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    Is now a good time to plan a hospitality refurbishment or new development?

    PUBLISHED: 14/12/2020

    It continues to be a frustrating time for the hospitality industry with the second lockdown and announcement of tougher tiers over winter. However, the sector has been given hope with the news of vaccines coming in just a matter of days and mass, fast testing planned for 2021. The vaccine leads the way for a more positive future, with many experts suggesting there will be something close to normality from spring onwards.

    The future of hospitality

    Over the last few weeks, we’ve had enquiries from business owners looking to either expand or adapt an existing hospitality business, or people who are keen to start a new one. Some people may feel it’s a strange time to invest in hospitality, but it could be argued that there has never been a better time.

    Hospitality customers have never gone away, they simply couldn’t visit due to lockdown, tier restrictions or lack of confidence. You only need to look back to August when Eat Out to Help Out was in full flow to see that the appetite to socialise was still there. Even in the days before Lockdown 2.0, restaurants and bars were packed with customers determined to enjoy a social experience whilst they still could. With lockdowns and tier restrictions taking over most of 2020, consumers are going to be ready to enjoy hospitality experiences as soon as they can. Many people believe hospitality will be busier than ever, and investing now, whilst restrictions are in place, allows you to maximise on sales at the right time.

    Use the current time wisely

    A lockdown or forced closure does provide you with time to plan for the future and businesses should be using this opportunity wisely. You could be spending time talking to and employing experts in refurbishment and hospitality design and build to share your vision and plans. If you’re considering starting a hospitality business, the next few months will provide you with time to find premises and these should be easier to acquire than normal. Once you have premises, you could be cracking on with kitchen and interior design, sorting any planning requirements, getting quotes, and planning out the project. We can advise and support you with this and we regularly work alongside architects, interior designers and other contractors as required. We should all be using this time to plan for a post-COVID world.

    Choosing the right premises

    If you are looking for premises, then choosing the right location is going to be so important. It’s no secret that city centres have struggled more during this crisis and may take longer to return to pre-COVID levels. However, outside of lockdown, the London suburbs and towns around the capital have done well. Independent restaurants have also found it easier to adapt than some of the larger chains, so again this provides small businesses with an opportunity to thrive.

    The time you need to allow for a refurbishment or build varies from project to project, but some of our kitchen developments have been turned round in just a few weeks whilst a larger job including front of house could be more like six to eight weeks. In our early discussions, we will advise you on what you should expect in a timeframe and our sales and project managers will continue to guide you throughout the whole process.

    Work with industry experts

    When choosing who to work with, we always recommend opting for a business with hospitality experience. There are many experts who can advise on building projects or interior design, but by choosing someone with hospitality experience it means you get the bigger picture and sector specific support. You will also want confidence that you are working with a business that is reliable, financially secure and focused on achieving your goal to the highest standard. In the current economic climate, there is absolutely no excuse for poor service as businesses should really want the work.

    For those reading this who are considering setting up a hospitality business, we know these times may feel uncertain. Chiller Box was founded on the back of my own personal experience. I wanted to set up a hospitality business many years ago, but found the support wasn’t out there. Knowing where to get the most valuable advice on commercial kitchens, refrigeration and hospitality design was challenging at that time. Chiller Box was created to change this experience for others and I am absolutely passionate about supporting hospitality start-ups. We’ll ensure you have considered every element of a hospitality project including planning applications, managing utilities such as electricity, gas and water supplies, sourcing the right commercial equipment and kitchen and interior design.

    Remember the hospitality experience

    When it comes to managing your business in the current COVID-19 climate, you need to make sure you are following all the guidelines to protect your staff and customers. We can advise on improving the space you have available. However, one thing we don’t want you to lose sight of is that customer journey. Don’t get so worried about the pandemic and following guidelines that you forget what hospitality is all about; creating memorable positive experiences. That’s why we all work in this special industry.

    To discuss your hospitality business please get in touch. You can call us on 0800 849 1188 or 020 8365 5430 or email For more information about Chiller Box and the work we have completed you can visit our website at