Planning a new restaurant is a hectic process. With menus, staffing, inspections, suppliers, and more on your to-do list, it’s easy to lose track of everything that needs to be done. Even with all the logistics to work out, it’s critical to keep the design of the dining room in your mind - and your budget. The look of your space is one of the first impressions your restaurant makes on its customers, and combining good food with a great environment can turn the experience from satisfying to fantastic.
Here are four things to think about when looking for the perfect restaurant furniture:
When it comes to restaurant design and aesthetics, consistency is the name of the game. While an American comfort food restaurant with bold patterns and modern materials can certainly work, a warm wood or retro diner theme may complement your menu better. Keep every aspect of the restaurant in mind when choosing a theme for your restaurant furniture: food, price, length of a visit, employee uniforms, and more. If you’re not confident about the ins and outs of interior design, it’s okay to lean on the side of simplicity: stick to neutrals such as black, white, silver, gray, or tan, choose just one accent color, and keep wood tones uniform. Having a consistent, coherent design for your restaurant’s dining area helps you build your brand and create an experience that will keep people coming back for more.
If they’re going to enjoy the experience of dining at your restaurant, customers should feel comfortable in your space. Taken literally, comfort means taking into account the length of an average visit. At a quick-serve restaurant, choosing stiffer wood, metal, or plastic chairs could be a great way to achieve your desired style without impacting customer comfort too much, while at a family or fine dining establishment, uncomfortable chairs could mean fewer glasses of wine and polite refusals of the dessert menu.
More figuratively, keep in mind the layout and function of your dining space. While it’s true that you want to maximize your available space to accommodate customers, too many tables and booths can feel cramped, loud, and unpleasant. A younger customer base may value the functionality of technology at the table, while families and older patrons need ample space for high chairs, walkers, and wheelchairs.
3. Durability and Upkeep
When you’re just starting out, you may be tempted to search for a bargain on your restaurant furniture so that you can put more of your startup funds into other aspects of the business, but if a price seems too good to be true, it usually is. Just like restaurant appliances need to be commercially rated due to the high volume of use compared to home appliances, restaurant furniture is subjected to more wear-and-tear than your dining table at home. Choosing sturdy, durable furniture that will stand up to the demands of your restaurant and last for years is a much better return on investment than taking a chance on lower quality pieces that will need to be replaced and may not fit the ambiance of the restaurant.
Also, think about any upkeep your furniture may need. Chairs with upholstery can be both beautiful and comfortable, but may require frequent cleaning depending on the type of fabric. Consider whether you will be using tablecloths or keeping table tops bare, and even think about the type of flooring and how that will impact the chair glides (hint: dirty floors ruin chair glides).
4. Business Values
While this may not seem like an obvious function of your restaurant’s tables and chairs, the restaurant furniture you choose can say a lot about your business values. Many restaurants are getting on-board with the eco-friendly furniture trend by choosing reclaimed wood and chemical-free manufacturing processes. Buying restaurant furniture that is manufactured in the United States also makes a powerful statement about your restaurant’s commitment to supporting local businesses and economies, as well as providing benefits such as easier customization and faster shipping. As millennials quickly take up a greater percentage of consumer purchasing power, a business’ willingness to put their money where their mouth is in regards to values makes them more attractive to these mission-conscious spenders.
Choosing restaurant furniture may seem like just one more thing that needs to get done before you can open to the public, but it’s actually a critical aspect of the business that needs careful attention and consideration. By thinking carefully about each of these four things, you can be confident that your restaurant’s dining environment will wow your customers just as much as as your food, catapulting the experience from good to amazing and encouraging them to return again and again.
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