  • Site specifications
  • The number of machines/equipment
  • Finish work (i.e. painting, floor installation, electrical, caulking, and plumbing)
  • Weather delays
  • The structure’s complexity
  • Team member communication
  • Size of the crew
  • The number of necessary changes as the project progresses

Average renovation costs

Answering the question of how much it costs to renovate a restaurant is tricky. The truth of the matter is it will vary depending on your business’s size. Moreover, there is your location and the scope of your redesign. It would be smart to run some numbers to pinpoint the approximate amount that you will spend on your restaurant remodelling. Afterwards, use your budget as a way to inform your plans. Consider the following:

  • The current sales and expenses
  • Am I eligible for financing?
  • What kind of loan terms should I anticipate?
  • How much am I able to spend out-of-pocket?
  • In what ways will the renovation impact my cash flow in the short term?

Keep in mind that what you spend on your renovation should correlate with your restaurant’s price point. For instance, quick-service restaurants don’t need to spend an excessive amount on aesthetics to meet customers’ expectations. High-end dinner spots, on the other hand, have to.

While it focuses more on retail, our article Retail Renovation Cost Per Square Foot dives into the specifics of the costs of renovation per square foot.

Selecting the best time to renovate a restaurant

As the old saying goes, “timing is everything.” You shouldn’t wait until your list of repairs extends to several pages. As mentioned earlier, restaurants generally require a revision every 5 years. This way, they can remain up-to-date with the latest trends and continue attracting customers.

To keep business consistent, try renovating during the slow season if your establishment has one. If there aren’t any slow seasons, you can instead arrange most of the contracting work to be done at night. Specifically, during non-business hours. This reduces the risk of you irritating customers with any noise or messy renovations. Furthermore, it keeps your restaurant operating smoothly.


With the right timeline, you will be able to plan a restoration that will keep your customers happy. Moreover, you will be able to draw in new clientele and contribute to a better bottom line. Along with your great food and service, renovating your restaurant can keep you in the competition. If you would like a quote for your next renovation project, our Calgary construction location would be happy to provide one. To learn more about the details of restaurant renovation, check out our Need-to-Knows about renovating your restaurants article.