Archive for November, 2013

How to Buy a Bucket Seat Bar Stool

Are you shopping with comfort in mind?  A bucket seat bar stool could be just what your establishment needs to keep patrons belly up to the bar for longer, which in turn, means a higher per person sales average on your bar’s bottom line.  If your bar’s marketing strategy revolves around higher drink-per-person numbers, then you are smart enough to see the close relation between having the right seating and an increase in nightly revenue.  You want to create a cozy, communal gathering place where folks come to meet up and hang out, watch the entire game on your big screens, or play that Megatouch bar top game until the wee hours.  But how exactly do you pick out the stool that’s the perfect fit for your bar?

Let’s discuss key product features by breaking down bucket bar stools into three shopping categories: good, better, and best.

The Good
Bucket Bar Stool for RestaurantsHere are some basic standards you want to look for in any bucket seat bar stool.  Believe it or not, many vendors don’t offer stools that meet these low quality marks, so here’s what to look out for:

  • Is there a plywood core on the back and seat?  Some manufacturers only use a cardboard-like substance as the foundation to the seat and back, which won’t hold up very well in a commercial setting.  Instead, look for something more sturdy featuring a plywood core.
  • What type of seat edge is there?  Due to how people slide in and slide out of a bucket seat, a waterfall edge usually has less wear and tear.  While some fancier models do feature stitching on the seat edge to add a decoration to the overall style, a smooth waterfall edge is going to last longer in high-traffic venues.
  • Is there padding in the seat…and back?  Some stools only come with a padded seat, so to ensure comfort, look for a little padding in both the seat and the back.  A good benchmark to look for is a minimum of 2 1/2-pound, high-density foam.
  • Is the vinyl commercial-grade?  There are many vinyl weights, and a stool for a bar or restaurant needs to use a vinyl that’s produced for use in the hospitality industry.  Its weight and how the backing is designed will impact its wear and tear properties.  Be careful, most vendors grade their own vinyls, so it’s best to look for a weight (such as a 24-ounce vinyl) for consistent side-by-side comparisons.
  • Does welting run with the vinyl seams?  At a minimum, you need to look for a thin welt cord along the vinyl seams. Better models will feature PVC edging for added strength.

What helps set apart the good bucket bar stool models we sell from many other bar stool makers is our newly re-designed and vastly improved 5-prong gripping system that helps to prevent the back separating from the seat when someone leans back too far in the bucket.  No back flips here!

The Better
Brown Bucket Seat Bar StoolIf you’re looking for a step up in quality without paying much more money, choosing a middle-of-the-road product offers some added benefits that you’ll appreciate.

  • PVC edging along vinyl seams is far superior than thin welting. Not only does it help keep the seams together better, the PVC material actually provides a safe “bumper” that protects your beautiful wood bar from getting dinged or marred from the spinning buckets.
  • A thicker seat adds extra comfort.  For example, our base models only have a 4″ seat thickness, but our better models feature a 5″ seat thickness, making for a comfy, cushy seat.

The Best
For top-of-the-line bucket seat bar stools, you’ll pay a little more money upfront but have excellent quality, style, and comfort backed by long-lasting durability. Consider all the points listed in the good and better models above, but add into the mix the following higher-end benefits:

  • Flex back – Stools with a flex back stool, there is a metal piece that attaches the seat to the back.  This part of the stool allows a slight bend and has a little give, which provides greater comfort.
  • Wrap-around arms – Whether it’s an over-sized back or a complete wrap-around arm rest, the style of the back will offer additional support.  This also creates a casino or roulette look that makes a fashion-forward statement in your bar or restaurant.

The Base
Best Commercial Bar StoolsOnce you decide on which bucket seat you prefer, it’s time to choose a base.  Especially for the better and best models, you’ll want to look for a fully welded, 16-gauge steel base, which will offer the ultimate in strength over a long lifetime.  The gauges of steel get stronger as the numbers decrease, so a 16-gauge is better than an 18- or 20-gauge steel frame.  Because bucket seats tend to be top-heavy compared to other stool seats, the base needs to have a wide enough footprint to safely support the shape and weight of the bucket.

We do sell our lower-end bar stools on the traditional F-base, featuring a bolted-on, squared-off chrome plated ring.  This base is very sturdy for use with the smaller buckets and offers a distinct style that may look great in your space, but it shouldn’t be used with the larger models.  We discourage use of the classic, retro-looking double chrome ring bases on our bucket seats, because those bases have an entirely bolted together frame, and the chrome plating can scratch and wear off over time.  Choosing a solid base will prevent accidents and injuries in your bar or restaurant, so choose wisely!

