October 12, 2022

Opening a New Hotel or Restaurant in Houston? Start Planning your FF&E

Houston is booming. In 2020, the metro area saw the highest number of new business applications in all of Texas, a more than 35% increase over 2019. In fact, Houston ranks among the top 20 metro areas in the United States for new business applications, outranking both Dallas and Austin.

The area is seeing record growth in the service sector, with new hotels and restaurants popping up on seemingly every street corner. If you’re among those businesses looking to open a new location in Houston, or renovating or expanding your existing location, then you are most likely aware of the challenges that come with procuring and installing the furniture, fixtures and equipment (FF&E) you need to get your operation up and running.

FF&E can make up a large portion of your budget, as it may consist of items such as tables and chairs, kitchen equipment like stoves and coolers, guest and lobby furniture, office equipment and more.

If you’re planning to open a new restaurant or hotel location in the Houston area, here are some tips for how to approach FF&E, from procurement to installation.

Source FF&E items from reputable suppliers with experience in your industry.

Often a business owner will partner with a purchasing firm, which sources and negotiates on the company’s behalf to acquire the new furniture and equipment for a space. It’s important to look for a reputable purchasing firm with experience in your industry. If you’re opening a restaurant, you’ll want to carefully consider your kitchen equipment needs and find a supplier that will offer durable, high-performance equipment for a good value. For hotels, specialty furniture lines are available and designed to stand up to the level of use a typical operation sees.

Check the lead times on all your items.

While lead times for some FF&E items were typically several months, the current and lingering supply chain issues have created delays that may take up to a year to deliver. Navigating these timing issues can be a headache for businesses on a tight schedule to open. While you can’t afford to wait for items to arrive, you also can’t install expensive equipment in the middle of an active construction zone. A third-party logistics (3PL) partner can help you by coordinating with vendors and ensuring your FF&E deliveries match your construction timeline.

Find a location to store items until your space is ready.

Your storage solution needs to be secure and able to protect your items from damage. A full-service 3PL partner not only provides protective storage, but also accepts deliveries, inspects items upon arrival to ensure they are free from defect and have arrived undamaged, maintains inventory records throughout the storage period, transports items to your location and assists with moving and installation

Pace your deliveries.

When your space is ready, don’t schedule all your equipment to arrive on the same day. It’s important to allow adequate time for installation and commissioning of equipment. For kitchen equipment, this means checking that electrical, gas and plumbing connections are secure and the equipment is fully operational. For furniture, ensure the room is clear of debris so you can save time placing the items in space they belong. The best 3PL providers will have experience scheduling FF&E installations and can provide valuable expertise for your operation.

Partner with a third-party logistics provider (3PL).

3PLs help alleviate some of the critical issues surrounding FF&E procurement. Your 3PL partner can step in to receive, organize and store all your FF&E items until they are ready for installation. Then, they can also handle the furniture and equipment installation when your space is ready.

To break it down into more detail, when a shipment of FF&E items arrives, a 3PL meets the items at the dock and transports them to a warehouse, where the provider can verify their condition and sort them by stock-keeping units (SKUs). The 3PL also creates an FF&E installation schedule that maximizes efficiency and prevents the on-site staff from being overwhelmed by deliveries. Full-service partners like Armstrong may also offer white-glove service, handling everything from the initial unpacking and assembly to removing debris when the installation is complete.

Whether opening a new location or just renovating, your FF&E items are critical to setting the tone for your brand and bringing an empty space to life for your customers. Start laying the foundation for a successful procurement and installation process now to ensure a smooth, enjoyable customer experience later.

If you’re planning to open a new hotel or restaurant operation in the Houston area, contact us to help with all your FF&E needs. Armstrong’s team of experts can provide valuable assistance from the planning stage all the way to opening day. Get started by requesting a free quote online or calling 281.897.1118.

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Armstrong Relocation – Houston

9778 W. Gulf Bank Rd.
Houston, TX 77040

Office Hours: M-F 7 a.m. - 5 p.m.

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