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Stabilizing Design with a Turnbuckle Table

The rustic industrial design trend has been a favorite of restaurateurs for a while now but our Turnbuckle Table is here to shake up your décor, no matter the theme.

So what is it about this table that makes customers stop and stare when they enter your dining room? Meet the turnbuckle, a mechanism that can expand and contract table legs.

Turnbuckle

Traditionally, turnbuckles were used to sturdy the legs of old workbenches and is made up of two threaded eyebolts. One of these screws into each end of a small metal frame the other separates into a left-hand thread and right-hand thread. Turnbuckles are used to adjust the tension between cables or ropes. This tension is altered by rotating the frame, simultaneously screwing the eyebolts in and out, without twisting the eyebolts or attached cables.

Other uses for turnbuckle engineering include construction, aircraft, shipping, sports, entertainment industry, pipe systems, and now, restaurant furniture design.

Turnbuckle tables are especially popular in restaurants that have a very homey feel to provide contrast. Reminiscent of the workbench look, the combination of metal accents and vintage wood come together for an industrial feel in breweries, farmhouse-style restaurants, and coffee shops.Turnbuckle Table

This turnbuckle table is made of reclaimed oak wood salvaged from vintage barns. Each table top is fully sanded and sealed with a heavy sealer to preserve the rustic elements that come with weathered wood. A steel turnbuckle connects the hand hewn, wood beam legs that is functional as well as aesthetic. Make this table all your own by choosing one of our three finishes: Natural Reclaimed, Antique Black, and Whitewash. Custom edging and additional premium finish options are also available.

What is the Weight Limit for Restaurant Chairs?  FAQ’s from the Files of East Coast Chair & Barstool

When looking at purchasing restaurant chairs, weight limit might not be the first qualification that comes to your mind but that doesn’t mean it isn’t important. Your customers will also appreciate your research as they will be the ones using the chairs.

Technically, commercial furniture manufacturers can advertise whatever weight limit they want.  As a consumer, you have to be careful not to be taken in by large weight limits that don’t really mean what you think.  For example, there are chairs on the market that have a weight limit of 1,000 pounds, but they are tested using “static” weight, which means a load that is placed onto the chair and does not move.  Think of gently placing 100 pound bags of concrete on the chair one by one until the chair fails.  If the chair fails after 100-pound then the manufacturer can say that the chair is weight rated up to 1000 pounds.

In a real life, weight is not static.  When is the last time that you saw a customer gently sit on a chair and not move?  It just doesn’t happen.  Customers adjust, reposition, rock back on the legs of the chair, and worse; in other words, their weight is constantly moving or dynamic.  A chair that will support a 1,000 pound static load will only support a much lower dynamic load: probably even less than half as much.

So, what is the weight limit of most commercial furniture?  The short and sweet answer to this question is that the industry standard for most commercial chairs is 250 pounds. That doesn’t mean that is the highest weight that they can support, but it is what they are tested for.

One standardized way of testing a commercial chair is to get it tested by the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer’s Association, known as BIFMA.  BIFMA creates the industry standards for commercial furniture.  They offer a series of standard tests to rate the weight of a chair. Most BIFMA tests are designed to measure dynamic weight.  For example, the seating impact test consists of dropping a 125 pound weight onto the seat from a height of 2 inches for 100,000 cycles.  The chair must maintain its integrity and serviceability throughout the test in order to pass.

The series of BIFMA tests are meant to mimic a weight load of around 250 pounds, which is why that has become the industry standard. Most manufacturer’s choose to go with the 250 pound weight limit whether they have actually had their chairs tested according to BIFMA standards or not.  Chairs that have been BIFMA tested could have the potential to hold more than the 250 pounds; BIFMA explains this further in their memo on chair weight limits and load ratings. They actually recommend not purchasing strictly based upon load-rating claims as they are not indicative of the life or strength of the chair.

You likely have patrons of all shapes and sizes, so it is important to find chairs that can support them.  Next time you’re in the market for restaurant chairs, you’ll now know what the weight rating is, and how manufacturers arrive at that number.

