average cost of cafe fit out

Average Cafe Fit Out Costs

Whether you’re looking to start a cafe business from scratch or seeking to revamp an existing space, you’ll need to undertake a fit-out to achieve this. Small cafes offering seating for ten or less patrons are gaining popularity amongst both first-time and existing shop owners. These spaces have been gaining traction in the shopfitting world. They allow clients to be able to bring their business dreams to life and open cafes while also sticking to more realistic budgets. 

Average Cafe Fit Out Costs

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The cafe start-up costs associated with the cafe fit-out is determined by a range of variables, including:

  • The size of the cafe fit-out.
  • Whether floors, ceilings and walls are in reasonable condition.
  • What materials/equipment/furniture/fixings/fittings are already available.
  • The quality of the finished cafe fit-out.
  • How durable the cafe fit-out needs to be.
  • The target audience for your cafe fit-out.
  • Are you conducting an entirely new fit-out or only renovating some aspects of your cafe?

If you are looking for approximate cafe fit-out costs, we’ve provided estimated costs for three different cafe fit-out options: basic (budget), intermediate, or premium quality cafe fit-out. Alongside the cost, you’ll also find a description of the type of results you can expect to receive for the indicative budget.

  • For a basic restaurant build $1,800 to $2,200 Per Square Metre (ex. GST)
  • For a mid-range restaurant build $2,200 to $2,500 Per Square Metre (ex. GST)
  • For a high-end restaurant build $3,400+ Per Square Metre (ex. GST)

The cafe renovation cost is always relative to the size of the space, materials used, labour and more. In Australia, the average cost to refurbish a small to medium size cafe typically can go from $80,000 to $170,000 (excluding cafe equipment, displays, banners, design and electrical, mechanical and plumbing installations). For large cafes, the cost can go upwards to $250,000 (Prices are estimated during the layout and interior design session with our cafe shopfitters).

Average Cafe Fit Out Costs Per Square Metre

Approximately $1,800 to $2,200 Per Square Metre 

For this type of sum, cafe business owners can expect to receive a basic cafe fit-out. This will include flooring, furniture, counters, front-of-house and back-of-house fit-out. Restrooms, a reception area and/or a bar area may also be included. Materials will be chosen with the economy in mind.

This type of cafe fit-out is ideal for a start-up business, a franchise or a smaller cafe. Despite the lower cost cafe fit-out costs, it’s still possible to build in a good degree of individuality, as well as create a functional, aesthetically pleasing space that offers an inviting dining experience.

Elements that affect your Cafe Fit-Out Cost

Style or design

When considering the type of style or design you’re looking for, and you might want to think about your potential clientele. For instance, if your cafe is in an area teaming with young professionals, then you might want to think about a modern contemporary look such as an industrial feel. Conversely, if it’s a family orientated neighbourhood, then you might want to consider a more relaxing space that’s less corporate.

Once you’ve got an idea about the style or design you’re looking for, then try and adopt the ‘less is more policy. If, for instance, you can use the original flooring, then a can or two or varnish and some elbow grease might do the trick. Adornments don’t have to be expensive either. Try sourcing a few key items like pictures and trinkets from charity shops. Skip table cloths in favour of bare tables and good quality napkins. Finally, expose walls and beams rather than cover them with paint or wallpaper for a raw, edgy look that’s banging on-trend.

Ergonomic planning

Every cafe owner wants its customers to linger a little longer, and this is why comfortable seating is key. Ergonomic cafe furniture has been specially designed to do just this. It offers customers maximum comfort and convenience so that they feel relaxed. After all, who wants to hang around in a cafe when the furniture is uncomfortable?

To get the inspiration, you might want to flick through the glossy magazines. Once you have an idea of what you want, then try sourcing your furniture from specialist online suppliers. Firstly there’s a strong chance it will be a lot cheaper, especially if you buy in bulk and secondly, many online specialists such as Cafe Solutions here in Brisbane have local warehouses where you can check out the furniture in person.

Best workflow practices

Getting the right balance of tables and chairs is key. After all, you want to maximise your floor space, but at the same time, you also need to make sure that waiting staff can manoeuvre around the floor easily.

The trick is to get it down on paper first. Draw your floor space and then plot exactly how many tables you’re going to need. Don’t forget to include door openings such as entrances to the kitchen, the bar area if there is one, and toilets too. This way, you know exactly how many tables you need and where they’re going to go. Then you can budget accordingly.

Maximising your seating capacity

This tends to go hand in hand with best workflow practices, and it’s all about maximising your seating to make the most of your floor space.

If your cafe space is full of tight corners or recesses, then chances are an ordinary square table won’t fit. Instead, look to mix your furniture up by adding smaller rounded dry-bar tables. They’re perfect for awkward spaces and will almost certainly cost less too. In addition, go to the best commercial furniture you can. Companies such as Werzalit and Isotop manufacture high-quality commercial tables that not only look great but are built to last too.

Things to Consider When Designing a Café

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A quality shopfitter that will help you with all the most important considerations for your cafe fit-out; look for these considerations for your cafe:


Years of research have gone into the effects that colour plays in our psychology. It is so important to consider the colours that you want in your restaurant and how they will affect your customers.

Colours such as blue and purple are to be avoided or only used minimally in places that serve food. The thought behind this is that due to the fact that these colours do not often naturally occur in foods, our bodies do not place any association between them and hunger. In fact, blue, in particular, has been found to curb appetite.

Red can promote hunger but is not often connected with healthy foods. Red is great for cafes that serve hot chips and fast, hot meals but are terrible if the cafe or restaurant has a focus on healthy eating.

Green colours are associated with health and will work on advertising that the meals provided are healthy and fresh.

Distances between tables

It can be tempting to try and fit as many tables and chairs into a space as possible. After all, more tables and chairs mean more customers, right?

However, it is really important to consider the usability of space and the distances needed for people to move around comfortably. A minimum space of 1 metre should be allowed between tables. 1.2 metres is a more comfortable distance, and when designing for access for people in wheelchairs, an allowance of 1.5 metres or more is best!


Flooring is often the last thing that people consider when designing a space, but it can be a crucial element in the effectiveness of the overall design. The flooring chosen should be scratch-resistant, easy to clean, slip-resistant and hardwearing. Many people decide to go cheap on flooring and then end up needing to replace it when it starts falling apart. It is important that when planning your cafe, you understand the importance of choosing suitable flooring. In cafes and restaurants, timber flooring is particularly popular, but opting for a vinyl plank or timber look tiles can be just as stunning and far more suitable for the purpose.


It can be easy to choose lighting based on how it looks, but remember that the lighting choice can affect all the colours in the space and how the food you serve will look. Warm lighting will help to create an atmosphere, which can be great when the food presentation isn’t a focal point. However, if you plan to serve food where presentation is paramount, consider cool lighting so that the colours in the meal are properly represented.

Placement of Serving Counter

Consider the type of restaurant or café you’re going to run when deciding on the placement of your serving counter.

Placing the serving counter near the entry will make it more likely that people will ‘pop in’ from walking past. But placing the serving counter near the back of the restaurant will mean the people who do come in are more likely to sit down and stay.

For your fit-out cafe, we have a team of qualified joiners, fitters and project managers who will help carry out the installation of the cafe. Our team constantly delivers fantastic results, making sure your equipment and joinery are installed correctly and systematically within the desired time frame. Contact us to talk to one of our team members today.

Request a free quote.

As a rough guide, the average cost for a fit-out is around $800 to $1250 per square meter.

This depends on the job though, so fill out the form below or call us 0400 421 461 for a job-specific quote.

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