Your ultimate restaurant furniture guide
Customers (or should we say potential customers) will choose to dine with you according to a variety of different factors, the two most important being the style and comfort of your restaurant furniture, both of which reflect your brand: Customers need somewhere comfortable to sit for an extended period of time and your dining environment also needs to be visually appealing too.
There are several types of potential customers: Those who know you and use you time and time again because they love your brand and of course your food/service. There are customers who will research you based on word of mouth and online reviews and finally there are passer’s by who simply nip in because they like the look of your venue on the off-chance you have a table free!
So, this guide aims to give some pointers and advice on how to choose the perfect restaurant furniture for your venue to really enhance both your space, your brand and the dining experience to entice each and every type of customer into your venue.
Space & planning
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again and again (and again) – before purchasing any kind of furniture, ensure you plan your restaurant space. What space do you have and what are you trying to achieve from that space? Are you a fine dining restaurant which requires lots of empty space between tables, or are you a fast food establishment which aims to house as many customers as possible with a speedy turnaround? Once you’re certain of your objective as a restaurant, you can then begin the planning process by simply sketching your space and plotting where furniture items may go to make the best use of your space.
Of course you may have an existing space with a kitchen and toilets etc.already in place and are only planning a furniture refurbishment. Or, you maybe planning a venue from scratch and so are able to plot exactly where you wish everything to go.
This is one of the most important phases of choosing your restaurant furniture,because if you don’t plan your space and only guestimate, you could end up with a pile of furniture which doesn’t fit properly, doesn’t look fitting with your décor and needs returning – which is an expensive way to buy!
Below are the types of restaurant furniture you might think about incorporating within your space. And it goes without saying that any items you purchase must be contract furniture as domestic items just aren’t strong enough to withstand the demands of the commercial environment.
- Think about the types of tables you need – do you mostly cater for couples and small groups, or large parties? Do you need places for lone diners to eat without feeling conspicuous?
- Will round table tops or square table tops work better for your environment?
- Plan for flexibility: Yes of course you’ll have a standard seating plan, but it’s important to be able to adapt to different bookings when the need arise.
- Make sure the tables you buy are the same heights so that you can place them next to one another when needed
- Ensure table tops (both indoor and outdoor) are bullet proof!They need to be scratch resistant and rust resistant.
- Table bases come in all shapes and sizes including round & square discs and ‘X’ bases so again make sure that ergonomically these fit for your restaurant. Discs tend to be easier to clean around and X bases often allow chairs o fit closer under the table.
- The style of your restaurant will dictate the material of chair you choose – Well-padded leather and material chairs for example ooze comfort and perhaps a longer dining experience
- Metal and plastic are also comfortable options and if they are designed well in ergonomic terms then can be just as comfortable. They may just be more fitting with your brand.
- Do your chairs look good with your tables? Do they fit style-wise and are they at complementary heights so that it can be pulled close enough to eat!
- Booths or banquet-seating might work better if you have limited space to play with.
- There may be spaces of your restaurant (for example waiting areas) whereby you want to create a relaxed lounge area and so tub chairs and armchairs may be more suitable
- Do you need to be able to store your seating or move it into a smaller place? If so, stacking chairs may be the best option for you.
Take a look at one of our earlier blogs which covers the 6 factors to consider when choosing pub bar stools for your venue. However, the below sums up the main points when considering which bar stools to purchase:
- A standard bar is three and a quarter feet high and your typical bar stool is two and a half feet tall, so this leaves a difference of 10 inches for customer to sit comfortably – Any more or any less and they may feel rather squashed or reaching too far up for their drink!
- Make sure they are easy to move and stack. They need to be safe and sturdy yet easy to re-locate.
- Do you want a simple stool or do your patrons prefer a back-rest and a foot-rest?
Indoor vs outdoor
You may be lucky enough to have an outside space attached to your restaurant and so you will also need to plan this space. On a balmy summer’s evening patrons may want to make the most of the great British summer and sit outside to enjoy their meal and so it’s important that any furniture purchased for outdoors is both water and UV resistant. Rust-proof materials such as aluminium and rattan are perfect for outdoor restaurant furniture. Some outdoor furniture also lends itself very well to indoor environments, however,generally you wouldn’t want to use indoor furniture for outdoor purposes
There’s a huge range of contract furniture available to restaurant owners in today’s market and so this means that as a buyer, you can benefit from economies of scale. It’s worth shopping around and although there’s many options to buy direct online, it’s worth speaking with a representative to see if there are any deals to be had.
Try before you buy
Furnishing/refurbishing a restaurant is a big initial outlay and so the last thing you’ll want to do is order a pile of furniture which upon arrival,you decide, you don’t like. You may think items look completely different in the flesh as to how they look online or they may not be as comfortable as you had anticipated. And so, if you have the chance, make sure you attend a showroom, or ship only one item to your premises and see the quality, feel the comfort and see what it looks like in the context of your environment.Remember, once you’ve paid for a big batch of items to be shipped, that’s the shipping fee lost and then you have to think about the return carriage if you’re not satisfied.
As you can see, there’s so much to take into consideration when kitting out your restaurant and so it’s important you take each and everyone of the above factors into consideration to ensure you make the best possible choices for your restaurant.