Selecting Restaurant Furniture


For restaurant furniture such as chairs, table top, pedestal legs and commercial items please click Soda is our commercial F&B furniture are. We can supply hundreds of different products for your establishment.

The other day a friend who runs a small cafe called me up and said that he wanted to refurnish his cafe. He did not want anything that was too high end in quality. He did not want "beautiful home furniture". Just something that would not give him a heartache whenever it gets bashed around by his customers. This thinking is absolutely off the mark. Restaurant furniture is quite different from home furniture. Furniture for food & beverage (F&B) outlets must be sturdy above all else. The delicate finish of certain premium home furniture is definitely not always appropriate for a F&B environment. F&B customers need to set their expectations right in order not to disappoint themselves. Expensive does not equal sturdy. Beautiful does not equal functionality. Sophisticated does equate to ease of use. F&B does not mean cheaper. This is especially so for new F&B entrepreneurs. Here is a 10 point checklist of factors that you need to think about before making a chair purchase for your cafe. The checklist for a home chair is quite different.

1. Stackability

Hygiene is critical to a F&B operation. Mopping the floor is a basic day to day necessity. Stacking up the chairs to leave the floor clear maybe one of your most important requirements. Stackable chairs are also suitable for temporary locations (functions). Many stackable chairs are designed with holes and looping armrests. This allows stacked chairs to be chained and secured to a fixed structure to minimise theft. Many establishments leave their furniture in their veranda or porch overnight after closing. 

2. Comfort (Fast turnaround or long stay)
  • Comfort can help determine how long your customers hang around. If you want your customer to hang around longer and continue to make more orders, comfort becomes important. If you are a Shenton Way cafe that wants a quick turnaround, a basic chair or stool would suffice.
  • Choose Seat Cushions/Type carefully. Factors such as foam stiffness, upholstered material, rub cycles, fire retardant, scratch resistance, edge curvature or solid seat type. These factors determine not only comfort but safety, ease of maintenance, lifespan,  and design integration.
  • The angle of back rest differs from chair to chair. Lounging chairs should have more angle and allow for a more lazy posture. Dining chairs have a more upright back. Stools are good for a more casual environment and where the moving of seats by customers is not an issue (kopitiams).
3. Rocking on two legs test

Home chairs seldom suffer such abuse. Bars and informal F&B places need very sturdy chairs. Plastic, acrylic and parson chairs usually do not pass this test. The more formal the restaurant the less critical this test is. 

4. Stretchers
  • Stretchers are pieces of wood that join the legs of chairs. This stiffens the entire chair structure. Chairs with U shaped stretchers are popular with coffee chains because it make the chair much stronger.
  • Stretcher heights at the right levels for bar stools are important. This allows for the feet to rest comfortably. Such stretchers have dual functionality; for strengthening as well as for ergonomics.
5. Armrests or no armrest.

You will often see a  chair stacked upside down on the table during closing time. This is done to allow easy cleaning of the floor. If the chair has an armrest or a hard smooth seat or is too big, then this is not possible. Is this one of your key requirements to meet hygiene standards? 

6. Height of Chair

There are three basic heights; Dining, Counter and Bar; 45cm, 60cm and 75cm respectively. Counter height chairs are more appropriate for home use. The height of the backrest will determine comfort and overall look of your cafe. 

7. Strength and Structure

To test a chair's strength, sit on it and then try to move your butt in a circular motion. This tests the lateral strength of a chair. The downward strength of most chairs are quite sufficient. As you rock around the clock or chair, feel for instability, noise, sway and leg bending. Get a second person to observe when you do this test. A stable chair makes for a happy diner. 

8. Material (indoor) 9. Maintenance 10. Weight and Size