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As a result of the pandemic, many quick-serve restaurant brands are adapting to meet new preferences for how patrons want to engage with their stores. Restaurants are making physical changes to their spaces like getting Permit for Restaurants Upgrade, making the most out of outdoor areas, spacing out indoor seating, emphasizing drive-thru and pickup window efforts, or even renovating to a more open concept as customers become more interested in transparency and personally monitoring kitchen cleanliness.

Current design-related restaurant upgrades include implementing back-of-house cleanliness standards like removing soft and porous surfaces in favor of easier-to-clean surfaces or updating branding and signage to inform patrons about COVID regulations and compete better during this challenging time. Additionally, many restaurants are adding social distancing markers in front of host stands, bathrooms, and other common congregation areas; and installing new or improved barriers like deeper bar tops, higher plexiglass guards, and partitions between booths or tables. Upgrading to a more advanced HVAC system can also help limit shared air between occupants.

Consumers’ emphasis on cleanliness due to the pandemic will likely reach beyond the timeline of formal COVID-19 restrictions. This means that restaurants that take action sooner will be in a stronger position to maintain and grow their customer bases moving forward.

To make these projects a success, a building permit for a restaurant and various approvals are needed. Depending on the number of restaurants you have, getting permits for each upgrade can take significant time and require expertise in local requirements. Routing plans for review also need to go through different departments depending on the area, including building departments and oftentimes separate submittals to city, state, and/or county entities. That’s why it’s a good idea to employ a team of experts to handle the restaurant building permit process for you. Here are five requirements that may be necessary before embarking on restaurant upgrades you need a Permit for Restaurants Upgrade.

Health and Fire Department Approvals of Permit for Restaurants Upgrade

Most municipalities require approvals from both Health and Fire departments for new restaurant builds or renovations. These involve exhaustive building codes that ensure the health and safety of all occupants. Complex codes and requirements differ from place to place, making the approval process, especially taxing for larger brands or chains looking to complete projects on multiple sites at once.

Notable health and fire safety approvals for restaurants include grease trap and wastewater management systems. To keep grease out of the sewer system and prevent clogs and backups, your kitchen must be well equipped to intercept grease from sinks, deep fryers, and other fixtures. Oil and grease can solidify in sewer lines and soil absorption systems, causing problems for both onsite wastewater disposal systems and public sewage systems. Following all codes and requirements is important to avoid issues and hefty fines.

Permit expediters verify all requirements and make sure projects are submitted properly, identifying all AHJs (authorities having jurisdiction) that need approvals so you can avoid costly holdups and mistakes in your restaurant project. While some building departments will handle routing to all reviewers, others need separate submittals. For example, State, County, and/or City Departments of Environmental Health reviews and approvals may be separately required prior to Building Permit issuance, and Grease Trap and Fire submittals will need to be addressed either through the Building Department or separately depending on location. Keeping track of these vastly different processes can cause headaches for chains or national brands looking to complete multi-site projects efficiently, so using an expert to handle this process for all sites is ideal.

Signage Updates

If you’re rebranding, implementing wayfinding signage, or adding a canopy or awning in the drive-thru area, you’ll need a permit. A recent sign-related trend for fast-casual restaurants is upgrading menu boards with more advanced technology, like McDonald’s acquisition of Dynamic Yield to make their menu board technology smarter — allowing it to suggest items based on time of day, season, item availability, and whether the restaurant is busy and can accommodate complex orders.

Local regulations and processes to obtain sign permits will differ, which can make obtaining a permit for a signage upgrade lengthy and complicated, especially for larger brands or chains that will need to make the same changes in many different areas. This can hold up the entire project, leaving you behind competitors.

Local sign ordinances may restrict the size, location, and type of lighting for your sign. Permitting codes can be checked prior to signing renderings being developed to help ensure compliance when submitted for Permit for Restaurants Upgrade permitting. This will save you time and money working on a sign that may not ultimately be allowed in your area.

To start, you may need a sign audit to determine the effectiveness and continued compliance of your current signage, especially since COVID-19 regulations may require additional signs regarding social distancing or safe hygiene practices. A survey of your facility may help you when considering the possibilities for sign design and placement from a construction standpoint. Next, you’ll need to verify your AHJ and zoning district, confirm all necessary permit and approval requirements, and submit the required applications and materials to the appropriate places. This process can be streamlined using an expert permit expediter, allowing you to install sign updates sooner.

Interior and Exterior Renovation Permit for Restaurants Upgrade

The customer experience is a huge focus for restaurants and retailers right now, and because of that, restaurant interiors and exteriors need to be on point both visually and spatially. If you’re considering upgrading these spaces, you may need extensive approvals. The possibilities for renovation and your goal timeline may again be obstructed by a lack of knowledge about local zoning codes and difficulties in coordinating necessary approvals.