November 21, 2014

Tour Clover HFI pre-construction

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We’ve been pretty quiet on HFI here. Sorry about that. We’ve been waiting for what seems like ages to get our construction permit. Our landlord waited over a month just to get the permit to install the storefront.

Well we’re getting closer. LL work is complete and we’re expecting our building permit shortly. So I thought I’d share a little video tour that shows the space pre-construction. This is going to look very different very quickly. It’s super exciting. We’ll give a series of video tours, like This Old House! And along the way I’ll post here about what it takes to get a restaurant up and running.

To start with I thought I’d share some basic timelines for those interested. I would have loved this sort of data when I was writing my Clover business plan. I’m including here the fastest we’ve ever done it and typical. We’ve had some worse than “typical” situations, but not many, so I’ll keep this simple:

  1. From finding a space we like to Letter of Intent (LOI): 1 day (fastest) – 1.5 months (typical)
  2. LOI to Lease: 1 month – 2 months
  3. Architectural Drawings: 3 weeks – 2 months (sometimes we begin this while still working lease, a risk but can speed things up)
  4. Engineer Drawings: 5 weeks – 3 months (this is brutally long, and cannot be done until after architectural drawings)
  5. Construction: 3 weeks – 6 weeks (we’re pretty fast here, many in our industry take longer)
  6. Pre open: 0 days – 2 weeks (we’re starting to play with longer pre-open periods. They cost us money, and keep you from great food, but they support a cleaner open and better more consistent operations from day 1)

So that’s a rough timeline. We typically budget a minimum of 6 months give or take for a new restaurant, though many take twice that time. For HFI we started this process late spring, so even though it feels like forever we’re actually sort of on time. And we got that 24 hour license : )

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