Small changes can yield results

Don’t underestimate the impact of a revamp, designers say

• Minimal changes to a venue’s interior can have a big impact.
• Minimal changes to a venue’s interior can have a big impact.

THERE’S no denying the positive impact a refurbishment can have on a bar, restaurant or hotel business.

But with securing funding for such projects continuing to present challenges, not all operators are in a position to carry out a root and branch revamp.
The good news is, it seems licensees don’t always have to carry out a complete overhaul to reap the benefits.
Design firms contacted by SLTN last week said revamping certain elements of a venue’s interior can have a positive impact on trade.
Gail Thomson, managing director of Purpose Design, said many operators are choosing to spruce up their outlets ahead of major events like the Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup later this year.
“There has been a real recognition from the sector on the impact the Games will have on tourism, bringing visitors to the area,” she said.
“A lot of our clients have been focusing on getting the best out of this potential increase in trade by refurbishing their venues, even if it is a light refurbishment.
“It is possible to make a big impact by focusing on refurbishing just the key elements that could potentially make the venue stand out, such as the bar area, the seating arrangement or the dining area. Even changing or updating the lighting can have a huge impact on a venue, highlighting that a noticeable difference can be achieved on a small budget.”
Greg Winston of Elite Contract Furniture agreed that making noticeable changes to a venue doesn’t necessarily require a complete overhaul.
“Even a change of wallpaper and a shuffle of tables or chairs can have a drastic effect on the overall look of a business,” said Winston, suggesting small jobs at regular intervals can make a big difference to a venue.
“We would always recommend a smaller refresh every six months to one year and a slightly larger refresh every two years; by doing it this way our clients never have a large outlay at any point of the year, which will help their cash flow.”
Jeff Taylor of Select Contract Furniture told SLTN there has been a “significant upturn” in the number of operators investing in premises over the last six months.
“Funding is definitely slightly less of a problem than in previous years, although value for money is very high up the list,” said Taylor, suggesting some operators may benefit from approaching their redevelopment in stages.
“We deal with many hotels, restaurants and bars who implement a gradual refurbishment programme and as a result of an incremental increase in business are confident to progress to the next stage of investment and improvement.
“Others on the other hand prefer that the complete job and potential disturbance to business is carried out in one fell swoop.”
Whichever way operators choose to approach their refurbishment project, Angus Alston of building contractors and shopfitters Hugh Stirling stressed the importance of appointing contractors when it comes to getting the most from an investment.
“Appoint a good architect/designer who can interpret your brief and, if you are competitively tendering, also spend that little bit extra to appoint a quantity surveyor to properly schedule out all the items to be costed,” he said.
“The quantity surveyor will also help set your budget and ensure the projects stays within that budget.
“If the information and the costing schedule are clear then the contractor understands what he is pricing and therefore the costs are ‘tight’ and far less likely to change.”
Jeff at Select Contract Furniture agreed. “Go with the right team in terms of quality, choice, experience and know-how,” he added.