Page 25 - foodservice magazine August 2019
P. 25

projects blow the budget and schedule, than come in on time to projected cost.
Astute renovators will produce a brilliant result on a shoestring by buying at auctions, avoiding the celebrity contractors and doing some of the work themselves.
I’ve seen businesses revitalised with as little as a coat of paint, new carpet, re-upholstered chairs and some secondhand kitchen equipment. But at the other end of the spectrum, I’ve seen people gut their entire property and do a complete re-build, inside and out, using the best designers and contractors money can buy.
A difficult economy like we
have at present means that there is a lot of opportunity to buy secondhand equipment and furnishings that are coming available from other recently deceased businesses who couldn’t afford their own fit-outs.
The main reasons why people go overboard with renovating
or decorating projects is a combination of ignorance driven by ego and vanity. Sure, it’s nice to hob nob with the glitterati and be regarded as cutting edge – I’d be a fool if I didn’t recognise status as a major driving force
in this industry – and it’s OK to think this way, but only if you can afford it.
Another issue to consider is that most hospitality businesses are located in leased premises,
so lavishly capitalising someone else’s asset unless you’re sure
you will benefit greatly from it
is money down the drain. I do recognise that this is often done with the intention of staying in that location for a period of several years, but excessive expenditure on refurbishing can foreshorten the life of your business and
make the term of your lease a totally irrelevant issue.
The cleverest operators keep an eye out for someone else
who has spent a fortune on renovating and decorating and then gone broke (as they tend to do), then pick up the premises, equipment and so on for fire-sale prices and proceed to make some coin from the business. On the diminished cost structure they have compared with the original owner, they can make a profit.
So if you’re considering a refurb, my advice is make sure it’s done regularly, not as a one-off, haphazard blast from the cash cannon that changes everything at once. It should be a planned process, that only gets underway after the money is available.
And make sure you are not refurbishing a business just for your landlord’s ultimate benefit.

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