Restaurant Furniture Buying Guide

Buying furniture is one of the bigger investments you’ll make in your restaurant. After all, you’ll need it to provide years of consistent service and withstand the daily wear and tear associated with repeated usage. So, if you’re going to buy new furniture for your restaurant, what characteristics, materials and other qualities should you be looking for? The Rosehill team answers all of these questions and more in our restaurant furniture buying guide.

Is restaurant furniture different from other types of furniture? 

You may be wondering if restaurant furniture is any different from the tables and chairs you find at home. 

The answer is an emphatic yes.

Furniture designed to withstand the rigours of restaurant life features materials, manufacturing methods and compliance standards that place it in the realm of contract furniture.

Let’s leave no room for doubt; contract furniture is very different from domestic furniture.

So, when you’re buying furniture for your restaurant, make sure you’re buying it from a reputable supplier of contract-standard furniture – like Rosehill!

With that clarification out of the way, let’s take a look at the most important things you need to consider when buying restaurant furniture. 

Restaurant table layout and capacity

Before you start looking at the individual details of your desired pieces of furniture, you first need to figure out the table layout and capacity of your restaurant. 

This is not to be overlooked, as capacity is the key to profitability for the majority of restaurants. 

You want to be able to fit in enough patrons to cover your costs, whilst also providing enough room for servers to be able to navigate their way around the restaurant and for customers to have an enjoyable dining experience.

You’ll also want to consider your average party size. 

How many people typically come to your restaurant to dine together? It could be that you mainly cater to couples. Or you may be the restaurant of choice for larger parties. 

Either way, you need to make sure that you have enough of the right kinds of tables to meet demand.

How many covers are appropriate for the space? 

Okay, with the points above in mind, how many covers will be appropriate for your space? 

According to The Metric Handbook (the definitive handbook of planning and design data for architects), diners require an area between one and two square metres (with a minimum width of 580mm).

Based on this, you should then compare your choice of table along with the available floor space in your restaurant. 

Round table sizes range from 600mm diameter (perfect for two diners), up to 1200mm diameter (ideal for up to six diners). 

Square and rectangular tables vary in size from 600mm x 600mm (two diners), up to 1200mm x 800mm (for up to four diners).

Some restaurants also choose to use booths. These tend to incorporate tables and chairs into a distinct unit and are made to fit your particular space.

Note – it’s possible to purchase bigger tables. We can manufacture round tables that are up to 6ft in diameter, and rectangular tables that are up to 6ft in length. These do, however, tend to be folding tables that are predominantly used in catering environments. Contact us if you’d like to discuss custom sized tables.

Table and seating layout

Aside from figuring out the number of tables and chairs that you can fit into your restaurant, you should also give some thought to layout.

Positioning your tables and chairs in the right way can help you make the most efficient use of the available space. 

For example, if you predominantly cater to couples, then buying 600mm diameter tables and positioning them at 45º angles can help fit the most possible covers into your restaurant, without making things uncomfortable for either your patrons or your staff.

Origin Contour Indoor Outdoor Armchair

Origin Contour Indoor/Outdoor Armchair

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Restaurant furniture comfort

You want your patrons to be as comfortable as possible, right? Well, yes. You certainly want your patrons to be able to enjoy their food and drink in a comfortable and pleasant environment.

However, it’s important to think about the comfort of your restaurant furniture in the context of your particular type of restaurant

If you run a high-end restaurant, then you’ll probably expect patrons to spend at least two hours in your establishment. As such, you’ll want to buy restaurant chairs that are plushly upholstered and/or ergonomically designed. At Rosehill we have high-end restaurant dining sets that provide a continuity of design across both tables and chairs.

Conversely, if you run a restaurant which is faster-paced and depends on a higher turnover of patrons, then you won’t want customers sitting at a table for longer than 45 minutes to an hour (this is especially important when you have limited space). 

For that kind of setting, you’ll want to select slightly stiffer wooden or plastic restaurant chairs. They’ll be comfortable, but not so comfortable that you patrons decide to spend the entire afternoon sitting in your restaurant.

