Frequently Asked Questions

How many seats do you need to fill your restaurant? FAQ’s from the Files of East Coast Chair & Barstool.

How many seats do you need to fill your restaurant

When it comes time to buy furniture for their restaurants, many new owners ask about the ideal number of seats for the square footage of their dining rooms.   The truth is, like most things, that there is no hard and fast rule for the exact number of seats in your restaurant, but there are guidelines that we are happy to share below.

Restaurant Type Square Feet to Allocate per Person Number of Seats per 1000 SQFT
Fine Dining 20 SQFT 50
Fast Casual / Counter Service 20 SQFT 50
Cafeteria 16 SQFT 60
Fast Food 14 SQFT 70
Banquet Center 10 SQFT 100

These guidelines are just general rules of thumb.  The actual number of seats that you can fit comfortably in your dining area depends on a few different variables.  For example, if you are planning to make heavy use of booth and countertop seating, then you may be able to squeeze in a few more seats.  On the other hand, if you are using oversize furniture or plan to make your aisles wide enough for wheelchairs or tableside service, then you will need to reduce the number of seats.  In the end, it all boils down to common sense, personal preference, and meeting the needs of your business.

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How Much Does Restaurant Furniture Cost? FAQ’s from the files of East Coast Chair & Barstool

How much does restaurant furniture cost
If you’ve ever asked “how much does restaurant furniture cost”, you probably got a somewhat unsatisfactory answer like “it depends on what you get”.  While this is certainly true – restaurant furniture can range from a few thousand dollars up to serious five figure digits – we figured that we could at least layout some common scenarios to give you an approximation of the cost to furnish your restaurant.

To keep it simple, all of these scenarios are based on a dining space of 1500 square feet with 20 tables, 8 booths, 60 chairs, and 10 bar stools.  There are 3 scenarios: a budget friendly option for a restaurant owner that wants the most economical furniture to get started, a mid-level option for a restaurant owner that wants great looking furniture at a great price, and an option for a restaurant owner that wants to create an ambiance around their furniture without breaking the bank.

Scenario 1 – Economy Furniture Cost

20 – Resin 36” x 36” Table Tops = $600

60 – Gladiator Metal Ladder Back Chairs with Vinyl Seat = $1500

10 – Gladiator Metal Ladder Back Barstools with Vinyl Seat = $500

8 – Standard Vinyl Upholstered Booths = $1500

Furniture Cost = $4100.00

 

Scenario 2 – Mid-Level Furniture Cost

20 – Solid Wood Butcher Block Tables = $2920

60 – Viktor Steel TOLIX style restaurant chairs = $3780

10 – Viktor Steel TOLIX style barstools – $710

8 – Vinyl Upholstered Restaurant Booths – $1640

Furniture Cost = $9050.00

 

Scenario 3 – Reclaimed Wood Furniture Cost

20 – Reclaimed Barnwood Tables = $4400

60 – Simon Steel Café Chairs with Reclaimed Wood Seats = $6000

10 – Simon Steel Café Barstools with Reclaimed Wood Seats = $1100

8 – Custom Reclaimed Barn Wood Booths = $4200

Furniture Cost = $15700.00

 

All of these scenarios are based on just a few of the furniture options that are commonly available at East Coast Chair & Barstool, where we sell direct to restaurants and keep costs low by cutting out the middle man.  True, you could go to a dealer or niche manufacturer and buy furniture that cost 3-5x more, but the only difference would be the price tag.

Have a question about furniture cost?  Leave a comment below and we’ll be glad to help.

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How do I choose a restaurant table base? FAQ’s from the Files of East Coast Chair & Barstool

So, you’ve finally found those tabletops that are going to look perfect in your restaurant, but which bases should you choose to accompany them?  Believe it or not, this is one of the most common questions that our customer care team receives.  The answer is both surprisingly straightforward and difficult at the same time; there are many different variables involved, including personal taste, location, and cost.  Fortunately, after fielding this question from customers far too many times to count, we are ideally positioned to answer it for our readers.  Here are 3 of the most important factors to consider when choosing a base, as well as advice on how to choose the right table bases.

Location

The first consideration when choosing a table base is location.  Specifically, will you be using the table indoors or outdoors?  Most outdoor table bases are constructed from aluminum, stainless steel, powder coated steel, or cast iron.  If you live in a coastal area with high levels of salinity in the air, then aluminum is a great choice because it will offer the best protection against rust and/or corrosion.  If salt spray isn’t an issue for you, then you can choose between any of the outdoor base materials.