Additional Considerations
When shopping for a bucket bar stool, you should evaluate the quality of the swivel mechanism.  On the smaller buckets, we usually include a tilted swivel to produce a reclined feel for a more comfortable position.  When assembling this type of swivel on your bar stool, make sure the higher point is facing toward the front of the stool, or otherwise, patrons will feel as if they’re falling out of the seat.  On the more luxurious buckets, the design already features a slightly reclined seat, so most vendors will use a flat swivel, whereas you don’t have to worry about assembling it to the right degree of tilt.

In addition, we offer two brands of swivels: an imported version and an American-made version.  The imported swivel comes with a limited 1-year warranty and utilizes ball bearings, which can by known to fall out with a lot of wear and tear or rough handling.  The domestic swivel is more expensive, but it includes a longer warranty of up to 10 years and is a nylon construction that doesn’t use ball bearings.  This makes for a quieter, smoother movement, as well.

Before purchasing any bar stool for your restaurant, please measure the height of your bar.  You will want to leave 10-12″ between the top of the seat and the bottom of the bar for legroom.  Some of our best bucket bar stools have a seat height of 32.8″, which may be too tall for your bar.  In addition, if your audience is largely women, your customer base may have trouble getting in and out of that tall of a stool.  On the flip side, a largely male audience may find the stool height a more comfortable fit – especially if your bar is around the corner from where the Knicks practice.  Keep height – and your target market – in mind when you’re determining comfort and ease of use for your furniture selections.

Interior design is of course always a consideration when buying restaurant furniture.  Our standard bucket colors are brown, black, and wine, and we offer black and silver frames, so you can choose a color combination that works best for your decor!

Now that you know what to look for in your commercial bucket seat bar stools, you can offer a comfortable place for guests to sit and relax a while – and order up another drink!

Contemporary Restaurant Bar StoolCasino Bar Stool

 

 

 

Get Found Fast Online: The Importance of Google Knowledge Graph Carousel and Google Plus for Restaurants

As a restaurant owner, you know how important it is to attract customers through online efforts, including an attractive website, testimonials and reviews, online menus and specials, and a blog.  You work hard to build a strong online portfolio in order to drive patrons to your tables and chairs.

Now, it’s time to turn your attention to important Google products that will increase your search rankings. In return, these products provide some helpful information to both current and potential customers.

Google Changes the Search Game Again

You’ve probably typed your restaurant’s or bar’s name into Google to see where you rank, but try a slightly modified search:  enter in the words “restaurant” or “bar” and then your city. This search produces a results page that looks a bit different. Now, you’re going to see a list of establishments, plus pictures or maps, that runs across the top of the page. You can scroll through this list to see what businesses show up. When you click on one, you’ll see their business hours, contact information, the address, a price list, and even a menu and reviews. Because restaurant goers may be searching in this manner for a Google recommendation, you need to know where your restaurant falls.

Below the main search results page is a map that shows the general location that you entered with locations of restaurants in the area, and a list of search results. These results are pushed down the page because of the information at the top, forcing searchers to scroll down.  In other words, you should make sure that your business information shows at the top of the page to make it easy to find—right away.

If you’re not showing up where you’d like to, there are a few things you can do to improve your search engine optimization, or SEO.

A Google Plus Account Is Your Friend

Google Plus for RestaurantsSo make sure that this visual search works in your favor:

  • Create a Google Plus account for yourself and one for your business. Google loves ranking its own products, so a social media and networking product like Google Plus (sign up here for free) is a must have. It allows you to connect to others and categorize them in different groups, called ‘Circles’, that you create using terms like “customers,” “employees,” “suppliers,” “marketing” and more. Just like any form of social media, it’s most effective when it’s updated frequently and shared with others.
  • Make sure you have updated content and images. Your Google Plus account should have great content. That includes interior and exterior pictures of your business, pictures of your food, new and daily menus, information about your chef or staff, coupons, and specials. If you’ve read a great article or blog, share it with others in your circles. Better yet, write a great article or blog that you know others would find interesting, then link your content to your Google Plus profile or Google Plus business page. As your Circles grow, your byline will define you as an expert in your field.

