What Is The Ideal Restaurant Construction Timeline?

For the restaurant construction timeline to work, you need a very reliable crew. The contractors and subcontractors must be willing to work extra hours, and be trustworthy.

Once you’ve reviewed the bids and chosen a general restaurant contractor, you’re probably eager to start construction immediately. There’s one important thing you need to do first: create a construction schedule. Creating a successful restaurant construction timeline requires the expertise of an experienced developer. You should be as involved as possible in this process.

There are a variety of factors that determine the timeline for restaurant construction.

  • Restaurant size and design

  • Finish work (Painting, caulking, floor installation, electrical, and plumbing work)

  • Number of machines/equipment (back of the house)

  • Construction weather delays

  • Site specifications

  • The complexity of the planned structure

  • Communication among the team members

  • The number of changes required as the project moves forward

  • Size of the crew

Planning Ahead

restaurant construction timeline

Are the construction plan review and markup documents ready? Are the delivery dates for furnishings and fixtures set? The deliveries of the necessary materials are extremely important. The last thing your client wants is to open the restaurant late.

A smart project manager plans for deliveries well in advance to avoid the last-minute rush. Ensure that the contractors understand the commercial construction process from start to finish. Let them review the construction timeline before the project starts.

There are three pre-construction stages involved in opening a new restaurant:

  • Design (4 to 6 weeks)

  • Bidding (about 2 weeks)

  • Permits (up to 3 months)


The architect draws the layout of the restaurant during the designing phase. It may take up to 6 weeks for the architect to draw the restaurant layout. The size and complexity of the restaurant are the main factors in this case. For most small restaurants, a month is enough to complete the design.


Before the restaurant construction begins, share the idea with various contractors. Create an estimate showing how much the contractor should expect. There are two types of bids: closed and open. In a closed bid, invite a select group of professionals to apply. For an open bid, advertise the project to the public. Contractors should provide their guaranteed maximum price. This price should reconcile with the set budget.


You have to get a building permit if you are planning for a successful construction project. Contact the local building official and give a description of the type of restaurant you want to build. Some projects need multiple permits–electrical, plumbing, and construction permits. A permit certificate is offered by the licensing office. Acquiring a permit normally takes up to three months, but this will vary depending on the state. Permit application fees may apply.

At some point, you will need to call an inspector to check the restaurant and review the quality of construction. Building codes and regulations are very strict these days. Steer clear of any stakeholder who tries to sidestep those codes. Corner-cutting will only delay the project and end up hurting the restaurant owner. It could also cost huge sums of money spent on penalties and fines.

How Long Does It Take to Construct a Restaurant?

After the three pre-construction phases, the construction of the restaurant should start immediately. A carry-out restaurant can take about 8 weeks to build. A casual restaurant can be constructed in 12 weeks while a full-service/fine dining restaurant may take up to 16 weeks.

Don’t let overhyped TV ads confuse you. Some claim to build a restaurant in a few days. This is not true. It takes time and effort, but keeping an accurate punch list will help you keep up with all the construction details.

For the restaurant construction timeline to work, you need a very reliable crew. The contractors and subcontractors must be willing to work extra hours. Plus, they should always seek permission beforehand rather than asking for forgiveness later. Otherwise, the construction schedule may go off-course.

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