Keeping It Local at the Pennsylvania Foodservice Expo

Pittsburgh Foodservice Trade Show 2017

East Coast Chair & Barstool is proud to announce we will be exhibiting at the Pennsylvania Foodservice Expo, right in our backyard of Pittsburgh, PA! The first-ever Pennsylvania Foodservice Expo will be hosted in the David L. Lawrence Convention Center where we willjoin over 175 exhibitors featuring everything from food to uniforms to equipment. The show will open to professionals in the hospitality industry on Monday October 23rd from 10am to 5pm and Tuesday October 24th from 10am to 4pm.

A multitude of exciting new food industry information awaits you, including 20 different seminars to keep you and your staff updated on the latest trends, opportunities, and challenges in the restaurant industry.

We are exciting to be exhibiting in a place so close to home from our Mercer warehouse. From our luxury 925 bucket bar stool to our unique turnbuckle tables, we will be exhibiting all of the furniture you need to complete your restaurant. Attendees will also have the chance to see our newest line of Distressed Indoor/Outdoor Viktor chairs and bar stools in all six different colors.   Since we are so close, be sure to stop by our permanent showroom in Mercer, only about an hour north of the show.

Be sure to register for the inaugural Pennsylvania Foodservice Expo and come to booth #1605 to check us out in person!

Distressed Viktor Collection: Add a Pop of Color to Your Restaurant

One of our most popular collections is our Viktor collection. With its trendy design and durability, it has been a customer favorite for several years now. We are pleased to announce that we are bringing even more color options to the collection.

You can now purchase distressed Viktors in black, sky blue, Kelly blue, Kelly red, orange, and white. Each chair and bar stool has been artistically worn to give the look of a vintage piece of furniture. Paired with any of our solid wood table tops, the distressed Viktors can make your restaurant or bar stand out amongst others with a similar industrial theme.

Amazingly, the distressed collection can also be used both indoors and out. By using a powder coat that can withstand the demands of a commercial environment, restaurants are now able to add a pop of color to not only their indoor area but their outdoor ones as well.

Made of 16-gauge steel, and using full sigma welds, the distressed Viktor collection is durable enough for commercial use both indoors and out. It also comes complete with non-marring rubber glides to protect your restaurant’s floor against scrapes and scratches. The distressed Viktor collection is a great example of furniture being constructed design and functionality needs.

All of our Viktors offer customized seating options. If you want to take it a step beyond the metal seat, simply select a vinyl seat, an urban distressed wood seat, or a reclaimed wood seat, for an additional charge at checkout.*

To bring one of our distressed Viktor pieces to your restaurant you can find them on our Distressed Viktor Collection page or call one of our Customer Care team at 800-986-5352.

 

*Please note that that using the distressed Viktor collection with custom vinyl or wood seats outdoors will void the warranty.

Tipping: A Thing of the Past or a Continued Tradition

Tipping to express your gratitude for good service from a restaurant’s wait staff has been a long-standing tradition in the United States. So, whenever you receive your bill at a restaurant and you find the gratuity line nowhere to be found, it can be a bit out of the ordinary. But, in some restaurants, this has become the norm.

Some restaurants have taken it upon themselves to ensure their front of house workers and kitchen staff are receiving equitable wages by instituting no-tipping policies and raising their prices by 15-20% instead.  They claim that these higher prices enable them to pay all of their employees a higher wage. Advocates for the no-tipping movement also insist that not giving customers the chance to tip poorly can give the service industry a more professional appearance and shrink the income gap between the wait staff and cooks.

Americans have become accustomed to rewarding wait staff with a tip but in other areas of the world, the service industry is handled differently. For example, many restaurants in France operate service compris, or “service is included”. With this model, prices have absorbed the cost of service. If you receive extraordinary service, leaving an additional 1 to 2 percent tip can be appreciated. In contrast, if you are at a restaurant in Japan, tipping is not a typical part of the culture. Leaving a tip can be seen as rude and will often be refused by the staff.

Originally, tipping came about “to insure promptitude” in the service industry. Mid-19th century Americans began using tips as a show of wealth and knowledge of European gentility rules, and by the 1900’s, tipping was a common practice.

