Building a New Restaurant in Calgary? Read this First

Building a New Restaurant in Calgary? Read this First

If you are thinking seriously about building a new restaurant in Calgary, you are in the middle of a lot of research.  Be sure to read this first before you close the door on what you have learned.

Restaurants have rules and regulations that are distinct from other types of businesses.  Once you begin the construction it will consume extensive amounts of your time.  Be sure to get different quotes and opinions from contractors who specialize in building restaurants.  This will give you the opportunity to understand the industry standards and more than an introduction to the health, building, safety, and regulatory codes and rules.  Cutting corners will not serve you well in the long run.  Consider how well your restaurant will do in the various seasons and times of the day.

Depending on the type, the timeline for building a new restaurant in Calgary will vary.  This is based on the kinds of engineers, designers, your budget, and equipment needs.  Expect four to six months with a quick service facility coming together quicker than a posh fine dining establishment.


As you look for a restaurant construction team ask for a recap of their education and experience with the size and type of restaurant you intend to open.  There are also consultants that can be incorporated into the group as necessary.  A restaurant architect will create the documents (floor plans) for the intended design and continue through every phase including construction.  The goal is to create a floor plan that is appropriate to allow customers to enter and be able to maneuver easily through the space to the different points in the restaurant.

The architect will work closely with your general contractor who will coordinate all of the construction and materials as well as inspections.

Consultants may include a commercial kitchen designer, interior decorator, furniture vendor, lighting, acoustical, graphic, and web designer.

As you select your site, consider the type of restaurant in the surrounding area.  An upscale evening dining facility will probably not do well near a college campus, but a deli or casual dining/bar will thrive.  You also need to look at access to high traffic that will attract diners.  Be sure the utilities and other services are all available to support the restaurant, including sanitary and grease waste disposal, hood ducting, venting and extra use of electrical and HVAC.


As mentioned previously, follow all codes to the letter.  This includes egress for general purposes and emergencies.  Accessibility is another major issue to be sure all areas are wheelchair compliant and doors can be easily opened by older adults and those persons with disabilities.All of this may seem overwhelming.  However, if you do your pre-construction preparation and research, you will find that by hiring a professional commercial contractor the process becomes easier.  You will still be in control of the decisions, but a company with significant experience building and remodelling restaurants will provide the basis for a smooth project.  Investing in the right talent at the outset will help to make your dream a reality.

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