Restaurant furniture mobility and stackability

Restaurant furniture tends to get moved much more than furniture in other settings. It’s important that you take this into consideration when selecting furniture for your restaurant.

Many restaurants stack their chairs upside down on tables at the end of the day. This is done for the purpose of making cleaning the floor easier. If you do this in your restaurant then you’ll want to select furniture which is lightweight whilst also being able to withstand the knocks and bangs they come with regularly being moved around. 

You should also think about whether or not you want armrests on your chairs – depending on the type of chair, armrests can prevent you from stacking them upside down on tables.

Depending on your type of restaurant, then you may also want to think about investing in stackable furniture. It’s possible to buy metal, wood and plastic stacking chairs which will all help you save space in your restaurant when you need to.

It’s important to note that some chairs can be stacked higher than others. Some chairs can also be used with trolleys so they can be more easily moved when stacked. Be sure to check product descriptions of these details. 

Guide – for more information on stacking chairs, read our complete guide here.

Restaurant chair stretchers

The stretcher is the piece of metal or wood which joins the legs of a chair. They are used to stiffen the whole structure of a chair. Not all chairs have them, or require them, but they can be a useful feature.

For example, on taller counter and bar stools, the stretchers can also act as foot rests (provided they are located at the correct height).

If you think this would be a useful feature for chairs in your restaurant, then pay close attention to the type and location of the stretcher on your chosen chairs.

Remy High Stool with Chrome Frame

Remy High Stool with Chrome Frame

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Restaurant chair heights

When selecting chairs for your restaurant you should remember that there are three basic heights for restaurant/bar chairs. These are:

  • Dining chair height – 45cm (18 inches).
  • Counter chair height – 61cm (24 inches).
  • Bar stool height – 76cm (30 inches).

You will see other heights available, but the ones above are the most common for restaurant usage.

Naturally, you should ensure that any tables you purchase fit the sizes of your chairs, so that your customers can have a pleasant and comfortable dining experience.

Restaurant table heights

As with chairs, there are a variety of different table heights to pick from for your restaurant. These different sizes are:

  • Dining table – 76cm (30 inches).
  • Counter table height – 91.5cm (36 inches).
  • Poseur table height – 101cm (40 inches).

Note that these sizes are only guides and can vary slightly from manufacturer to manufacturer. It’s always worth checking the heights of both your tables and chairs to ensure there will be sufficient room between them to offer your customers a comfortable seating position.

Note – Rosehill can also manufacture chairs and stools of a bespoke height and dimensions for your restaurant or bar. Contact us to find out more.

Restaurant furniture maintenance and care

By the very nature of the environment in which they are used, pieces of restaurant furniture are bound to get dirty. Whether it’s from food and drink spills, or just accumulated dirt from repeated use, you’ll want to be able to keep your restaurant furniture clean. 

If you run a casual restaurant that has a high-turnover of customers throughout the day, then you should choose materials such as metal, plastic and melamine-faced chipboard (MFC) which can be easily and repeatedly wiped down throughout the day.

Bear in mind that it’s your staff who will be cleaning the restaurant furniture. They’ll need to be trained in how to properly care for the furniture – so you don’t want furniture which requires a lot of detailed cleaning and care.

However, if you’re running a very high-end restaurant, then investing in furniture that requires more detailed cleaning and maintenance may be worth it.

Restaurant furniture versatility

Do you allow guests to dine and drink outside as well as inside? Then it may pay to invest in restaurant furniture which can be used in both scenarios.

If you want to buy restaurant furniture which can be used both indoors and outdoors, then look for pieces which are explicitly labeled as weather resistant. 

Weather resistant restaurant furniture will normally feature a metal, plastic or metal and plastic construction and will have features such as corrosion resistance, UV resistance and a simple to clean design.

Denver Bar Stool

Denver Bar Stool

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Selecting the right restaurant furniture materials

Once you’ve considered the points above, it’s time to think about what material you’ll choose for your furniture.

Below we’ve set out some of the advantages and disadvantages associated with each common furniture material. 

Wood restaurant furniture

Wood is widely used to manufacture restaurant furniture. That’s because it is robust, has a long service life, ages well and has a warm, comfortable visual quality. Provided wood chairs and tables are suitably finished, they are also easy to clean.