But isn’t that what minimum wage is for? Not exactly. The only employers required to pay tipped employees the full state minimum wage before tips are in Alaska, California, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. The other 43 states require employers to pay tipped employees a minimum cash wage at or above $2.13. In other words, if your wages are set at $2.13, a regular 8-hour shift will earn you $17.04 pre-taxes. Even with their subjective nature, tips can help those in the service industry have a livable wage. For more information on your state’s tipping law, please refer to the standards set by the United States Department of Labor.

No-tipping policies have been a hard change for both customers and servers to get used to. Tipping has become so ingrained in the American dining experience and can keep restaurant prices low. But because tipping is very subjective, it’s easy to see that it may not always be a fair practice. While some customers may over tip their server, others may have a mission to only tip 10 percent anywhere they go, regardless of actual service quality. It’s not easy getting customers to relinquish their control over how much their server is rewarded, especially in a post-recession world. So instead of trying to change a single way of thinking, restauranteurs have the challenge of altering two ideologies.

In late 2015, Joe’s Crab Shack became the first casual-dining chain to try using a no-tipping policy in 18 of its nationwide restaurants. After the first six months of implementation, there were only four that continued to use the policy. To make up for the difference, the restaurant raised wages by increasing menu pricing. As a result, Joe’s Crab Shack saw less customer traffic and a large turnover in staff who couldn’t/wouldn’t conform with the wage change. At least in chain establishments, gratuity-included dining hasn’t quite caught on.

While Joe’s Crab Shack customers didn’t take to the no-tipping policy, there are numerous restaurants in San Francisco, Pittsburgh, New York City, and more that are getting along just fine with the added policy.   Most of them are operated by “celebrity” chefs that have pricing power that the rest of the market doesn’t enjoy.

What’s your view on implementing a no-tipping policy? Tell us in the comments below.

 

 

How Do You Attach a Table Base and a Table Top? FAQ’s from the files of East Coast Chair & Barstool

A column attached to an X-style base.

It’s time. You have received all your furniture, unwrapped it all, and made sure that you have everything that you need. Now it is time to tackle the assembly. One of the most daunting tasks can be assembling table tops and table bases. Don’t worry, attaching a table base and a table top is easier than you might think.

The first step, whether you are assembling an indoor or an outdoor table base, is to take the bottom of the base and attach it to the column. To do this, simply place the column on top of the center of the base and screw the bolt in until it is completely tightened. Next, turn your table top upside down on a flat surface. If you have a single base you will then center the spider. The spider is the smaller, usually square, flat part of the base. Once you have the spider centered onto the table, begin screwing in your eight screws until the top is secure. Each base comes with eight screws per spider. To install this you will need a Philips head screw driver or drill bit.

Purchasing a larger table top might require the use of multiple bases or a double base. You will repeat the process but instead of centering the spider, the bases need to be between 6 to 12 inches from the edge of the table top. This process works for table tops on both table height and bar height bases.

A table top placed on the floor with a base centered over the table top ready to be securely screwed in.

If you are assembling an outdoor table top and base, there are a few adjustments you’ll need to make. First off, most spiders for outdoor tops are an x-shape.(insert picture) Once the column is assembled, place the spider onto a table top that has been turned upside down on a flat surface. With our New England collection, the table is attached using an Alan wrench is provided in your shipment.

The table might have pre-drilled holes that your base lines up with and that you can use to attach the base. Some bases may not line up with the holes depending on your top and base combo. If this is the case, you will have been provided self-tapping screws to allow you to create your own holes. Make sure the base and table top are completely secure before use.

These instructions are based upon the furniture produced by East Coast Chair & Barstool. If you have purchased your commercial furniture elsewhere instructions may vary.

If you are still experiencing issues with attaching your bases and table tops purchased from East Coast Chair & Barstool please contact our service department at 800-986-5352 for help.

Not Your Mother’s Food Court

Food Halls Taking Over!

‘Fall’, ‘collapse’, ‘failing’, and even, ‘dying’. These are just a few of the words that have littered headlines the past year, describing the closure of America’s malls and vacant retail spaces. But with the death of brick and mortar stores, one section of retail has thrived—food.

Food has become more than just daily sustenance; people want to experience their food in exciting ways. In 2008, food trucks were all the rage, a trend that is still visible today. Almost ten years later, food halls are taking over the US, one city at a time.

