I was in a small restaurant/takeaway over the weekend which I had not been to for a while. I was really excited as its somewhere I used to visit often due to the fantastic food, but as i walked in, i was astound at the selection in restaurant seating. It had completely changed the environment unfortunately. I’ve seen this happen to a few restaurants / cafes in the past, so i want to share some common mistakes and how to avoid them so that you don’t make these common mistakes.
Don’t fill your venue with one type of seating
So without giving names away in my intro, the restaurant i went to unfortunately was using the same type of seating throughout the whole venue. They were using high fixed booth seating (or banquette seating) everywhere which made it feel like you were in a bit of a maze; you could not see past your own table, either side you looked. It made it feel very strange and it killed the atmosphere. This causes several problems:
- Diners will struggle to make eye contact with waiting staff
- The atmosphere is constrained within private booth areas
- Waiting staff will struggle on keeping an eye on diners
The solution here is to keep the middle space open. Booth seating is fantastic when used correctly and its best placed on the perimeter of seating areas. Its good to give diners a personal area, but keep it on the outskirts. In the middle area, go for open tables which are not fixed – this will give you plenty of flexibility to seat parties of different sizes.
Venues with food and drink, don’t use velvet or suede
It might seem obvious but I have seen suede and velvet used in clubs, bars and even restaurants. It’s a beautiful material and oozes luxury but unfortunately it doesn’t handle food and drink well. You can buy plenty of protecting sprays / applications but they don’t last forever. The problem here then is that if the protector is not applied, a simple spill will ruin the fabric.
Consider instead faux leather. To the eye it looks great and still oozes luxury but the beauty with faux leather is that it its available in a wide range of colours so matching is not a problem, and also if there are any spillages, the wipe with ease.
Don’t place open tables close to the front door
Many of us can remember a time when we have been seating at a restaurant and when the front door opens, you feel a cold draft and so get asked to move. There are a few things you can do to help make these seats a little less redundant:
- If possible, build a 2 door entrance; one door opens to another one with a small porch in between – this will stop the draft from the outside door opening
- As its on the perimeter, use booth seating near the door to block out any draft
Fix wobbly tables – Its the number 1 complaint against restaurants
Customers notice wobbly tables as soon as they sit at their table. Their immediate reaction is to fold a napkin an place it under one of the legs, or they simply ask to be move. None of these solutions are ideal and are temporary at best. Thankfully there is a permanent solution available to fix this; use FLAT technologies which is a self levelling table base. It will self align and will never give a wobble. The technology is built within each table foot, so if one becomes unbalance, the other feet will counter react, this still giving a flat able top. You can see this in action here.
At Spiro Designs, with 40 years of experience in the furniture market, we want to share our knowledge and help as many customers as possible to make the best possible environment for their venue.
If you have come across common mistakes, do let us know in the comments below.
Thanks for reading