Interior Designer Melbourne

Top Five Hospitality Design Mistakes

In all my years working in hospitality interior design, I can say with confidence that every project has problems.  Some problems are quick and easy to resolve and some are complicated and take a long time to resolve.  In both scenarios the client does not usually have a contingency budget to deal with these problems. Which inevitably leads to high levels of stress for everyone involved. So, I wanted to share my top five hospitality design mistakes.

The types of problems a hospitality design project will come across include; issues with the site itself, a problem with the furniture delivery, or even issues with council.  These problems will essentially delay your opening and your ability to generate an income.

Nobody wants to delay the opening date of their hospitality business so here are my top tips on overcoming costly mistakes in a hospitality design project.

No feasibility study on the space

In one of my hospitality interior design projects the client had purchased an old take away food business.  The site had all the usual bones of a food business.  Some equipment was in place. Important pieces such as an exhaust, cool room and cooking equipment. 

My client thought that given the space was already set up as a food business and because his food business was also a take away concept, that the site was ideal and assumed the refurbishment would be seamless.

Broadly the first lesson in business is never assume. By making this assumption and not doing a feasibility study on the site my client didn’t know until it was too late that the existing grease trap was insufficient for the nature of his business.  It cost him $60,000 to install a new grease trap and set his opening back by weeks.

Without doubt the biggest problems with a hospitality design project are build problems.  Some unforeseen issues the builder discovers while working. This could be a plumbing, electrical, structural problem and it’s usually costly. So I always advise my clients to do a feasibility study on the space to ensure the site can accommodate the needs of the business and the fit out.

Not budgeting for your project properly

Before embarking on a hospitality interior design project, it’s important to do a budget for your business.  Better yet, do a business plan.  There are so many resources available such as line by line templates for you to create a budget which will in turn help you avoid these top five hospitality design mistakes.

Creating an accurate budget requires research.  Once you have a site in mind the best way to understand the cost of the structural aspect of you realising your café, bar or restaurant dream is to do a feasibility study as mentioned above.

This expert advice will spell out the cost for things like the electrical work.  You also need to research the cost of kitchen equipment.  Then you need to speak to a few interior design studios to understand the cost of engaging a designer.  Then you should research the cost of furniture.  An interior designer can help you with this question also.

Once you have a budget you need a decent contingency to account for all the things that could go wrong.

Under budgeting for your project is a common problem amongst some of our clients, as well as not financing it correctly.  By having a solid budget, including a contingency you will be less stressed about any issues that come up. A budget also means you will be less confused about how much you’re willing to spend on important pieces such as a chair.

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The Spade during construction

Unrealistic timings

From all the top five hospitality design mistakes, unrealistic timings is the most common. Depending on the condition of the site of your food business, you will have a period of time in mind that you want to start the work and open your business. How long it takes depends on whether you’re refurbishing an existing place or starting from the ground up and if there any significant problems along the way.

Extend the time you think it will take.  This is because you will encounter some sort of delay.  Whether it’s in furniture delivery or an issue with council, delays are inevitable.

It’s understandable the you want to open your business as fast as possible but, there will be some things beyond your control that could delay your opening date.  Planning for this will go towards alleviate some of your stress.

An unclear vision

To stand out in the hospitality industry you need an edge. A point of differentiation or brand. Call it what you want but you need a clear vision. It’s an important part of achieving this competitive advantage.

It’s likely you will work with an interior designer to help you realise your vision, so being clear about it will be so helpful to you and your selected interior designer.

To understand and be able to articulate your vision, you may need to engage with a marketing or hospitality consultant.  You may need to research and save some inspiration pics.

The hospitality market is hugely competitively. A beautiful personal back story, that people can connect to is what will help give you the edge.

Not engaging a builder to project manage

As an entrepreneur you will have a lot to do.  You will also have your own strengths and weaknesses.  Firstly, knowing what your strengths and weaknesses are is helpful when it comes to transforming a space into a successful food business.

But don’t think you can do the project management yourself without a builder.  This is also a common mistake. You might think you’re saving money by doing it yourself, but you could also be losing time without the coordination of a builder to project manage.

By appointing a competent builder or project manager to ensure your project is realised means youré free to focus on other important business aspects. Such as researching suppliers, setting up your website, developing a social media plan and so on.

Making the decision to start a hospitality business and working with a designer to realise your vision is both exciting and daunting. Being prepared can help you get through the tricky challenges. So understanding the top five hospitality design mistakes that you may encounter may be helpful in avoiding them.

Good luck with your project and please contact us, to discuss your design vision.