On the other hand, wood restaurant furniture tends to be quite heavy and (unless you buy specific models) isn’t especially stackable. 

Wood furniture is also more expensive than other alternatives such as metal or plastic, but many restaurant owners consider this worthwhile given the visual appeal of wood furniture. 

Metal restaurant furniture

Metal is not only long-lasting and robust, but adds a clinical, industrial aesthetic which is popular among many restaurants with contemporary interior decor styles. Chairs and tables with metal frames are usually easily stacked and will be lighter than wood equivalents. Metal restaurant furniture is also easy to clean.

Metal does however, feel cold to the touch, and does not visually ‘fit in’ to all restaurants.

Plastic restaurant furniture

High-quality plastic chairs and tables offer excellent strength and durability, and thanks to the characteristics of plastic are unlikely to stain. Keeping plastic restaurant furniture clean is also a breeze.

Modern Polypropylene is highly versatile and can be formed into a wide variety of shapes, finishes and colours. However, plastic isn’t for every restaurant. Depending on your individual restaurant’s decor, you may wish to choose an alternative furniture material such as wood or metal. 

Verge tables

Verge Tables

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How to buy the right table tops for your restaurant tables

Aside from the materials used to construct the main frames of your restaurant furniture, one of the most important things to consider is the table top. 

Think about it; if there’s a surface in a restaurant that’s going to have to withstand a massive amount of wear and tear, it’s the table top. 

Table tops have to withstand spills, stains, items of cutlery and tableware being dropped on them and more. So, if you want to buy tables for your restaurant that will last, pay special attention to the material that’s used to construct the table top.

Laminate table tops

The most common table top surface in use across restaurants, cafes and bars is laminate.

When we talk about laminate table tops here at Rosehill, we are generally referring to two different types of laminate:

  • Standard laminate.
  • MFC laminate.

The two types are nearly identical, but there are some small, distinct differences between them which we’ve outlined below.

Standard laminate

Standard laminate table tops use a sheet of very thin laminate (1mm to 1.5mm) on top of a MDF, chipboard or plywood table top core (which is usually around 25mm thick).

Thanks to their manufacturing process, standard laminate table tops are hard wearing, scratch resistant, and heat resistant (up to 180ºF). Thanks to these properties, standard laminate table tops are easy to clean, will withstand a wide variety of cleaning products, and will bear up to repeated, continuous cleaning throughout the day.

Melamine-faced chipboard (MFC)

The other type of laminate table top you’ll see in common use in restaurants is MFC. MFC table tops use a thin layer of melamine to ‘seal’ the surface. 

The use of melamine to laminate the table top means that it won’t stain, is able to repel water and other stains and can be easily and repeatedly wiped down with cleaning products without sustaining any damage.

MFC table tops are also heat-resistant, smoulder-resistant, and UV-light resistant.

Note – in practical terms, there isn’t much difference between standard laminate and MFC laminated table tops. The two terms are used interchangeably. But, for the sake of completeness and transparency, we wanted to provide you with this additional level of detail.

Solid-Grade Laminate

One type of laminate that really is very different and distinct from standard and MFC laminate is solid-grade laminate (SGL).

Solid-grade laminate is extremely strong and is manufactured by layering layers of high-quality kraft paper together combined with thermosetting phenolic resins, which are then pressed together under intense heat and pressure.

This process creates a laminate which is extremely strong, water-resistant, and scratch-resistant. This means that solid-grade laminate table tops are suitable for use both indoors and outdoors.

Solid-grade laminate table tops usually feature a 10mm core, making them thinner than other types of laminate table tops. 

Solid-grade laminate table tops are also available in a wide range of different colours and styles and can be easily made to mimic finishes such as wood or marble.

Solid hardwood table tops

Traditionally, restaurant tables would feature a hardwood table top. Solid wooden table tops in walnut, oak, mahogany, and cherry were common up until the introduction of modern alternatives such as MFC during the mid-twentieth century. 

Whilst solid wood table tops look fantastic, and fit in well in high-end restaurants, and are unique thanks to their natural grain, they do have a number of drawbacks.