Table Shape & Size

Ok, this is where it starts to get a little complicated.  The shape and size of your table is the biggest factor in what type and size of base you choose.  Have you ever gone to a restaurant and leaned on the table only to have it start tipping over?  If so, that’s because the table wasn’t properly supported by the base.  That happens a lot with rectangular tables and large heavy tables.  Often, customers will call in and want a single base in the middle of a 30” x 48” rectangular table.  While that may work with a lightweight laminate or plywood table, it won’t offer the support needed for a heavy solid wood or resin table.  What we recommend is putting one smaller t-style base at each end of the table so that it is supported from the ends instead of the middle.   The same idea applies to large square and round tables as well.

Weight

The weight of the base that you choose is also important.  In general, the weight of your base should coincide with the weight of your table.   Lightweight tables like melamine, laminates, and aluminum tables go best with lighter x-style bases, while heavier tables like solid wood, and resin pair well with heavier disc and plate style bases.

There are a few other considerations with regard to weight.  If you move your tables frequently – perhaps you host events – you may want to go with a lighter weight base that is easier to move.  The other special consideration is if you are using an umbrella on an outdoor table.  In that case, you will either need to choose a heavy base that is specifically designed to accept an umbrella, or choose a leg style table base that will also allow you to use a heavy umbrella base.

While there is no “one size fits all” algorithm for choosing the right table base for your restaurant, we can give you the guidelines and our recommendations.  The chart and infographic below should make it a much easier process.

Common restaurant table base styles

Common shapes and sizes of restaurant tables and their accompanying bases

What is LTL delivery? FAQs from the Files of East Coast Chair & Barstool

Tractor trailer

Ever wonder how your recently ordered furniture will get to you? Here are some answers to frequently asked questions that we get when it comes to receiving your shipped furniture.

How is my furniture being shipped to me?

LTL delivery is a common way that many furniture suppliers use when shipping furniture to customers. Items are usually put on a wood pallet and secured using plastic straps and/or shrink wrap. LTL delivery is used when items don’t fill the entire truck but are too large or heavy for parcel. With this delivery method, you are paying only for the space that the pieces of furniture take up.

What does LTL stand for?

LTL stands for “less than truckload”.

What determines how much delivery will cost?

To calculate LTL delivery costs, items are put into classes designated by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA). There are 18 classes total. To place an item’s class depends the shipment’s density, stowability, handling, and value. The lower the class, the cheaper it is to ship the item. For example, a steel chair ships at class 250 because they have a high density. Meanwhile, aluminum furniture ships at a class 300 because it takes up more space but has less weight. Other possible costs include fuel surcharges, expedited delivery fees, and where the end destination is located.

What is lift-gate service? Is it included?

A lift-gate raises and lowers items from the back of the truck to the ground. This is not included in the shipping quote are given unless you ask for it. If a truck that delivers your items has a lift-gate and you use it but did not pay for it, you will be charged as if you had requested it.

Will the carrier call me to let me know when my order is being delivered?

For an additional fee, they can call you with a timeframe.

Can I change the shipping address once the item has shipped?

Yes, it is possible to change the shipping address by contacting the carrier. However, a reconsignment fee will be charged.

Will the driver take the items off the truck?

No, we recommend that you have some extra help with you to take items off the truck.

Will the driver take my shipment inside?

No, however, an “inside delivery” option can be added for a fee.

Can I use a forklift to take the items off the truck?

Yes, this could help you get the items off the truck because they’re on pallets. Don’t use forklift on booths or oversized tables, these items are easily damaged.

What do I do if my furniture is damaged?

Regardless of what condition your furniture arrives in, you need to accept the delivery. You will receive a delivery receipt where you can note the damages. From there, you will need to contact our service department about the damages.

For more information on how to accept a tailgate delivery, check out our video below!

How Do I Clean My Restaurant Table Tops? FAQs from the Files of East Coast Chair & Barstool

Cleaning table tops

Restaurant furniture is built tough. The wear and tear that commercial furniture has to endure is far greater than the six chairs and table in your dining room. Because of this heavy usage, commercial furniture also comes with a responsibility. These pieces need to be maintained and properly taken care of to last to their full lifespan. We’ve put together this short guide to help restaurant owners learn a little more about cleaning their table tops.

Laminate table tops should be cleaned with warm water and soap (or detergent) mixture each day and dried with a soft cloth. Spills should be wiped up quickly to avoid further harm to the table. A combination of mild cleaner and baking soda can be used to remove stains from the surface with a stiff nylon brush.

Resin table tops should be cleaned daily with warm water and a mild detergent. Because of the texture of the table, resin tops should not be used with tableware that has unglazed bottoms. To remove scratches, use a toothpaste and car buffer or toothbrush to even out your table top.

Wood table tops can be maintained with mild soap and water. Whether it’s reclaimed, urban distressed, or butcher block tables, harsh cleaners and chemicals should not be used on these tops. These chemicals can harm your wood grain and create a gummy film on your table tops.

IsoTop and Werzalit table tops can be used indoors or outdoors and have a very similar cleaning procedure to other table tops. Soap and water can be used to wipe these tops down between uses. If being used on a patio, IsoTops can also be hosed down with other outdoor furniture.

