The Bar Fit Checklist

Your bar fit starts here


Once you have found the ideal location, your first step is to put pen to paper to design your restaurant. This may terrify some who don’t feel their artistic talents would be of much help however for some this may be the most exciting part, providing an outlet for all their ideas. It would be naive to think that whatever you draw could be made into reality; for this you would need an architect to approve your designs. For many, the choice is easy...go straight to the architects to describe your ideas and leave it to them. They will be very familiar with all the rules and regulations that you must adhere to due to planning and HSE regulations. Going it alone in the design phase has led to many buildings being pulled down or needing additional and more expensive changes later on in the project as a result of not being well informed or knowledgable about these stringent rules.

In your design, you need to consider several things such as the layout of the key areas: the dining area, the kitchen, the restrooms and the lobby area. If you have an outdoor area, this is an extra area to design however it is recommended by professionals to simply extend the indoors outside, providing a continuous theme throughout. The design of the dining area fundamentally comes down to the proximity and type of tables and chairs which in turn has an implication for your profit margins. Then you will want to consider the decor and therefore the theme of your restaurant as well as how the acoustics in your design will play out.

Floor plans

These are essential for your team of builders to create your restaurant. You need to be able to look at these together and discuss things by referencing the plans. Without them, miscommunication will lead to many errors and ultimately your desired outcome is unlikely to come to fruition. Whilst many think they can create these themselves, they are much more complicated and more detailed that you might initially think. At this point, the planning and HSE regulations need to have been addressed and adhered to.

The costings

There will be an initial cost of purchasing the land or building for your restaurant and if you are leasing then you will obviously need to factor this cost into your projected spend each month. If you hire an architect or indeed a full professional fit-out company to complete your build, then this will be your next spend but it provides a sense of ‘peace of mind’ that everything will be done in a certain time frame and compliant with all the regulations. This is a huge relief for many and allows you to concentrate on the day to day management of the restaurant.

To begin thinking about your profit margins, you will need to know the capacity of your building which is dictated by the HSE rules. Once you know this, then you can configure your tables and chairs to work out how many covers you will intend to produce in a day in order to not just break-even but to make a profit. You will need to decide on whether you require many tables and perhaps have less of a ‘fine dining’ feel or whether you can afford to invest in having fewer tables but with more expensive covers.


Many seasoned restaurateurs, will invest in finding an experienced company who can take the project from start to finish with their extensive range of contractors. Their experience allows them to accurately quote for and produce the expected results in a reliable and timely way. For those starting out, this is also a very reassuring choice to make however it is not always possible to have that capital available for this. Investing a little at the start, may help you in the long run though and even an initial meeting with a professional fit-out company may enable you to walk away with the information that might allow you to go it alone.

Next steps:

We have a great resource for you. Click here to find out more about the bar fit checklist.