Trying to Ballpark Some Tenant Finishes and Upgrades

Joined Mar 8, 2016
Hey Y'all,

Looking at an interesting space and could use some feedback from some folks with buildout experience.

Trying to work on honest projections to set myself up for success.

I am looking to rent a space that is partially sussed out.  Here is what it has:

A walk in fridge

A free standing triple fridge

A triple sink

A mop sink

Most plumping appears in order.  Building is relatively new and only had one tenant.

All sprinklers are up to snuff.

Here is what it needs:

Front of house is a bit of a remodel, nothing major.

A kitchen line:

Approx 6 ft. line with hood and ansil system

Cold prep area.

Full dish pit

possibly a larger hot water heater

I feel as if i can confidently project remodel costs and equipment costs.  I'm really trying to figure costs on the kitchen line and dishpit installation area which will also need a Type 2 hood system (no ansil). 

Are we talking 25K or 125K?  Restaurant will be approx. 60 seats.

Any knowledge is amazingly appreciated in advance!!
Joined Jul 28, 2001


If your talking dish pit and a couple of hoods, etc. Your certainly not looking at 25K. It's a matter of Due diligence. First figure out how much capital you can gather. Forget banks. I think it's best to reduce startup costs as much as possible. Explore all your options. Dish pits are expensive. Look into leasing. Everybody boo hoos lease, but it gives you more working capital. Review your lease very carefully. Landlords are trying to protect themselves, especially with food, look for the fine print. I was just reading about a landlord that wanted to make an unexpected turn over easy if the tenant goes out before lease is up. They have in small print that they consider all equipment hooked into structural plumbing as a lease hold improvement. So nothing gets removed and he can put another food place right in.

  I've been doing this for decades now. I think the most important factor of start up is to have a years operating capital put back. You can usually attribute the high percentage of restaurant failure to an owner who tries to run his opening business out of the register.  BTW There's also an upside to leasing. Some companies are sitting on a lot of merchandise. You can actually structure something along the lease to own lines. I've seen 2.4% lately. Also, if you lease you can write off the lease 100%. Ha Ha. It took me ten years in business before I learned that the term"write Off" is the most useless word in business unless you have the income to write it off of. gtg Didn't say much, but I will probably have more later.
Joined Mar 8, 2016
Thanks Panini.  I'm definitely trying to avoid the bank and keep as much operating capital as possible.  I'm just a FOH guy so constructing the BOH is a bit abstract.

I had a commercial GC quote my like $7K/ lineal foot for the hood system. I about fell over. Luckily for most of remodel I know people who can help.  For hood I know i'll have to have someone that does hood systems professionally. 

When you have more time please share any other thoughts you may have.  The last thing I want to do is go into this naive.

I feel like the proper research and steps taken now will certainly help me years down the line.

Joined Oct 10, 2005
Lets start with the most expensive one first--ventilation. 

Hood--schmood, it's just a hunk of s/s steel with removable filters.  Matter of fact many cities don't even require it to be s/s, just plain galvanized will do.  You should buy this stupid hunk of sheet metal used, O.K.?  However, its what's behind the hood that costs.  Remember, I said ventilation system.  Most cities/municipalities require a Mech. engineer to provide drawings for the whole system: How much air this system will remove, where it will remove the air to, and, how this air will be replaced.  Most municipalities require a two hour fire rated shaft that connects to hood to the extraction fan.  Where this fan will be placed--how far it is from the hood-- is directly proportional to the cost of the system.  This is why your guy quoted you so high, without really looking at your place, he just picked the highest figure. If the shaft is only 8 feet long and goes through a brick wall to the fan on the other side of the wall and vents out into the back lane, it's not gonna cost much.  If the shaft has to go through one or several load bearing walls, up a story to the roof, or make a left turn for a couple of yards and then a right, it's gonna cost a lot more.  Then there's the make up air.  If you remove air, you gotta replace it.  This system doesn't require a 2 hr fire rating, but many cities will require tempered make up air .   This means another fan sucking in fresh air, air conditioning it, and pumping it back into your kitchen so your guys can breathe.  It's usually needing a 1 ton a/c unit. 