Poly lumber table tops are very easy to maintain with soap and water. To remove leaf stains and other environmental elements, a wet Magic Eraser can work wonders to buff out the stain. These tops can even withstand a gentle pressure wash.

Stainless steel table tops should be cleaned with soap and water and then dried off as soon as possible. These tables should not be exposed to constant moisture, which can ruin the silicone seal around the edges. Taking proper care of these tops can provide multiple years of seasonal use.

Table top maintenance should be an everyday chore for you and your staff. By taking the time to upkeep your restaurant furniture, it can save you time and money in the future.

What is commercial furniture? FAQs from the Files of East Coast Chair & Barstool

Commercial furniture in a bar

Our sales team often gets asked about the difference is between commercial and residential furniture.  After all, the thinking goes, a chair is a chair and a table is a table, regardless of whether you buy it from a retail location or a commercial dealer.  Unfortunately, that line of thinking is false for a number of reasons.

Despite the fact that some designers and furniture buyers have taken to choosing residential grade furniture for offices, there are significant benefits to choosing commercial quality furnishings for any business in the hospitality industry.

How often do you sit on the dining chairs in your home?  If you’re like most people, the answer is probably an hour or less per day.  Contrast that to restaurants, bars, and other hospitality industry establishments where the furniture is likely to be in use for up to 10-12 hours per day, every day.     Getting ten times, or even more, usage than a typical residential chair means that commercial furniture is subjected to far more stress in its lifetime.  That stress can weaken the integrity of the chair if not properly constructed.  In addition, while you and your family and friends are the only ones sitting on your dining chairs, commercial furniture is used by people of all shapes and sizes.  In fact, most commercial chairs are weight tested up to 350 pounds, and some can accommodate much more.

In most industries, there are differences between commercial and retail equipment, and each is specifically manufactured for that purpose.  For example, a trucking company would never put regular passenger tires on one of its vehicles because their thin walls are not suitable to bear the weight commercial vehicle.  Likewise, a retail customer would not want to put commercial tires on their Ford Focus because the heavy walled tires would produce a jarring, uncomfortable ride.  The same is true of furniture.

The difference between commercial and residential furniture has nothing to do with looks, although residential furniture is often considered more aesthetically pleasing.  Instead, it’s all about construction.  As we said above, commercial furniture has to withstand continuous usage and abuse at the hands of customers and staff.  Because of that, it is built with heavier materials.  Commercial manufacturers typically use 16 or 18 gauge steel is used instead of the 22 or 24 gauge found in retail furniture.  Whereas residential wood furniture is usually made from cheaper, softer woods like rubberwood, commercial grade wood furniture is made from hardwoods like European Beechwood.  Also, fabrics have to be puncture resistant, tear resistant, and stain resistant, which means vinyl vs. leather and acrylic vs cotton.   Finally, commercial furniture has to hold up when customers of all sizes use it, so it also usually has mortise and tenon joinery, and additional bracing.

Commercial furniture can cost more than residential furniture (although not always), but is actually cheaper when you consider cost per use.  As we mentioned above, commercial furniture can easily get 10 times or more usage than residential furniture, but it often costs only 2-3 times as much, making it very cost effective for restaurants, bars, resorts, and offices.

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What is Melamine? Frequently Asked Questions from the Files of East Coast Chair & Barstool

Detail of industrial machinery used for the production of panels and sheets of melamine.

If you’ve ever ordered a piece of furniture with a wood veneer, chances are you were working with Melamine, the ubiquitous plastic with myriad uses from Mr. Clean Magic Erasers to floor tiles.

Melamine was first invented in the 1830s by Justus von Liebig, a German chemist who is considered the founder of organic chemistry.  It is created by mixing urea, a waste product, with formaldehyde to create a liquid resin that can be molded under high pressure to create virtually any shape.

Melamine gained prominence in the early 1900’s when it was developed into molded dinnerware called Melmac.  Though Melmac is no longer in existence, melamine tableware is still popular and widely available.  In recent years however, melamine has gained a bad reputation due to several unscrupulous overseas companies using it as filler in consumable products like pet foods and baby formula.  Even though the resin is considered safe for most uses, when ingested, melamine can lead to severe kidney problems and, possibly, even kidney failure.

When used to make furniture, melamine is typically applied as a laminate to particle board or plywood (See the sheets of melamine in the photo above).  The melamine resin is applied to decorative paper to form a laminate that has superior material properties to the cheaper wood materials underneath it.  For example, the laminated material is heat resistant, water resistant, and easily cleanable – all characteristics that are lacking from plywood and particle board.  For these reasons, in addition to its low cost of production, melamine is a great choice for commercial furniture like restaurant tables and office desks; it is also great for cabinetry and bedroom coffee tables.

 

Melamine table tops in an arcade and bar