Thanks to the perfect storm of the Food Network, millennials, and “foodie” culture, the food hall trend has skyrocketed in the US market. Per Cushman & Wakefield, the number of existing food hall projects increased 37.1% in the first nine months of 2016. This trend has left its mark on cities like New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles and is moving its way into Austin, Washington D.C., Miami, and Charleston in 2017.

But what is the difference between the food courts of yore and these newfangled food halls? Why quality, of course. In food halls, you won’t find the stereotypical hot dogs that have been turning on rollers for the past week or slushies with Red Dye 40 like you would a traditional food court. Instead, you will find artisanal enchiladas and hand-rolled chicken dishes.

With a new mission and business model, food halls can escape the confines of a mall food court, bring quality food to surrounding communities, and offer a restaurant incubator-like setting for new chefs.

Here’s Why Food Halls Are Taking Over:

Space Revival

Food halls can be a range of sizes, making blueprints malleable and transitional for just about any location. Not all halls have the sheer size of Chelsea Market (clocking in at 165,000 square feet) or Eataly (not looking too shabby with 50,000 square feet), others can hold their own with smaller spaces like the Smallman Galley (with 6,000 square feet) or the Pennsy (at 8,000 square feet).

Because they can fit a variety of spaces, food halls can be located anywhere that a space is open. For example, empty mall anchor stores can be a good foundation for larger food halls, while the ground floor of office buildings can provide adequate space for smaller models. If there is an available space, food halls can fill and occupy it, giving new purpose.

The ability of food halls to morph into any shape or size free space allows them to focus on the root of their business: providing quality food to the community.

Eataly

Community

Interestingly enough, food halls are not a new concept. It’s no surprise in the United States that this trend first started to take hold in the cultural mecca of New York City. According to Cushman & Wakefield, a real estate powerhouse, New York City accounts for more than 25.4% of all United States food hall projects.

With a flexible location, food halls bring together different palettes, diets, and preferences, all under one roof. Because of the vast offerings in a single space, it creates opportunities for the surrounding community to gather. In the U.S., food halls have gravitated toward cities, because they give office workers a haven to snag lunch, coffee, and a break from their cubicle. If they offer seating, food halls will often use communal tables because the dining space is like no-man’s land. Whether you’re a fan of communal dining or not, this type of seating arrangement leaves the decision up to the patrons whether they want to mingle or stay in their proverbial bubble.

Food Hall Spread

Operator-Friendly

New businesses can drive traffic to neighborhoods and often increase profits of other businesses in the area as well.  The business model of a food hall is no different. These food halls present a lower risk option for both developer and hopeful restaurateur, with quick customer turnover and fewer startup costs. While building owners have the ability to charge a higher rent rate (taking popularity into consideration as well), that rate is still less than the cost of an entire restaurant for a chef just starting out. Instead of a sole tenant being responsible for the cost, utilities are often split, lessening what a typical restaurant would pay. Food halls serve as a restaurant incubator for up-and-coming chefs that maybe aren’t quite ready to break out all on their own.

Spices

While the quality of food halls is much different than that of a food court, the concept is similar. The beauty of food halls is that they aren’t restaurants; change is a part of the norm. These are places where food-lovers of all kinds can gather together and enjoy new fares daily. The cyclical fashion of always bringing in new talent, food, and customers is exciting for the restaurant industry, even when other sectors of retail seem to be flopping.

With this trend still sweeping the nation, the list of cities with food halls continues to grow, check out this list to see if one is headed toward you!

Need help outfitting your food hall? Call our customer care representatives at 1-800-986-5352 for the latest trends in commercial furniture and what would work best in your establishment.

What is a Bar Stool Swivel and Why Do We Need Them? FAQ’s from the files of East Coast Chair & Barstool

What are bar stool swivels? FAQ's from the files of East Coast Chair & Barstool

Have you ever wondered how that swivel in your Lazy Susan works?  Did you know that it’s the same mechanism that makes your bar stool swivel around when you’re saddled up to the bar?  Or, how about the swivels that turn your washing machine or the wheels on your car?  Does your kid have a fidget spinner?  Guess what?  That’s a swivel too.  Swivels are just couplings that allow two parts to rotate around one another, but they are everywhere you look.

