Moving Your Restaurant? Tips for Doing it Nice and Proper

Restaurants in the UK may choose to move their business this year for any number of different reasons. While some bitter souls are leaving the UK altogether after Brexit became a reality earlier this year, other British restauranteurs are moving in search of lower operating costs and increased revenue potential.

If moving is in your restaurant’s immediate future, here are some tips to make sure you get it done right, ranging from researching new location to choosing removal van hire – all done while minimizing all the potential downsides:

Moving restaurant
photo credit: forrest.wheatey / Flickr

Carefully scrutinise the new location carefully

There are a number of things to consider when choosing a new location, other than a wealth of new customers who like the food and drink you can offer them:

  • A lack of skilled workers in your current location.
  • Reducing your current high cost of business including rent, utilities, and local government taxes.
  • The need to upgrade to more modern and/or lavish facilities to attract more discerning customers.
  • Moving to accommodate for higher seating volume and restaurant space requirements; regardless if the new location is more or less expensive than the current one.
  • Seeking a better quality of life for your family and employees.
  • The desire to reach new and lucrative markets not possible at your current locale (ie., your restaurant is currently located in undesirable places.)

These and others are all considerations that need to be made prior to settling on a specific location. You don’t want to get buggered when something you didn’t plan for pops up after the move is complete.

*This advice goes double for reading, re-reading, and hiring an attorney to read your new lease agreements to make sure your business fits their requirements and that you’ll be able to do business as planned.

Ensure all current providers service your new area

Does your phone, Internet, and cable television provider service the new location? How about the energy company you currently use? Same goes for vendors who may not do business in your new proposed area of business.

If possible, make service providers aware of your move up to 60 days in advance, confirming at the 30-day mark, and then again one week prior to the move. Starting early ensures you can source new services if needed, and gives you the time to negotiate the best deal possible.

You don’t want to leave anything to chance or you and your customers may be without the essentials required to run a good business come launch day!

Change all online information to the new location and start marketing early

You don’t want your loyal customers to head to your current location for regular Sunday brunch only to see a sign saying you moved 20 kilometers away. Nor do you want to rely on customers in the new location stumbling into your restaurant by happenstance.

Plan to change your Google My Business, social media and review website profiles, as well as the contact information on your company website when you move. In order to avoid confusion, you don’t want to change this information until just prior to opening the new location, but have a firm plan in place to have these details taken care of tout de suite!

Start marketing early by advertising your intention to move in the weeks leading up to the day. Offer incentives to attract new customers, and set up campaigns with the local media in the area you plan to move to.

Removal van hire for moving restaurant
photo credit: TheMuuj / Flickr

Prepare for moving day and all the chaos it will entail

There’s so much to prepare for on moving day. The keyword is “prepare.” If you don’t plan in advance for most of what’s going to happen, unnecessary problems will get in your way:

  • Sorting equipment to be discarded or sold (ie., you don’t want to pay to move things that are of no value to you).
  • Arranging for newly purchased equipment to be delivered on time.
  • Ensuring the new location is “move in” ready before you and your crew arrive.
  • Calculating the overall timeframe for the move.
  • Planning the ideal moving day to reduce vehicle and foot traffic issues at the new location (ie., weekends usually result in the least amount of friction on moving day).
  • Labour needs to make the move as fast as possible (ie., private moving company or in-house staff).
  • Vehicle requirements: ie., general removal fan hire for equipment and furniture, refrigerated vans for perishables, transport trucks for larger equipment.
  • Arranging for necessary moving and parking permits, and ironing the legal requirements for the move (For example, conforming to ESDAL requirements for moving abnormal loads in the UK).
  • Moving tools like sack trucks, portable lifts, pallet trucks, conveyors, etc.
  • Prearranging for setup crews to ensure equipment including electronics (POS, CCTV, Intranet) all work properly at the new location.
  • Securing tentative backup plans for unforseen delays such as traffic congestion, labour and/or equipment becoming unavailable for the move.
  • Acts of god, of all kinds, hindering your moving plans.

Closing Thoughts

“Always plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the Ark.” – Richard Cushing

As you can see, there’s a lot to consider when moving a restaurant from one location to another. For the most part, the one oversight that will always sink any business relocation is lack of planning. This is a universal truth for all areas of business.

To learn more about the legal requirements of moving a business from one set of premises to another in the UK, visit this page.