Firstly, solid hardwood table tops tend to be far more expensive than alternatives. Yes, they look fantastic, but be prepared to pay for the privilege.

Secondly, hardwood table tops – whilst being tough – are not immune from denting and cracking should customers drop knives or other items on them. 

Finally, although hardwood table tops can be easily wiped down, you do have to be careful what cleaning agents you use. Industrial cleaning agents can discolour hardwood table tops and affect the woodstain.

Granite table tops

Suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, granite table tops are another popular choice for restaurant owners. 

Whilst granite table tops are available in a variety of different colours and have a quality look and feel, they do tend to be very heavy and make moving tables around difficult.

Tables and chairs for UK restaurants

If you’ve made it this far, then you may have decided the time is right to invest in new tables and chairs for your restaurant. 

If that’s the case, then explore Rosehill’s range of quality restaurant chairs and tables. We’ve highlighted some of our most popular items below:

Rosehill Stacking Dining Chair

Rosehill Stacking Dining Chair

Rosehill Stacking Dining Chair

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Ideal for bars and restaurants alike, the Rosehill Stacking Dining Chair is a plush, comfortable, fully-upholstered chair which is available in a variety of soft fabrics or wipe-clean faux leather.

The Rosehill Stacking Dining Chair is manufactured with a strong wooden frame, which provides a deeply luxurious look, with the strength and durability that means it’ll provide you with years of reliable service.

Should you want to provide your customers with an even higher level of comfort, you can upgrade the Rosehill Stacking Dining Chair to include arm rests (the chair can be stacked in either configuration).

Barbara Dining Chair & Armchair

Barbara Dining Chair and Armchair

Barbara Dining Chair and Armchair

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If you’re looking for contemporary-looking chairs for your restaurant, then look no further than the bold and distinctly-styled Barbara Dining Chair. 

Designed and manufactured in Italy by New Life, the Barbara Dining Chair is fully upholstered with ‘webbed’ seats which provide the ultimate in comfort for your patrons. The armchair version (which is pictured above), features a shaped surround back which provides added comfort and luxury.

The Barbara can also be customised to fit your restaurant’s decor, with an extensive choice of fire retardant fabrics and faux leathers available.

Rosehill Rectangular Pedestal Table

Rosehill Rectangular Pedestal Table

Rosehill Rectangular Pedestal Table

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Ideal for creating a stylish and modern dining environment, Rosehill’s Rectangular Pedestal Table is supported via an elegant single column which sits atop a solid base. 

The tabletop is 25mm thick MFC, with the MFC being contract-grade, meaning it’s easy to clean and will withstand wear and tear for extended periods of time.

The Rosehill Rectangular Pedestal Table is of standard dining table height and is available in a variety of table top dimensions including 1000mm x 600mm and 1200mm x 800mm.

Como Dining & Poseur Tables

Como Rectangular Dining Table

Como Rectangular Dining Table

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When you really want your restaurant furniture to be eye-catching and to play a big role in your restaurant’s overall decor, then you’ll want pieces such as the Como Dining Table.

The Como is available with a 25mm thick table top in either grey oak or white, whilst the legs are tapered wood in a natural oak finish. What’s more, the Como features a foot ring, which not only adds strength and rigidity to the table, but can also be used as a footrest.

The Como is available in two different heights – standard dining table height, or a taller ‘poseur’ height (for eating and drinking whilst standing up). Poseur tables are ‘extra tall’ tables which are generally around 110cm (43 inches) high.

Get the recipe for restaurant furniture success with Rosehill

If you’re looking for the best possible restaurant furniture at the best possible price, then speak to Rosehill today. We stock a huge range of different pieces, ranging from affordable, yet functional chairs and tables, through to high-end plushly furnished dining furniture sets. 

We hope this buying guide has helped you understand everything you need to know about buying restaurant furniture, however if you still have any further questions or require any assistance, please contact our expert and friendly customer services team who will be happy to help. You can reach us by email at sales@rosehill.co.uk or by calling 0161 485 1717.

Shop hospitality and dining furniture at Rosehill today

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