The first thing you think of when you hear the word “restaurant” is probably food, but it's about so much more than just food. It's really about the enjoyment of food – and that encompasses more than just food because it’s also dependent on the feeling, and the atmosphere. When it comes to creating restaurant ambience, good design and great restaurant furniture play a crucial role.
Generally speaking, restaurant furniture will fall into the following categories. Restaurant tables can be purchased as complete pieces, or you can order the components separately picking and choosing the table tops and table bases to really customise the look and function of your restaurant. You’ll also come across various kinds of restaurant dining chairs, such as restaurant armchairs, and restaurant side chairs (dining chairs with no arms). Restaurant bar stools are also very common and come in a range of formats from no back to high back to bar stools with armrests and more. Finally, banquette seating is a kind of fixed restaurant seating and is almost synonymous with restaurant seating, although you would also see banquettes used in other hospitality sectors. Being deliberate about the choices for any of these types of restaurant furniture will go a long way in shaping the look and feel of your restaurant, and the overall enjoyment of food for your customers.
What are the main components of restaurant furniture?
When we refer to restaurant furniture, we’re primarily talking about restaurant seating like restaurant dining chairs, which can be armchairs, or side chairs, as well as restaurant tables, bar stools, and fixed seating like restaurant banquette seating.
Let’s talk about restaurant tables.
Contract restaurant tables are a key element in creating a welcoming and functional dining space for guests. When you’re specifying a restaurant table, it's essential to consider some of these key components to ensure a harmonious and practical design.
One thing that has a strong effect on your design and something you want to put some real thought into is the material of the table top. It should be chosen based on the aesthetic and durability requirements of the establishment.There are many options ranging from classic wood finishes to sleek and contemporary metal or composite surfaces, and many others. And of course, there are customisations you can make with each of these table top types to make it your own. Table bases play an equally important role when specifying restaurant tables. Of course, it plays the role of supporting your table top, but it also has a big effect on the aesthetic of your restaurant. You can choose from a myriad of table base options, from traditional pedestal bases to modern metal designs. The choice should complement the overall interior design theme.
The table dimensions are another critical consideration. Not only do they directly impact your guest’s comfort and dining experience, but they also affect how efficient the space is, how traffic flows in the restaurant, and how many covers you can accommodate. The width and length should allow for diners to comfortably sit and enjoy their meal with enough room for dishes, cutlery, and some elbow space. The table height is also something to keep in mind and will vary depending on whether you want standard dining tables or bar-height tables with bar stools. It all comes back to what your vision for the restaurant design is. Lastly, considering the maintenance and cleaning requirements of the chosen materials is essential. This will play a part in your operational efficiency as well as maintenance long-term.
As a designer or restaurant owner, your vision is going to be clear. You know how you want diners to experience the food, and what you want them to feel when they’re in your space. Do you want something bold, loud and boisterous or do you want people to come in for a slow, calming, luxurious dinner? The finish and colour of the table should align with your overall vision and design scheme. This may involve choosing colours that work with other design elements like upholstery, and tiles, or elements like accent lighting.
Specifying contract restaurant tables will take some thoughtful consideration to balance between function, durability and aesthetics. By carefully selecting materials, dimensions, finishes, and customization details, you can create an inviting dining environment that will enhance the enjoyment of food and keep customers coming back time after time, while also meeting your operational needs to keep your restaurant running smoothly.
Restaurant chairs and what you need to know.
Contract restaurant dining chairs are arguably one of the most important pieces of furniture in a restaurant. They are pivotal in creating a comfortable and aesthetically pleasing dining atmosphere. Plus guests need to rest their tushes on them for their entire meal so be sure to choose dining chairs that leave a lasting impression without leaving lasting discomfort. When specifying contract restaurant dining chairs it's important to consider a range of types and varied components when you’re searching for a cohesive and functional design.
There's a huge spectrum of chair types to choose from classic wood to upholstered chairs - from modern metal to plastic designs. Each type has its own distinct style and level of comfort, catering to the ambience you want to create. And within each type of dining chair, there are also a lot of options to consider to achieve your desired effect.
The restaurant dining chair's frame material is a crucial consideration because it has a bearing on the visual effect as well as its durability, especially when choosing restaurant furniture for high-traffic venues. Wood, metal, and plastic are some of the most common options, each with its own unique advantages, and disadvantages.
When we get into restaurant dining chair upholstery there are a few factors at play with considerations for things like aesthetics, practicality, durability and fire resistance. With many products, you have the option to customise your upholstery material with fabrics, vinyl, and leather depending on the design concept you’ve chosen. There are of course fire resistance considerations. The UK has their own set of regulations for flame retardancy with commercial furniture. Another thing you want to look at when selecting upholstery for your restaurant furniture is the Martindale test, or the rub test, which classifies a material’s durability based on the number of rubs it can withstand before breaking down.
As we mentioned earlier, comfort is key. If guests are going to be sitting in your restaurant dining chairs for a few hours you better believe it should be comfortable. An uncomfortable seat can completely ruin how you enjoy your food. Ergonomics plays a vital role in guest comfort. The restaurant dining chair's dimensions, including seat height, depth, and backrest angle, should encourage a relaxed posture for prolonged dining (but not TOO relaxed). Depending on your restaurant style and how you plan to use the space, you may want to choose stackable dining chairs instead of non-stackable ones. This provides a lot more flexibility in the space and makes storing the chairs much easier.
