Café renovation

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Why café renovation demands a professional touch

If you’re planning a café renovation in Singapore, the guidance of a specialised coffee house contractor is key in turning your establishment into a prominent attraction incorporating its very own individual personality that will stand out in a tough, competitive area of commerce.

Competition among cafés is fierce in Singapore, with scores of new coffee houses opening every year. The atmosphere of a coffee bar is as important as the quality of its beverages and food in attracting new customers and retaining existing patrons, so it’s crucial to tick all the boxes if you’re planning a café remodel or a conversion of premises into an eatery.

Cafés usually provide a more casual, familiar environment than formal dining establishments. Although the difference between restaurants and cafés has narrowed, the former still typically focus on providing a wide-ranging menu prepared by top chefs, while coffee houses are more of a snack bar, offering a less-extensive assortment of food, but with a laid-back, even bohemian, ambience that strikes a chord with the café culture crowd.

Revival of the café culture

For people living in Singapore, the coffee culture is a direct contrast to their fast-paced lives.  Flamingo, the global business strategy consultancy, reported a revival of café culture among Singaporeans in 2014. “Enjoying brunch while sipping coffee at a café is a relaxing experience, compared with the long hours Singaporeans spend in the office,” said Flamingo. “Cafés seem to understand this and have been creating cosy and inviting environments for customers.” Flamingo also asserted that owing to “a lack of recreational activities in Singapore”, visiting a café had become an alternative pastime to shopping.

The creation of the right sort of atmosphere should be at the core of any café renovation. Whether you opt for a central theme, such as a retro style, or prefer the simplicity of minimalist design, a café refit should aim to produce an environment in which people feel relaxed and at home; if your café design reflects your business ethos and individuality, and your commitment to customer service, all the better.

According to a 2016 report by world-leading market researcher Euromonitor International Inc, which has offices in Singapore, café culture is becoming more and more ingrained among Singaporeans, with a burgeoning number of speciality coffee houses and a growing tendency for more and more people to frequent cafés.

To attract your share of this growing market, your completed café renovation should make a visit to your establishment an escape from the hectic existence that characterises the Singaporean lifestyle; a place where people can feel equally comfortable relaxing alone or enjoying stimulating conversation while socialising with a group of friends in an informal get-together.

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Why café renovation demands a professional touch

If your café remodel has been designed around a central theme, the entrance to the premises should reflect this; in any case, the public access to your coffee house should be an eye-catching feature that invites customers to step inside.

Queues, lighting, and storage

Once you’ve pulled in the patrons, there’ll (hopefully!) be queues. This calls for careful planning of space to provide the most convenient way for customers to place their orders (menu boards should be prominent here), collect their food and drink, and pay the bill (site the cashier’s station near the exit). Consider streamlining the process by installing a self-service station.

Lighting is a key aspect in a café renovation. Ambient, subdued illumination can create a relaxing environment for your customers, but behind-the-counter and kitchen staff will need much brighter task lighting so they can see what they’re doing. Hiring an interior designer specialising in lighting will ensure you get this crucial element of your café renovation spot-on.

Storage space is another important aspect of a café remodel, and it should be planned in such a way that it’s hidden from customers. If your café is more food-focused and your refit includes a designated kitchen area, this also, ideally, needs to be out of sight of patrons. Something else that should be concealed from customers is an area for rubbish and recycling.

Ventilation, maintenance, and hygiene regulations

Adequate ventilation is imperative in a café remodel to prevent nasty odours building up and upsetting your patrons. The expertise of HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning) specialists is invaluable in this aspect of your café renovation. Ventilation is particularly important in café toilets, as is a design that provides for a high level of hygiene and convenience of cleaning.

A café remodel should be designed to keep equipment running efficiently from day to day. Planning for ease of access for systematic maintenance of apparatus ensures safe refrigeration and frozen-food storage and will help to safeguard against breakdowns that can disrupt your business.

Other café renovation work typically includes painting, ceiling work, new flooring and wallcovering, and partition wall, custom furniture and door installations, as well as electrical work and fitting of fixtures.

Cafés and snack bars in Singapore are regulated and licensed by the National Environment Agency (NEA) to ensure food and beverages are prepared hygienically, to safeguard, as the Government puts it, the country’s reputation as a “food paradise”. The NEA also maintains a Code of Practice on Environmental Health, laying down guidelines on the design of food retail premises, and, in 2014, introduced a Food Safety Management System (FSMS) to improve food hygiene standards in the catering trade.

If you’re opening a new coffee house, a professional café renovation company will be able to steer you through the process of applying for licences and all the paperwork it involves.

5 common mistakes in café renovation

When planning a café redesign, it can be tempting to try to reduce costs, particularly if you’re new to the business. However, without the benefit of an experienced contractor at the helm of your café renovation, and with a set of well thought-out plans, many critical details can easily be overlooked. Here are 5 common mistakes in café makeovers:

  • Underestimating your budget. Attempting a café renovation on the cheap will result in an inferior finish that will put customers off. A café refit budget calls for careful preparation and monitoring.
  • Thinking too big. If you’re selecting new premises for your café, remember that a smaller area is less expensive to maintain, while providing a cosy atmosphere for patrons.
  • Building a huge kitchen. Designated, spacious kitchens are important in big restaurants, but are generally unnecessary in coffee houses.
  • Misjudging storage requirements. Future storage needs are often overlooked in a café renovation. Build in extra storage wherever possible.
  • Failing to make use of outdoor space to increase seating capacity. If you have even a small space outside your premises, you can get that Paris pavement café ambience simply by building a patio or deck.

Need help from a reliable and reasonably-priced renovation expert?

Why choose Kepha Design and Contracts

We take ownership of our actions by taking responsibility.

Kepha Design and Contracts in Singapore fully appreciates that cafés are big business in this country, and to thrive in this highly-competitive market, your café renovation should make your establishment stand out from the crowd.

Our innovative team of interior designers are experienced in coffee house redesign and specialise in making the most of small spaces, while our highly-skilled craftspeople will ensure your café renovation runs smoothly from start to finish and comes in on time and within budget.

Of course, all these are backed by the Kepha reputation for reliability, attention to detail, and high level of customer service.

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