So you’ve gone through a number of bids from contractors for your restaurant construction project. You’ve finally settled on a commercial general contractor with the right price and qualifications. Before you break ground, it’s a good idea to discuss the construction schedule with the general contractor you’ve chosen. If you’re new to the restaurant business or you’ve never created a construction schedule before, the Los Angeles restaurant builders at H.W. Holmes, Inc. are here to offer a few helpful tips and guidance to assist you in developing a restaurant construction timeline.


As a general rule of thumb, expect any restaurant construction project to last anywhere from 2 to 6 months. Restaurant type is a huge factor. A takeout-style restaurant generally takes about 2 months to build out and install materials. A fast-casual restaurant, for instance, popular chains like Chipotle Mexican Grill, Panera Bread, and Brueggers can take up to 12 weeks or roughly 3 to 4 months. A full-service casual or fine-dining establishment can take anywhere from 4 to 6 months to complete.

The back of the house of any restaurant is largely the same. It doesn’t matter if it’s a fast-food chain or a fine-dining establishment. All kitchens are comprised of the basics like a cook line, dishwasher and three-compartment sink. But the front of each restaurant – it’s layout and style – varies greatly from one project to the next. National chain restaurants being an exception as they offer some predictability stylistically and timeline-wise.


Certain contractors might be able to work multiple shifts each day for a faster project turn time. That said, be cautious before proceeding with anyone promising too fast of a turn time. You don’t want someone that does shoddy work or takes short cuts.

Remember there could be a number of circumstances that affect your construction timeline. These include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Site Specifications
  • Architectural Drawings
  • Permitting Process
  • Weather Conditions
  • Project Size or Degree of Difficulty
  • Complexity of Architectural Plans
  • Availability/Delivery Time of Finishes, Furnishings, Kitchen Equipment, Flooring, HVAC Units
  • Communication Between Contractors, Subcontractors & Vendors
  • Knowledge & Experience of Contractor, Subcontractors & Respective Crews


The permitting process, which can take anywhere from 3 to 4 months to complete, should be started well in advance to the start of construction. Preliminary plans need to be reviewed and approved by a local and/or state building inspector.

This is particularly important for restaurants since numerous health and fire codes have to be satisfied both pre and post-construction. Health and building codes today are stricter than ever. Inspectors are very familiar with the ways in which below-board contractors try to cut corners or sidestep code. Not only can this delay your restaurant’s open, but it can also cost you a considerable chunk of change by way of fines and penalties.

For example, food prep areas generally have to be a specific distance from disposal drains. The locations where grease traps and vents will be installed also need to be defined and signed off on. Not having plans for such things reviewed and approved can cost you a lot later.

It’s not a bad idea to print copies of these regulations and requirements for contractors or subcontractors to refer to as they work on your project. This is a way to ensure everything from health and fire code requirements are adhered to during construction and won’t require costly modifications later.


Any fixtures or finishes that could take a while to deliver, like lighting, flooring, or HVAC units, should be ordered as well to prevent delays down the road.

These and the delivery of construction materials in general can drastically alter the time it takes to complete a restaurant construction project. If you want to ensure construction is completed by the restaurants projected open date, it’s best to coordinate these kind of deliveries early on to avoid delays.

Especially if you’re planning to use high-end fixtures, furnishing, finishes, or kitchen equipment. You don’t want to delay your restaurant’s open waiting weeks upon weeks for geometric tile flooring, restored light fixtures, or high-polish finishes.


H.W. Holmes, Inc. is a commercial contractor offering restaurant construction in Los Angeles and throughout Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. We have cultivated relationships with many local health and building departments to position anyone who hires us for a successful project. We’re adept at both new ground-up restaurant construction as well as restaurant remodels. Contact us today at (805) 383-9929 or complete our online contact form to discuss your project.