Perhaps the vibe for your restaurant isn’t to exclusive have dining chairs. Including restaurant bench seating, or banquettes can be a really great way to bring modern restaurant furniture into your space. Banquettes can be causal such as something you might find at a fast food restaurant, or they can be very high-end luxury restaurant furniture, adding a touch of sophistication and a different feeling and flow to your restaurant.
When it comes to restaurant furniture the sky really is the limit with customization. There are options for practically every combination of colours, textures, materials and treatments. And having a unique design can be the defining factor between a restaurant being cutting edge and becoming a success, or falling a little flat. Being authentic and keeping your customizations true to your restaurant’s brand identity goes a long way with restaurant customers. As with most things, interior design, specifying contract restaurant chairs requires a balance of style, comfort, durability, and function. When you choose the appropriate dining chair type, frame material, upholstery, dimensions, finish, and customization options, you can truly curate a dining space that reflects the restaurant's character while prioritizing the comfort and satisfaction of your patrons.
What are the potential pitfalls to watch out for when buying restaurant furniture?
Designing and outfitting a restaurant is exciting and give you a lot of creative freedom to bring your vision to life. But it means you can also end up with a few headaches, even when you have a pretty solid idea of what you want. Let’s chat about some of the pitfalls you could run into when choosing restaurant furniture such as difficulties connecting table tops and table bases, issues with fire regulations, and choosing appropriate outdoor furniture.
As an interior designer, project manager, or restaurateur you need to think about factors like
How many covers you’ll be doing
Do your tables need to sustain heavy volume as a quick turnover casual dining restaurant?
Or do you have longer seatings in a fine dining restaurant?
What fire regulations apply to my restaurant project?
And many other considerations…
When you’re choosing table bases and table tops separately you get a lot of flexibility with the creative direction of your project. You’re not captive to a singular table design. That being said, you need to account for assembly time and potential hiccups with assembly on-site. Contract Chair Co. is happy to assist in the delivery and assembly of your furniture, however, there are still times when some creative problem-solving may be required.
You need to consider what the fire regulations are for your restaurant furnishings. There are specified fire rating requirements in the UK depending on where the furniture will be used in your restaurant, bistro, or gastropub. You can read more about the specifics of fire ratings and hospitality furniture here.
When you’re thinking about your customers’ dining experience outdoors on your restaurant terrace you have to keep other factors in mind. Outdoor furniture will be exposed to the elements such as rain, UV from the sun, wind, and pollution, to name a few. These things are important to factor into your decisions when choosing outdoor furniture. Do you need your outdoor furniture to be stackable? Will it be susceptible to salt water at your seaside bistro? Most outdoor furniture will require some sort of maintenance to keep it looking pristine, but thinking about how much time and energy you want to invest in that restaurant furniture maintenance will play a part in what pieces of outdoor furniture make it into your final design. Contract Chair Co. of course, has a wealth of knowledge in this area and we can give you ample suggestions depending on your needs.
How do I set a budget and determine the number of covers?
One of the first things to consider when you embark on the journey of designing a restaurant is budget. But the budget isn’t the only consideration here – you also need to consider how many covers you want your restaurant to accommodate, and the two are closely related. Understanding the number of covers you want will give you a solid starting point for the kinds of designs you can implement, taking into account things such as restaurant table sizes, how many chairs you need, the flow of the restaurant, etc… Some dining chairs and tables have a larger footprint, while others dining armchairs may not tuck under the table, potentially occupying more space on the restaurant floorplan.
How does the number of covers impact restaurant furniture selection?
The number of covers you want your restaurant to have capacity for will determine the restaurant furniture you choose. It will have an effect on the size and shape of your restaurant table tops, as well as the types of restaurant dining chairs you can use as some take up more real estate than others. If you’re looking for fine dine dining restaurant furniture you’ll need to keep in mind that you may have the option for fewer covers due to the nature of this kind of design. When you start to buy restaurant furniture it’s important to have your vision and the feel of your restaurant clear.
Restaurant furniture durability.
Contract restaurant furniture is designed to withstand a lot more usage than your typical residential furniture and for good reason. Some restaurants need furniture that is practically bulletproof – chairs that are robust and won't break easily, and table tops that resist marks and can stand up to frequent and heavy use. The level of sturdiness required is a significant consideration, especially for high-traffic restaurants. Of course, there are things restaurateurs can do to prolong the lifespan of their restaurant furniture with proper cleaning and maintenance. Check out our Care and Maintenance Guide for more.
What is a crucial factor to consider in restaurant furniture for high-traffic venues?
The main thing to keep top of mind when choosing restaurant furniture for high-traffic areas is durability. Your furniture will withstand frequent use, and you need to choose tables, and materials that will stand up to that level of wear and tear. Our sales representatives are experts in all things restaurant furniture and can help you narrow down the options to best suit your needs for a high-traffic and high-turnover restaurant.