But why does a bar stool need to swivel?  After all, all your customers have to do is sit on it and enjoy their microbrews right?  Well, it turns out that swivels on bar stools come in handy for a number of reasons.  First, they make it easier to get on and off of the bar stool without having to back away from the bar, which can wear out your glides and scratch your floors.  Second, imagine that you have a great band playing on a Friday night and the joint is packed.  If you don’t have swivel bar stools, then every customer at the bar who wants to watch the band has to pick up their chair and turn it around; this leads to blocked aisles, potential injuries, and an increased workload for staff members that have to move the bar stools back into place.  It also makes it difficult to order more drinks from the bartender, which can hurt your bottom line.

Now that you know why swivels on bar stools are great, let’s take a look at the two different types of swivels that come in bar stools.

Ball Bearing Bar Stool Swivels

The first, and most common, type of swivel is called a ball bearing swivel.  Ball bearing swivels are metal plates with metal balls running in channels between the plates.  One plate rotates on top of the other, and the metal balls reduce friction.

Ball bearing swivels have been around for ages and they are used in just about every rotary application that you can think of.  They are economical, reliable, and easy to find.  The main problem with ball bearing swivels in bar stools is inconsistent weight distribution.  Consider the customer who always sits on the end of the bar stool; his/her weight is distributed toward the front of the stool.  Over time, the plates that hold the metal ball bearings become loose, and the balls start to spill out of the back.  If you’ve ever wondered where those little metal balls on your floor are coming from, they’re from your bar stool.  In general, ball bearing swivels last between 60,000 and 100,000 rotations; much less than the second type of swivels that we’re going to discuss.

Nylon Race Bar Stool Swivels

Nylon race (and other polymer) swivels are specifically designed for furniture use.  Instead of ball bearings, nylon race swivels are made from two nylon disks that fit together so that they turn around each other.  The nylon plates do create more friction than ball bearing swivels, but the durability of the smooth nylon is unaffected.  In fact, nylon race swivels have been tested up to 1 million rotations without noticeable losses in serviceability; that’s a lot of turns on a bar stool.

Most commercial swivel bar stools, including the ones that we sell at East Coast Chair & Barstool,  come standard with ball bearing swivels.  Nylon race swivels are considered an upgrade, and are available for an additional fee.  If your barstools get a lot of use, it might be worth the additional charge to upgrade to a American-made nylon race swivel due to the increased durability and longevity.  Nylon swivels also come with a 10 year warranty, whereas ball bearing swivels typically come with no warranty.

Secure Your Kitchen: A Guide to Increasing Safety in Your Commercial Kitchen

Commercial kitchens are notorious for the hustle and bustle that happens behind the doors; while the customers might see the relaxed atmosphere of the dining room, the kitchen is anything but. That being said, it is also one of the most dangerous rooms in your restaurant. With a few easy steps, you can help ensure the safety of your employees and patrons, and protect against financial losses.

Fire Safety

The biggest hazard to a commercial kitchen is a fire. Nearly 8,000 eating and drinking establishments report a fire each year, according to 2006-2010 data tabulated by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Fire causes over $246 million in restaurant property damage each year and can devastate a restaurant, leading to lost revenues and even permanent closure.

A great way to combat a fire is by installing an effective kitchen fire suppression system. Look for a  system from a company that provides trained technicians to install the system, provide routine inspections, and service the equipment. Current U.S. codes require a UL3000 hood extinguishing system along with a k-rated fire extinguisher.

Be proactive about fire safety by maintaining and inspecting your fire alarm system. Try to create a schedule to inspect the alarms on a regular basis. Check to make sure that the batteries are still in working order. The alarm will let you know when the batteries are getting low by beeping periodically even when there is no smoke. Experts recommend checking your fire alarms every six

months. While checking don’t forget to check the batteries for corrosion, which can also cause the alarm to malfunction.

 

In the event of a fire, ensure that all posted signs are easy to read and visible, not only for employees but patrons as well. Make sure to keep you evacuation routes clear. This is a safety measure, but if routes are blocked it can also be a code violation.

Ensure that all posted signs are easy to read and visible, not only for employees but patrons as well. You don’t want to see anyone harmed if something should happen.

