Whether you’re opening your flagship restaurant or changing up the layout of an established eatery, ordering new furniture for your business is a great way to modernise your place and compliment your brand.
But, in the excitement of ordering, it’s easy to overlook important details and end up with more furniture than you need, or items that just don’t vibe with your vision.
Here’s the good news—we’re here to help. We’ve gathered a list of the top 4 most common mistakes restauranteurs make when buying furniture for their business. Read on to ensure these dining room disasters don’t happen to you.
Mistake #1: You don’t have a budget
You would be shocked at the number of restaurant owners who jump into business without a solid budget. Unfortunately, doing so has forced many businessmen and women into bankruptcy. A budget for your business is non-negotiable…and your furniture budget must be part of it.
Expect to reserve 30% – 40% of your budget for furniture, fixtures, and other equipment. And here’s a tip: take a look at commercial tables with detachable tabletops. Considering the amount of wear and tear restaurant tabletops endure, it will be cheaper in the long run to replace tabletops only instead of a piece that has the top and base connected.
Mistake #2: You don’t know how much space you have
Whether you are ordering furniture for a dining area, bar, outdoor patio, or all of the above, it is critical that you know exactly how much space is available for each area.
But this goes beyond measuring your floor space. You must also consider the size of the tables and chairs you’re ordering. Be sure to allow for enough space between tables so guests can comfortably get into and out of chairs without bumping into their neighbors. You also want to leave enough room that wait staff can navigate between tables when chairs are filled, and plenty of space for traffic aisles to the kitchen, bar, restrooms, and exits.
As a general rule, higher-end eateries leave more space between their tables because guests linger longer over their meals (sometimes 2 – 3 hours) compared to more casual or grab-and-go establishments. Consider the following measurements general guidelines for spacing between tables:
- Fine Dining Restaurants: 5 – 6 meters
- Casual, Full-Service Restaurants: 4.5 – 5.5 meters
- Bars and Diners: 3.5 – 4.5 meters
Mistake #3: You don’t take your customer’s comfort into consideration
It doesn’t matter how much you love the visual aesthetic of the modern seating you ordered. If your guests are uncomfortable, those gorgeous chairs won’t help…and will likely hurt…your business.
Consider the type of establishment you’re creating as you browse furniture options. If yours is a fine dining restaurant or a laid-back lounge where guests are expected to linger for hours over the food and drinks, you want your furniture to be comfortable. Luxuriously padded seats and chairs with armrests will keep guests happy as they dine or relax. If you have a more casual or grab-and-go place with a high turnover rate, you can get by with more rigid seating as customers won’t be staying as long.
Another customer-centric point to consider—what type of customer do you attract? If people tend to visit your restaurant in pairs, you’ll be better off buying small tables that can be pushed together to accommodate larger parties. Large six-top tables will only take up space.
Mistake #4: You try to save money on bargain basement/non-commercial furniture
This is when you should listen to that little voice in your head warning, you get what you pay for. The furniture in your restaurant is a major component of your business, and it is not the place to be cutting corners.
Some business owners try to save money by purchasing used restaurant furniture. While these people score points for buying commercial-grade pieces, they often run into trouble when they inevitably must purchase replacement pieces. If you buy chairs that were made 15 – 20 years ago, you’re going to have a hard time hunting down matching replacements.
And then there are those who try to get by with non-commercial-grade furniture. Commercial furniture has been built to precise specifications to ensure they are safe for consumers to use. It’s also designed to stand up to the immense wear and tear that occurs as guests come and go.
Do yourself a favor and find commercial-grade furniture that meets your needs and falls within your budget. There are plenty of places that offer quality, commercial furniture at a variety of price points.
If you are looking for new furniture for your restaurant, we hope you’ll contact us at Have a Seat. Shop online or stop by our Sydney showroom to try out a few pieces for yourself. We’ll help you find the furniture you need to keep your budget low and your customers comfy.
Thanks for reading,
Have a Seat
1300 715 937