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Understanding the Average Cost to Fit Out a Restaurant

Opening a restaurant is a thrilling venture, but it comes with its own set of challenges, especially when it comes to the financial aspect of transforming an empty space into a culinary haven. In this article, we’ll help you to understand all the factors that influence the cost of fitting out a restaurant.

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Understanding the Variables

The cost to fit out a restaurant can vary significantly based on several factors. Location, size, concept, and the level of customisation all play pivotal roles in determining the overall expenditure. Let's break down these variables to better understand their impact.

The interior of a Poke House quick service restaurant. It features wooden furniture and their signature pink walls with neon artwork


Urban versus suburban areas can make a substantial difference in overall cost for a new restaurant. Prime locations, such as central London, often come with higher rent and construction expenses than secondary or tertiary locations.

Size of the Space

A larger space will evidently require more furnishings, equipment, and décor, consequently escalating the overall cost of the restaurant fit out. On the other hand, smaller spaces might be more cost-effective but will limit the restaurant's cover capacity.

Concept and Cuisine

A fine-dining establishment may demand more intricate and high-end interior design elements. Casual dining or fast-food concepts might lean towards more budget-friendly options.

Level of Customisation

Custom furnishings, unique layouts, and personalized décor can significantly contribute to the expenses. Pre-existing structures or turnkey spaces, such as units that were previously operating as restaurants, might be more budget friendly.

Two restaurant owners sit around a table with a project manager. The are looking at plans for a restaurant.

Breaking down restaurant fit out costs

The choices you make can impact the cost of your restaurant fit out considerably and it seems obvious that high end equipment and décor will affect the overall cost of your project. However, there are a number of other costs that must be considered. Some of these factors, such as permits and licenses, may be difficult to navigate and you may need expert help. In that case, you will also need to factor the cost of any specialist consultants you may need to use.

Leasehold Improvements

This includes any modifications made to the leased space to meet the specific needs of the restaurant. Costs may involve utilities, flooring, lighting, plumbing, and HVAC systems.

Equipment and Furnishings

Kitchen equipment, serving counters, tables, chairs, and other furniture contribute to the overall ambiance and functionality. Choosing between new and used equipment can impact costs, but consideration should be given to reliability and maintenance requirements for used equipment.

Permits and Licenses

Navigating the bureaucratic landscape involves obtaining various licenses and permits, such as building control approvals and advertisement consent. Costs can vary based on location and the type of establishment.

Interior Design and Décor

Creating an inviting atmosphere is crucial for any restaurant. Costs for interior design, artwork, and décor can fluctuate based on the chosen aesthetic and materials.

Technology and Point of Sale (POS) Systems

Implementing a modern POS system and technology infrastructure is essential for operational efficiency. These costs should be factored into the overall budget.

Project Management

It can be helpful to appoint a Project Manager to coordinate the fit out of a restaurant as they will develop a programme for the works, provide advice on any specialists that are required, coordinate the project team, ensure the relevant approvals are in place and oversee the construction works.

The exterior of a Yolk restaurant in London

In truth, there is no ‘average’ cost to fit out a restaurant; the number of variables is so great and so much depends on the choices you make. While it's challenging to pinpoint an exact figure, understanding the contributing factors allows restaurateurs to make informed decisions. Balancing quality, functionality, and budget is key to ensuring a successful restaurant venture.

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Darren Hewitt, Director of Project Management at Iconic, smiles at the camera

Darren Hewitt

Darren has over 25 years experience in the construction industry. Within this time he has led and delivered construction projects for major blue chip clients. Darren has held senior roles in both client and consultant organisations. This gives him a full understanding of the construction process and level of stakeholder engagement required to ensure successful project/programme outcomes.

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