Lightning-fast restaurant remodel aimed at retaining business

By Rachel Pritchett

Come 3 p.m. this Sunday, the doors at the Port Orchard Family Pancake House slam shut and some 20 demo folks immediately will start tearing the place apart in a matter of hours.

In a week and about $200,000 later, the doors will reopen, with new dry wall, tile, carpet, seating, window dressing, lighting — the entire shebang.

It’s a uniquely choreographed fast dance, with different work crews stepping in and out right on cue, faster than anything you’d see in residential construction.

“And then in a few days, everything’s back in, brand new,” said Jeff BeCraft, vice president of operations for the chain of five restaurants.

The restaurant, which opened in 1989, is a local favorite and historically the biggest money-maker of all five Family Pancake Houses, though the one now in Redmond has overtaken it. It’s been six years since the last interior remodel on the Port Orchard eatery. Owners have to work as fast as they can to get the work done, because being closed costs money and they don’t want customers in that week to get used to going somewhere else.

“You don’t want them to get very comfortable at the new place,” said DeCraft, who had some advice for businesses contemplating upgrades. Save up the money first. “You never want to overtake profits from your business,” he said.

“You plan for this; you save for this,” said the longtime Family Pancake House exec.

And once you spend what you save, start immediately to replenish the pot, he added.

As for decor, think lighter, and blue, with all the brass gone.

They’re saying the restaurant will reopen at 5 p.m. April 22, but it’s a good bet it’ll be a little sooner.

If I receive any photos of the workers in action, I’ll post them here.

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