Then comes the fire suppression system, or Ansul system, as the Americans like to call it. For every cooking appliance, you need a nozzle and pipe configuration that directs a stream of chemical on the flame.  So for a 4 burner stove, you would have a certain configuration, for a deep fryer another configuration, for a salamander yet another.  You also have nozzles in the hood plenum and in the shaft.  This is entirely customized for the set up you have under the hood.  While it sounds complicated, it's suprising low-tech:  A high tension cable is stretched behind the filters in the hood and connected to the chemical bottle.  This cable is "welded" together with lead blobs.  If the heat gets too hot behind the filters in the hood, (ie."fire!") the lead melts, the cable snaps, the fans shut down, and you got one heck-uva mess to clean up after the fire.

The dish pit.....Whether you choose to lease your machine or not, it's the infrastructure that costs just as much or even more than the machine.  You will require:

-A soiled landing table

-A pre rinse sink with gun, and some kind of strainer assembly to trap food solids before they go into the grease trap

-The dishwasher, of course

-A landing table for clean dish racks

-Municipality may or may not require separate pot sinks

-Storage for dishwashing racks

-Backflow prevention device for the d/w chemicals and /or the d/w itself

-Possible upgrade to the hot water boiler for your building

-Not required but practical: Overhead shelving for glassware racks.

-The Hood...

The hood for this is nothing more than an upside-down box over the machine. Its not hooked up to anything.  Every time you open the d/w, you get a cloud of steam.  If you only do 3-4 racks p/hr, this isn't a problem.  If the place is high volume, you get a lot of steam, and this wreaks havoc with the a/c system, causes mold issues, and generally makes the kitchen hot, muggy, and uncomfortable.  The hood just traps the steam, and it condenses and collects in 1/9 inserts or is plumbed to the drains. 

If you can buy this equipment (other than the d/w) used, so much the better.  New is very pricey and has no direct advantage over used. You can lease the dishwasher, but the stuff I just mentioned is almost never supplied by the leasing company.  You can swap out a d/w in a few hours, to swap out this stuff will take a day or more, provided the new stuff fits....

The dishpit should be located as close to the doors as possible so servers don't have to traipse through the entire kitchen when they clear off a table, and if the bar is sharing, close to the bar as well.  Size of soiled and landing tables and size of d/w are dependant on:


-Serving style (tapas vs main dishes)

-If the bar will use the system as well

-Catering or sattelite dining rooms   

It's a lot of information, I know. 

Key words are :"..what your municipality/city/health inspector wants"...  Every place is different, but what I just wrote you is pretty typical of most N. American municipalities.

Hope this helps....
Joined Feb 8, 2009
Rocky, I always went to the suppliers and designers of hood systems for pricing. They can give you what is needed for the equipment you need to have hoods for that you will need and also pass an inspection. These people are looking to sell equipment take advantage of their knowledge. I designed a few kitchens over the years but I always left the hood systems to the pros. I just told them the size of the equipment I needed on the front line. Remember these need to meet the Health/fire and local building dept spec's.
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Joined Jul 28, 2001
I agree with the previous. Inspectors and codes. Always submit you're plans to the health/building department ahead of time. Even if you have a CG, don't take his or her word on anything. Especially don't cover any work you may have done. I had an 88 item punch list. I worked on about 75 things in the next two weeks. A new guy came and left me with a 85 item punch. I probably had about 5 walk thorough and inspections and always seemed to come up short. My BIL builds custom homes. He told me these guys like to show off their knowledge a lot. The next inspector come in and I just hit him with 30-40 questions about things and what he would do. We BS'd for about 20 min. and he asked to use the bathroom. I figured, here we go. 2 minutes later he walks out, heads towards me and throws my CO on the table and that was that.

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