How to convert an old home design into a restaurant?

Restaurants are taking a hit in the metropolitan cities as there is an increasing enthusiasm of socialising amongst the millennial. With numerous houses kept under the lock, the designer gives us tips on why and how an old house can be designed as a restaurant.

A popular trend these days is converting small spaces into a chic restaurant. These food establishments that appear literally out of nowhere are called pop-up restaurants. The impromptu vibe of the pop-up set up entices a large number of customers after which they usually morph into more permanent spaces

Converting old homes into restaurants may seem implausible or even financially risky at first, yet this unlikely approach to site selection can prove to be eminently beneficial for both, the owner as well as the customers. Some owners hesitate to consider converting an older, possibly compromised building into a restaurant. Yet, these ‘adaptive reuse’ projects can be cost-effective and serve as a greener, better and more economical alternatives to new locations.

With restaurants, its location matters the most. Transforming old houses with the right kind of design approach can result to be one-of-a-kind dining experience for the public hence, profiting both the customers and owners in the following manner:

  • An old house will have many stories to tell which adds more character to the concept making the aura of the restaurant more rich, interesting and vibrant.
  • A built house has different parts already portioned out, making it a good option for diners looking for a bit of privacy and owners wanting to play with different themes and concepts in the same restaurant.
  • The homely and warm ambience of a house can be very comforting for diners who seek such places to dine where they can relax and enjoy apart from devouring their meals.
  • Preserving a building that naturally fits in the site location and is locally admired can earn favour for the new restaurant with the community before it even opens, automatically resulting in a unique and profitable business.

In today’s time, there is no further need to have an extra property just to start a restaurant. With just a bit of redesigning and organising, professional help and smart business strategy, an old house can easily be reborn as a successful restaurant. Certain technical things which will be needed during the process are:

1. A zoning and permit approval contingent contract, permissions from local/state bodies for land use approval.
2. An upgraded electrical system in accordance with the electrical codes for a commercial place.
3. Rebuilt kitchen from scratch to meet the health and hygiene code. (No granite counter tops in a commercial kitchen.)
4. A sufficient number of bathrooms with sufficient fixtures to meet code.
5. Commercial vent hood and fire suppression system according to the fire safety norms.
6. A separate air conditioning system for the kitchen with air balancing done to prevent kitchen air spilling into the dining area.
7. A grease trap.
8. A place to put a commercial-sized dumpster, etc.

It’s indeed a very tricky choice to convert a house into a food serving establishment. Yet more and more successful restaurants look for such spaces these days. Some houses are altered beyond recognition but it’s often more desirable to preserve and showcase the existing nature and architecture of the building.

Sunita Reddy, Proprietor,
Chief Architect,
ACME Designers

Sunita Reddy has a bachelor’s in architecture from S.P.A Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad. She dabbled in the construction industry as an architect with commercial Projects, work spaces & offices, theme parks, resorts & restaurants and designing museums. Her strength is in her methodological and systematic approach in all her work. A self-taught entrepreneur she understands what it takes to run a business and the need to have a healthy balance between client and team management. Reddy has ensured that this learning never stops. The selfmotivator constantly pushes her own limits, to learn more and implements that in her venture.

There are many ideas that can simply be implemented by the owner themselves and can make an enormous impact in the interior designing and overall look and feel of the restaurant. Some ideas are listed below:

  • Backyards can be refurbished and decorated to serve as an open seating area of the restaurant
  • Terraces can be used for rooftop dining space which lures many foodies.
  • Similarly, a library can be converted to a café with books and a peaceful ambience.
  • A classic bed and breakfast concept will always go with this set up where a house is transformed into a restaurant.
  • Once a concept is finalized, different rooms and areas of the house can be dealt with differently while sticking to one wholesome concept eliminating monotony, keeping the restaurant appealing and character of the place entertaining.

It’s an apt time for the owners of old houses to realise the value of their possession and to convert it into a good business which would be a tranquil space and a blissful experience for all foodies
out there as someone appropriately quoted:

“A house especially an older one, soaks up the emotions of its occupants and in this case the diners who’s love to experience such warmth and positivity” – Anonymous


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