Having properly functioning fire alarms can alert not only your employees and patrons, but also the fire department of any serious situations. Regular fire drills and well-displayed evacuation routes also help to ensure the safety of everyone. Practice the drills to help identify any area of confusion that should be remedied before an actual fire breaks out.

Equipment Safety

In addition to fire, improper equipment is a huge concern in a commercial kitchen. Deep fryers are not only a concern for fire safety but also for burns.  Hot oil is very dangerous and requires a 16-inch clearance to ensure that all staff members are safe. Keep in mind that child labor laws do not permit workers younger than 16 to cook or use a deep fryer. Always have team members wear steam gloves when changing or filtering the oil to protect against burns. Another aspect of fryer safety is keeping the floor near the fryer very clean; oil from the fryer can easily make its way to the floor and cause a fall leading to injury.

Keeping your kitchen as grease free as possible increases not only safety but productivity. Commercial kitchens are full of grease. Cleaning grease traps on a 6-month interval may be an industry standard, increasing the cleaning frequency based upon how quickly the grease accumulates helps cut back on the likelihood of blockages. According to the EPA, grease is the primary cause of sewer blockages that lead to overflows in the kitchen.

Knives are one of the most commonly used tools in a chef’s arsenal and present a constant danger in a commercial kitchen. Believe it or not, dull blades are more likely to slip and cause injuries, so keep you knives sharp. Utensils made of high carbon stainless steel hold their sharpness longer and might be a good investment so you aren’t spending lots of time sharpening blades. It is also important to avoid knives with wood handles as they are more likely to become oily and slip from the users grasp.

Training

One of the most helpful ways to improve your kitchen safety is to provide your staff with the appropriate training. Staff should always be trained on the proper way to use new equipment and the dangers that are associated with improper use.

In addition to new equipment training, consider sharing with your team a few other pieces of information to help keep your kitchen safe.

Train your staff to:

  • Properly use a fire extinguisher
  • Clean up grease
  • Never throw water on a grease fire
  • Store flammable liquids properly
  • Use chemical solutions correctly
  • Be able to power down equipment – Train at least one worker per shift on how to correctly shut off the gas and electrical power in case of an emergency.

Sometimes it is difficult to make your safety training engaging, yet quick, and easy to grasp. Colorful visuals, customized posters, and videos are all good tools to help teach your employees without causing them to zone out from boredom.

Nobody likes to micromanage employees and make them feel incompetent, but it is a good idea to supervise the handling of the equipment occasionally to make sure that it is being used safely.  You can give your employees all the tools they need but if they aren’t using them correctly it won’t improve the conditions of your kitchen.

Another benefit of revisiting your safety measures is that a safe and clean kitchen leads to higher employee morale and productivity,  not to mention the benefit of avoiding lost revenue due to down time from an accident or permanent closure. At the end of the day, the biggest benefit is still ensuring the safety of your staff and patrons. By checking for fire hazards, monitoring your equipment, and training your employees you can improve the safety of your kitchen, protecting your restaurant from disaster.

East Coast Chair & Barstool Returns to Florida

Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show

 

**** Please note that due to Hurricane Irma, the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show has been rescheduled for October 11-13 for the safety of attendees and exhibitors. Exhibitors will retain the same booth number, please stay safe and we hope to see you there! ***

East Coast Chair & Barstool is coming to the Sunshine State this September! We’re so excited to return to the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show (FLRS) this year at the Orange County Convention Center. And we’re back with an even bigger booth from last year, which means we’re bringing lots of new indoor and outdoor furniture collections to help your restaurant stand out.

The FRLS show runs September 10 through the 12th and is open to members of the restaurant and foodservice industries. With over 400 vendors, the FRLS show offers restaurant, bar, and hospitality professionals a chance to see industry trends up close and personal. In addition to interactive booths, attendees also can experience educational forums, culinary competitions, and demonstrations by celebrity chefs Letty Alvarez and Art Smith.

We will be featuring our luxury bucket bar stools and Quarter Sawn table tops for your indoor dining needs as well as our customizable outdoor Caribbean and Lake Shore Collections, never before seen in Orlando. It’s going to be a show you don’t want to miss!

Heading to Florida as well? Plan your visit to the trade show with the exhibitor map and list. You can even click the banner below to attend the show for free. Don’t forget to stop by Booth #1919 and say hello!

FLRS Show