Risks of Purchasing Your Own Restaurant Furniture

As a kid, did you fight over where you were going to sit in the cafeteria? And now, do you often rearrange your dining room furniture and spends hours looking for sturdy chairs that can handle the wear and tear your tribe is about to put on them? They still need to look good too, right? You’re not alone.

For those in the restaurant industry, they’re still fighting over finding the best seat in the house and for a good reason. Restauranteurs put a lot of time and effort into laying out their restaurant design; it’s one of the most critical decisions they can make. And, without furniture, there is no layout which brings us to our primary focus – the furniture. Are the seats comfortable enough for two bottles of wine or just one? Will those bar stools scratch the tile floor? These are just two questions you should be asking yourself before purchasing.

Design aesthetics are just as important as durability and functionality.

If you’re new to the industry, we highly recommend you consult with someone who has experience in restaurant design, or at the very least, someone who has a depth of restaurant experience. There is no one “right” way to set up, nor is there a formula for ordering furniture for a restaurant, but there are several questions one can ask to make sure you don’t waste your time or money.

To help, here is what we look for and what we ask each time we work with a new client.

Who is your audience and what is the restaurant’s vibe?

You first need to know who you’ll be serving and how they’ll perceive the restaurant and restaurant decor. If you’re serving whiskey and steaks putting off a masculine vibe, leather chairs, rustic barstools with industrial tables tops might be more suitable. If your food is geared towards families, what size table works well for families? Are they round or oblong? Do they need additional support for climbing toddlers? Same goes for the types of chairs.

Know the floor layout. We’re on the lookout for the odd-shaped window just off the service station, a column in the middle of the main dining room or how far the door swings out from the kitchen. If you purchase a booth without taking into consideration these easily-forgettable and unnoticeable obstructions, your floor plan will be completely thrown off.

Who are you buying from? A wholesaler or the company. Numerous times we’ve seen businesses not get their delivery on time or in one piece, items can’t be returned or exchanged, and money the money is never returned. More than likely you’re dealing with a driver versus someone who works at the company. Establishing a relationship with an industry veteran and having a single source for communication will save you time, money and your sanity.

Furniture style, shape, and durability are key factors.

Once you’ve figured out your vibe, understand how the restaurant will flow, established a reputable furniture source, it’s time for them to help you find a stylish, quality product that is durable. Your furniture is an investment so avoid non-commercial furniture.

During the buying process, walk around your establishment and ask yourself the following questions:

Will the feet on that barstool scratch the tile or the hardwoods? Should the community table be square or oval and how much support is needed underneath? If someone stands on that booth, will their shoe go through it?

How easily can this item be replaced and what is the turnaround time for this furniture?

If a handle breaks or the vinyl rips are those items in stock?

How much “attic stock” should I have in relation to the amount of traffic we plan to have?

Our goal at Leap Hospitality to help you create an experience for your clientele. Leap Contract is here to make your life easier and this one step of being a restaurant owner, less stressful. Because of our experience in the hospitality industry and having worked with more than 100 brands in a variety of settings, we know the right questions to ask.

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