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Kevin Ahern

By: Kevin Ahern on July 27th, 2022

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How Much Does it Cost to Renovate a Restaurant in Connecticut

Commercial | Commercial Remodeling

Restaurants rely heavily on ambiance to create a pleasant dining experience. Aging restaurants can lose some of that ambiance as scratches, scuffs and stains begin to accumulate on surfaces like upholstery, tables, floors, and walls. Regular remodeling can keep your restaurant looking fresh and beautiful. 

Remodeling a restaurant is a big job, and it's important to know what costs to anticipate. Once you know how much you can expect to spend, then you can decide for yourself whether this type of business upgrade is right for your establishment.

Keep reading below to learn about what you should expect for restaurant renovation costs.


Average Cost to Renovate a Restaurant

In general, most restaurant renovations cost about $200 to $250 per square foot. However, there are so many variables that can affect the cost of a restaurant renovation, the best way to know for sure what your restaurant renovation will cost is to talk to a Connecticut general contractor.

Start your renovation by contacting at least two or three contractors. A good way to find a contractor is to get a referral from someone else who has had a successful restaurant renovation in the recent past. Meet with each possible contractor at your restaurant to discuss your upcoming renovation.

Each contractor should be able to produce a quote that can help you decide how much you can expect to spend on your particular renovation.

Factors that Affect Cost

There are many factors that affect cost during a standard commercial kitchen renovation. The cost to renovate a restaurant spans a range, based on the type of work being done, the size of the restaurant, materials being used and other factors. Below are some of the biggest cost drivers in a standard kitchen renovation.


The cost of new equipment can drive up the cost significantly. However, investing in ENERGY STAR appliances and products can save money over time.

In fact, some ENERGY STAR appliances use about 70% less energy compared to standard appliances. To purchase an ENERGY STAR appliance, you'll have to pay more upfront, but investing in green products can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars on utility bills over a span of several years.


Furnishing replacement is one of the most expensive aspects of any restaurant renovation, especially in a big restaurant with many tables. The percentage of the renovation spent on furnishings can vary depending on the quality and quantity. Wood furnishings, for example, often cost much more than plastic or metal.

Exhaust System

The exhaust system is a critical part of any restaurant. Working with an exhaust engineer can ensure that the system is properly designed. Hiring a professional can drive up the cost, but the money spent is worth it.

The restaurant’s exhaust system has a big impact on indoor air quality and climate control. A poorly designed exhaust system can negatively impact the dining experience, which can drive away customers.

Note that not all restaurants have an exhaust system, because not all restaurants have a kitchen. If you own an establishment where food is prepared off-site (like a coffee shop, for example), then your restaurant will not have an exhaust system. 


Compliance comes at a price. However, working with the state and local officials to ensure the safety of your employees and customers is critical. It’s important to hire a contractor who has good relations with local permitting offices, to ensure that this process goes smoothly and quickly. Hiring an experienced, reputable CT contractor makes all the difference.  


As with any other type of remodel, quality is an important cost driver when it comes to commercial kitchen renovation. While restaurant owners might save money upfront by choosing lower quality materials or by working with a less qualified contractor, this is almost certain to lose money over time. Poor quality work can lead to damage that requires repair or may require the work to be re-done over time. 

Finding the right CT contractor is tough. Download our free guide to finding a contractor in the state of Connecticut. Remember to check your contractor's license on the state website, to ensure that the professional you've selected is qualified to do the work. Some more tips for finding a contractor that performs quality work:

  • Check references. Contact at least 3 references that can attest to your contractor's skill and performance on a commercial job site. Preferably, check references from clients that worked with this contractor on restaurant remodels. 
  • Review their website and portfolio. A quality contractor should have a quality website. Review their website for evidence of competence and professionalism. Look for evidence that they've won local awards and have been recognized for their work as a contractor in CT.
  • Meet with the contractor in person to discuss your job. In-person meetings can help you sort contractor candidates and choose the best of the best.

Best Ways to Save Money

Although kitchen remodels are expensive, there are ways to save.

Shop around before committing to a type of furnishing or material. Work with your contractor to find deals. Your contractor may have connections at the local building supply company, and may even have leftover materials that can be used for your restaurant renovation.

Moderate your use of finishes like trims, molding, and other decorative flourishes. Finishes make the space beautiful but can increase costs quickly. Keep these on the list of "nice to have." During the design phase, eliminate finishes that push your budget over the top. 

Discuss your budget with your contractor, and keep your contractor apprised of any changes to your spending limitations. Once your contractor knows how much you can afford to spend, they can help you find ways to keep costs down. A good contractor will also give you change orders for every alteration to the original plan, so you can keep track of how much you’re spending over your original amount.

Where to Splurge

Sometimes you have to spend money to save money. Don’t skimp on parts of the restaurant that will endure the most wear and tear, like the flooring. Buy good quality flooring to ensure that your restaurant stays looking its best for as long as possible. If the flooring is not good quality, your restaurant may need a remodeling again in the near future.

Kitchen design is another area where you simply can't afford to skimp, because a poorly designed kitchen can't flow properly, which can impact your restaurant's ability to function.

As a restaurant owner or manager, you don't have to be responsible for designing a kitchen with the perfect flow. In fact, your Connecticut commercial contractor should have experts on staff that can create a design to meet your restaurant's unique needs.    

Make a Budget

It’s easy to overspend during a commercial renovation. You can avoid this problem by creating a well-researched and thoughtful budget. Work with your Connecticut contractor to estimate the cost of materials, labor, and installations. Itemize each part of the budget, and make adjustments as the project progresses. If you’re getting a business loan, work with your lender to determine the maximum amount of money that you can afford to spend and pay back every month.

Contact Litchfield Builders

Are you going to renovate your restaurant in the next 6 months? Do you need to know the restaurant renovation cost? 

Spending money is inevitable during a commercial kitchen renovation, but the return on investment can be much bigger than the price tag. If you’re ready to take the leap and invest in your business, contact a company that has experience renovating restaurants. Contact Litchfield Builders for information about how to remodel your commercial kitchen.

Set up an appointment for a consultation, or download our free Guide to Restaurant Renovation in Connecticut.

Guide to Restaurant Renovation

About Kevin Ahern

Kevin is the Co-Founder of Litchfield Builders, an award-winning, industry leader with a reputation for managing projects others shy away from. They are known for their high-quality work, customer service, and reliability and though still relatively small in size, Litchfield Builders now competes with some of the areas largest firms in both the residential and commercial arenas.