Depending on the weather and the style of your restaurant… which table top should you choose?

If you’re trying to choose new outdoor restaurant furniture, then you might be thinking about the same characteristics that you would use to choose indoor furniture. There is currently more than 14 billion home looks on Pinterest, a category that has grown by 75% since 2017. What you’re looking for in outdoor furniture will not be the same as your indoor furniture searches, though. The big difference is that your outdoor restaurant furniture will be exposed to the elements of Mother Nature. Before you select your furniture, consider some of these major factors so you can pick the best materials for your restaurant.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Outdoor Restaurant Furniture

Outdoor furniture frames, upholstery, tabletops, and more, need to retain structural integrity and their appearance through the seasons, as well as through a variety of different weather conditions. Plus, the time and effort it takes to maintain materials throughout the year, the materials environmental impact, and cost are important aspects to consider.

Rain and moisture

If your restaurant is somewhere there are frequent rainstorms, or somewhere with high humidity, you want to make sure that your furniture can resist the damage from various water-based issues. Standing water or retained moisture can not only physically degrade the material, but it can also lead to health risks too.

  • Mold, mildew, and rot: Humid or moist conditions create an environment where various fungi can thrive. Organic materials that retain water are more susceptible to mold and mildew, which can potentially lead to respiratory problems, irritation, and other health issues. However, they don’t typically damage the material and clean be cleaned off. Rot, on the other hand, leads to decay and biodegradation of the materials.
  • Rust and corrosion: Rust and corrosion are a problem if you choose metal outdoor restaurant furniture. Metal usually contains iron or steel, making it vulnerable to corrosion when exposed to water and oxygen. The corrosive oxidation process slowly weakens these metals, resulting in visible rust and other discoloration. Salt in the air and water accelerate the chemical process, so rusting is often more of an issue in coastal regions.
  • Warping: Materials that allow for water penetration can dry unevenly, resulting in warping, twisting, or bowing compared to its original shape. At first, it may be imperceptible, but over time, it can noticeably distort the material, misalign seams, and loosen screws or other fasteners used to hold the furniture together.

Sun and temperature

If your restaurant is somewhere that’s really sunny, or you experience dramatic seasonal climate shifts, you’ll want to look for outdoor restaurant furniture that can withstand damage from the harsh ultraviolet rays and fluctuations from extreme heat and cold temperatures.

  • Fading: Constant exposure to the sun can cause many materials to fade or lose their luster over time. The aesthetic change can sometimes be desired and appealing, like when materials patina, or it might simply decrease the vibrancy of color or cause uneven spotting.
  • Cracking: Some materials noticeably expand and contract when they are heated and cooled.  They can crack, split, warp, or even become brittle when exposed to extreme temperatures or drastic fluctuations. Dry air can also cause furniture to crack and bend over time.
  • Heat retention: Extreme heat can also lead to logistical problems. Outdoor restaurant furniture that’s left out in the sun can get hot, making it unsafe and uncomfortable to touch. Nobody wants to burn their skin when they sit down or attempt to reposition themselves on your outdoor seating area. We recommend that you cover your table with an umbrella or keep your seating on a covered patio to avoid direct sunlight for the table and the customers.

Wind

If your restaurant is in an open and extremely windy area, it’s essential that your outdoor restaurant furniture is heavy enough that it won’t tip over or blow away. It doesn’t take much to damage a light-weight deck chair or dining table when the wind starts blowing, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you don’t get the sturdy material, you’ll have to constantly store or secure your items down when they’re not in use.

Durability

Some outdoor materials last for a long time when they’re in ideal conditions, but they might need to be replaced every couple of seasons when exposed to inclement weather. Other materials can withstand a myriad of elements for years and years and still look new. The use the materials gets also affects durability. If your guests don’t use your outside eating area that often, then your outdoor restaurant furniture will experience less wear and tear. The more frequently the furniture gets used, the more durable the materials should be.

Cleaning and maintenance

Aesthetics and durability both will depend on how well you take care of your outdoor restaurant furniture. Some materials require very little attention from season to season and are quick and easy to clean with simple soap and water. Other materials require more intense care and special cleaning products to keep them looking good and functioning properly. If you don’t have a lot of time to clean your outdoor restaurant furniture, then you should opt for a lower maintenance material.

Eco-friendliness

These days, most people are aware of the environmental impact of production processes as well as the raw materials that go into the products, even if they don’t know the specifics. If all other characteristics were equal, most people hopefully would prefer to be ecologically responsible. Fortunately, most brands of outdoor restaurant furniture have adopted “green” manufacturing practices and use materials that are biodegradable, recyclable, or certified by eco-friendly organizations. That said, different outdoor materials vary in renewability.

Cost

Finally, you’re going to want to consider cost when you’re purchasing new outdoor restaurant furniture. You probably have a budget that you have to stick to, but it’s essential that you understand how expensive materials work in the long run and their price compared to benefits value. If they need to be replaced more frequently, is it worth it? How about maintenance? These are key cost considerations that you might not immediately think of when evaluating materials, but they are important to consider.

All things considered, metal and plastic are the best materials for your outdoor restaurant furniture. For more information, give us a call at RC Supplies today so we can help you pick out the best outdoor furniture for your restaurant.

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