A Blog Means Business

Make sure that your website has a blog! Why? A blog can be updated frequently—some restaurants update theirs three times a week—and it creates fresh content that can be searched and shared.  Google likes to see new content on your domain, and a blog can be an excellent PR tool to sharing interesting information to your social media channels, customers, and community members.  To take it another step further, link your blog to your Google Plus account through what Google calls authorship.  Quality blogging may help your restaurant get found more quickly in online searches.

Keeping your content fresh and your site updated is time consuming—but it’s a very important factor in your search results.

Patio Heaters Extend Outdoor Restaurant Patio Season

restaurant patio heatersEven as the first snowfalls dust the Northeast with blankets of white glitter, there are plenty of reasons to keep your bar and restaurant guests outside during the fall and winter months, even if it’s to provide a safe and cozy smoking area.  With commercial patio heaters, you can create year-round appeal and function for your outside patio.  Providin a source of added heat for those cooler days and nights ahead can be done so in style, with heaters that are fashionable and blend in with your exterior decor.

Many of the heat lamps that are on the market now, such as those offered by Lava Heat Italia, are energy-efficient, safe to touch, and easy to adjust for the correct temperature.  Whether you’re searching for a tabletop heater or a tower of warmth, today’s products are safer and more convenient than ever!  You can choose between electric, propane, or natural gas models, and many are also approved for indoor use in case it tends to get a little drafty inside your dining room or banquet hall.  Plus, the finish colors and design styles vary to match every bar or restaurant design.

Be sure to read all the specifics of the particular model you’re shopping for before making a purchase, and keep the following items in mind for picking the best heater for your patio.

Benefits to Look for When Shopping for a Restaurant Patio Heater

Minimum Assembly Required – Most commercial heat towers will ship fully assembled or only take a few minutes to get put together.  This will save you from the added costs of having someone assemble and install at your property and minimizes the risks that the heater will be incorrectly assembled, and therefore, dangerous to use.

Protected Burner Unit – By featuring an enclose the burner unit, a patio heater is less likely to experience malfunction from carbon build-up, corrosion, pests, spider webs, dirt, dust, rust and more. You will want to look for units that protect their mechanical parts and ignition, which also makes for a more efficient heat lamp and can extend its life compared to other heater models.

Balanced Flame Distribution – The well-crafted Ceramic Honeycomb insert found in the Lava Heat patio heater models allows for an even flame distribution, resulting in an even heat, eliminating hot spots. The balanced mount centers the flame within the glass tube, reducing the chance of carbon build-up, while also allowing the flame to move freely, creating an attractive “dancing” look.

Balanced Weight Distribution – Most tower style heaters are designed with even weight distribution, so they are not top-heavy and will not easily tip or fall.

Easy-to-Ignite Functionality – In addition to searching for heaters designed to provide the highest in energy-efficiency standards, you want a burner that will ignite easily, quickly, and without trouble.   Whether it’s through a switch on the device or a remote control, you can depend on simple igniting that your bar, restaurant, or resort staff can use to quickly turn on to please patio visitors and then get right back to serving other guest needs.

Electrostatic Powder Coating – Professionally applied electrostatic powder coating finishes last many times longer than dipped or painted finishes and resist scratches, chips, and peeling.  This special type of powder coating has proven to be highly weather and rust resistant, as well, giving you the confidence that it will be a long lasting addition to your property.

Portability – Many heaters come with optional wheel kits, allowing you to easily move around, in and out, depending on your location’s needs. This also adds functionality to the unit, giving you more flexibility in where and how you use your patio heaters.

Anti-Tilt Safety Switch – If the unit should tilt or fall, the heater will automatically turn off due to how the mercury completes, or if bumped disconnects, the electrical circuit.  Interrupting the circuit will not emit a spark that can ignite flammable gasses, making this safety feature a huge benefit when shopping for patio heaters.

Borosilicate Glass Tube – Borosilicate glass (aka Pyrex) is a type of glass that includes at least 5% boric oxide, which makes the glass resistant to extreme temperatures, and also improves its resistance to chemical corrosion. The glass is more likely to crack or snap rather than to shatter, so it is safer to have around in a situation where breakage is a concern. In the event that products made with the glass do crack, it is generally easier and safer to clean up than shattered glass.

Warranty – As with any product or restaurant furniture item, you will want to consider warranty with purchase.  Lava Heat Italia warrants to the original consumer purchaser that all aspects of this product will be free of defects in material and workmanship for 3-10 years from the date of purchase, depending on which model you choose. You should always ask to see the full warranty policy before placing your order

Now that you know what to look for in a restaurant patio heater, you’ll be able to heat up your deck or outside dining with the best unit for your property.