The Average Square Foot Cost of Remodeling An Existing Building Into a Restaurant

Remodeling an existing building into a restaurant can be a bold and creative endeavor for you. If you are wondering what can be the average square foot cost of remodeling your building into a stunning and professional restaurant, here are some guides you can follow to estimate the total cost.

The cost varies greatly depending on the different factors. Such factors include the condition of the existing building, the contractor you are working with, and the types of materials you are using. Let us go deep into analyzing this.

According to Building Journal, a 5,000 square foot restaurant with mid-range finishings costs $160 on average for full remodeling.

Cost of Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing (MEP) Components

The general MEP for a restaurant ranges from $70,000 to $100,000 in the kitchen section. For the remaining restaurant space, the average square foot cost for MEP components is roughly $150.

General Construction Costs

Turning your existing building into a restaurant requires some additions for compliance with the law. For instance, the 1990 Disability Act requires the construction of wheelchair ramps, restrooms, and doorways to the building.

The average construction cost for this general construction will cost $50 per square foot.

Equipment Cost

The addition of kitchen space or bar are some of the major considerations during the remodeling process. Also, counters, burners, and ventilation systems, along with the espresso machines need to be factored in.

On average, the installation of such pieces of equipment in the restaurant will cost 480 per square foot on average.

If the cost is getting too high for you to purchase these pieces of equipment, consider looking for a second hand that is way cheaper and could help you stick within your budget.

Steps to remodel your building into a restaurant

1. Find the right contractor

Transforming your building into a restaurant is arguably the biggest remodeling project you will ever perform. So make sure you have looked for the most reputable contractor that will meet the standard you are looking for without compromising on anything. The best way is to search for online reviews, ask for their past projects, get some quotes to compare, and then make up your mind.

2. Have a clear flexible budget

Remodeling a building completely into a restaurant means complete transformation. So make sure you are financially prepared. The best way to be financially prepared and avoid unexpected expenses is to ask for quotations from the contractor.

3. Stay in control

The whole process will mean that you will have to close and relocate all the functions of the building to another place. With noise, dust, and smell, the best thing is to close and let the work be done.


Converting an existing building into a restaurant requires preparation and knowing the average costs that are required to complete the whole process. Having an idea of what you may incur in the end is the first step to setting up a budget to work with.