Take your time when choosing seating for your restaurant. It’s an aspect of your restaurant that your customers will notice from the minute them walk through the door until they second they leave. Good seating will leave a lasting impression, bad seating will leave a bad taste.
Your food may be worth shouting about, your service may be second to none and all of this will pale to nothing if your seating isn’t spot on.
1. Is it comfortable?
Comfortable customers will linger a while. Uncomfortable seating will clear a table before you can say “dessert?”.
Size and shape must be carefully considered. You will have customers of all shapes and sizes. Imagine a customer not being able to fit between the arms of a chair or the chair giving way beneath them. Then there’s the simple matter of fitting the chair comfortably under the table. May seem a no-brainer but having the arms of the chair at the height of the table can leave your customer further away from their plate than they’d like.
Long-limbed customers need plenty of leg room while you can’t have shorter customers’ feet dangling off the floor.
The shape of things to come…
A completely flat chair can become very uncomfortable over the space of a while mean. These work well for bench-like canteen eateries but for anything longer than a quick bite, the you may need to think again.
It’s difficult to account for everyone’s comfort, true, but planning for the widest possible range of body types in your customer base will help minimise complaints and maximise return visits.
From a practicality/budget point of view if you fill your front of house with 10 extra large chairs instead of 15 medium to large seats, you are robbing yourself of potential business every shift.
Bear in mind also how table legs and angles could interfere with wheelchairs or make sitting down difficult for patrons assisted by crutches or braces. Test out chair lengths and table height in combination with a wheelchair to determine how your guests will share the space available underneath the table. Will a wheelchair slide underneath the tabletop comfortably? Are your other chairs so deep that one guest’s knees will end up bumping against the wheel or legs of a disabled patron?
You’re not trying out new napkins here, this is a significant expense and longevity is an important factor to consider. Your chairs should last as long as your decor. You’re not going to be remodelling very often, and nor should you need to update your seating.
Be practical and discuss the fabric options with your upholsterer. Is the fabric on your seat and seat back stain resistant? Quality leather is an expensive, but highly durable option that combines comfort with ease to maintain. Upholstered seats can give your customers some extra cushion, but the wrong fabric may wear and fray over time. A newly developed fabric currently in stock at Roberts Furniture has a wipe-down, stain resistant fabric that is ideal for busy restaurants. http://robertsfurniture.ie/new-wipe-clean-fabric/
Don’t forget, too, to consider how extra chairs and tables will store when not in use. Can they stack efficiently in a storage room? Or do they all have to be out in your front of house all the time?
3. Does it fit my brand?
This is the big one. This is the icing on the cake that will constitute the first impression for your customers. The meal begins from the moment they walk into the door or, nowadays, from the moment they see your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or website. Your brand is you and you are your brand so take time to ensure that your seating, your decor, your food, your service, your marketing, online presence, menu, artwork, cutlery, glassware, music, uniforms and everything else besides has to be 100% you.
Every last detail down choosing a trim, studding or deep buttoning speaks volumes about your brand. So make it yours.
If you’d like to “see” it before you can visualise it, the Roberts Furniture showroom will give you a clearer idea and any advice you may need. Whether you choose to be traditional or abstract, contemporary or classic, we’ll make sure that you’ll always be stylish.