Do you like furniture shopping? Some love it and some hate it. Whichever group you’re in, your restaurant needs a collection of tables for their guests. 

While restaurant guests may not pay any mind to the tables, someone did. Any number of factors went into the decision making, such as style, ease of cleaning, durability, etc. 

Being part of the restaurant industry, we understand that too many choices can make table purchasing a real chore, and perhaps a chore you’d like to get out of the way A.S.A.P. To make things easier, we put together this visual guide to help you through the decision-making:

Restaurant Table Buying Guide

But we’re just getting started. The purchase of tables is a significant investment in your business and to reiterate, asking the right questions is how to make an informed choice. Let’s continue to explore the features and benefits of restaurant tables.

Restaurant Tables Design Choice: Material

To put it simply, table material matters. The look of your tables has a substantial effect on the appearance of your dining area. 

Sturdy tables last longer meaning infrequent replacements and not breaking down in front of guests. Consumer-grade kitchen tables don’t go through what a restaurant table does on a daily basis. Industry-tier tables are made with superior materials.

Tables need to be able to endure constant cleaning. At peak service times, it really helps to have tables that are easy to clean and quickly ready for the next guest. 

First impressions are very important for the customer experience.

While guests may not notice the finer details of a table, like the base, they will notice immediately if the table is dirty or sticky.

Reclaimed Wood

The beauty of wood is timeless and will last for decades when cared for. Reclaimed wood extends the “life” of wood with recycled materials made into beautiful furniture. It is an ecologically resourceful way to produce furniture.

Reclaimed wood is generally considered the best dining table material for rustic decor. Natural beauty is a key element in rustic schemes, so reclaimed wood fits in perfectly. Even if a restaurant’s style isn’t exactly rustic, reclaimed wood table tops are still an excellent choice to add character.

New Wood

Reclaimed wood can be expensive, and the wood options may not suit the style of the restaurant. New wood gives you a wider selection to choose from with customization options.

Finding the right color is a key factor in how the dining room will look. For those who are particular about wood color and stain, new wood selections can offer something specific.

Common Types Wood Used to Make Tables:

  • Oak
  • Walnut
  • Maple
  • Hickory
  • Cherry
  • Elm
  • Tropical

Stainless Steel or Galvanized Metal

Wood doesn’t always suit the decor of a restaurant. Metal fits better with some themes (modern, for example). The look of metal table tops creates an aesthetic contrast in some interior decorating schemes.

Metal is durable but, unlike wood, it doesn’t stain so color choices are limited

Stone

Stone tables are elegant and sophisticated. But they are also very expensive and heavy. Stone is likely not the best choice for dining tables purchased in bulk. It’s better to have tables that are easy to move for rearranging the dining space.

For upscale restaurants that need a few extra touches of refinement, stone tables serve well as accent pieces. 

Restaurant Tables Design Choice: Maintenance and Care

Upkeep is another factor to consider when selecting tables for your restaurant. Will there be time in the schedule for furniture maintenance? 

Regular Maintenance

Wooden tables tend to require more maintenance. Unprotected wood can be ruined by water, heat marks and gouges. 

Wood that lacks a protective layer needs to be carefully cleaned by avoiding too much water. Soaked wood will warp. Use moist, but not wet cloths so the wood dries faster. Harsh, or citrus cleaners may ruin and possibly gum up the surface. Any gouges in the wood need to be repaired before the damage gets worse.

It’s recommended to apply furniture polish to wood every three months. Applying a protective coat to wood with something like polyurethane reduces the frequency of maintenance.

Aluminum tables lose shine because of oxidation. Car, or metal wax restores the shine.

So, what are the alternatives?

Low Maintenance

Some tables will continue to look acceptable for years with minimal efforts. They are easy to clean and aren’t likely to need repair. This is assuming the tables are quality and well-made which is a must for any restaurant table.

Most metal, stone, plastic, and resin tables are typically low maintenance. They are easy to clean and don’t require polishing. Also, they are stain-resistant and water-resistant.

Restaurant Tables Design Choice: Exterior Vs. Interior

Tables that work great indoors may not work so well outside. If your restaurant offers outdoor seating, those tables ought to be able to withstand harsh elements like heat, rain, and sunlight (UV rays).

Indoors

Comparing indoor furniture to “patio furniture,” nicer pieces are indoors. Beautiful wooden tables do well inside for the appearance of the dining room. On the other hand, plastic tables aren’t usually appropriate for the inside, due to aesthetics.

Outdoors

For your outdoor furniture set, a higher level of durability is needed. Will the tables stand up to the weather? 

  • Wood: Picnic tables work if they are treated with a coating that is water and UV resistant. Be sure to use ONLY Redwood, Cedar or a tropical wood. However, you should be prepared for regular sanding and refinishing of ANY wood used outdoors.
  • Plastic: Perfect for outside! Again, quality is key. Flimsy plastic will degrade in the elements.
  • Metal: Rust-resistant metal is ideal. Keep in mind that metal is a conductor and exposure to sunlight will make them dangerously hot to the touch. Either go with a metal that is a poor heat conductor or place metal tables in the shade or under umbrella.
  • Stone: Also great for outside. Concrete tables will withstand wind, rain, and heat.

Pull Up a Chair and Pick Some Tables!

Style and functionality are both very important when selecting what tables to fill your dining area with. Does it suit your style? If you’re likely to change your style, are the tables versatile to transition with the makeover?

Practicality is also a factor. Will it be too much trouble to maintain them? Do you have appropriate tables for indoor and outdoor spaces respectively?

The purchase of a fleet of tables is quite an investment, one that should last for years to come. We understand that this is a big decision and we want to help you select the best tables for your restaurant. Continue your table planning by looking through our restaurant table tops selection.

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