Renovating on a budget


Renovating your bar or restaurant on a tight budget is no mean feat, and I completely understand when you’re so close to your own business how it can be difficult sometimes to see the wood for the trees!!  So, I’ve put together some main points to think about when considering the task.

Budget – Time frame – Close Down – Theme / Style – Repairs Required – Seek Advice

Budget: Know how much you have to spend and don’t be in denial. You know what you have now!

Time frame: Planning is ultimately important, and allowing for lead–times means you can negotiate with suppliers.  Having short lead–times can mean you pay extra for delivery and your choices can be limited.

Planning will almost always lead to a better design both for you and your customer.  You will have time to consider options and make decisions.  Too much time can also lead to you changing your mind and procrastinating.  So be decisive and stick with your decisions.

Close Down: Sometimes clients like to remain open during refurbishments and this has its advantages and disadvantages and really depends on the individual set–up. Remaining open can mean you still keep your existing customers and have cash flow but it can also mean that your customers get annoyed with the noise and dust levels.  Trades people can charge extras for working irregular hours and for having to clear away materials and tools daily.

The overall ‘WOW’ impact can be lost if your customers are experiencing its revelation in bits and pieces.  The whole job may be finished a lot quicker for a set period of time if well pre–planned beforehand and managed during fit–out.

Theme / Style: Trying to do an elaborate theme/style can seem an expensive way to go but it doesn’t have to be that way.  Sometimes keeping things simple can seem like a better way to go when trying to stretch your budget.  Consider what and how you want your customers to experience and feel.  Review what you can afford to keep and what needs to go.  Look at ‘up–cycling’ furniture by changing its function or use.  Keep referring back to your brand and you won’t go wrong.

Repairs Required:  Before you start spending money on the things you can see consider the things you can’t.  Are repairs needed to the building, equipment or furniture?  There is no point in renovating and having a sound system that doesn’t work.  Repair work must be considered if it is going to eat into your budget and mean that half way through you can’t finish off the project as it needs to be.

Seek Advice: Some of the business owners or managers may fear seeking the advice of a professional designer in case we over budget, but a professional designer will give you advice and be honest about the brief.  This must include the answers to the points made above.  We can simply tell you to paint and repair where a budget may stretch to or even give you a scheme and specifications to get you started.

It is in everyone’s interest to achieve an amazing interior within the agreed budget, time–frame and to a brand standard or above.

At Audrey Gaffney Associates we don’t want to meet your expectations, we want to exceed them!


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This project has been assisted by the Local Enterprise Office, Meath, under Ireland’s EU Structural and Investment Funds Programme, 2014-2020.

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