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Top tips for buying contract furniture

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At Trent, we are committed to helping you find the perfect pieces of furniture for your bar, restaurant or café. Whether it’s a leather sofa, a bar stool or a table and chair set, selecting furniture that compliments the look and feel of your establishment is essential. With over 60 years of knowledge and experience, we’ve put together our top tips for successfully styling your establishment with contract furniture.

Do your research

Wherever you decide to purchase your contract furniture from, make sure to do your research beforehand! Asking the obvious after care questions about delivery charges and returns policy is a must, and researching into the credibility and sustainability policies of your chosen supplier can help you to make a more informed decision.

Durability is key

It may be an obvious point, but choosing strong, solid furniture that will survive the everyday wear and tear is key. Furniture made from wood or metal are hardwearing and designed for fast paced, customer focused environments. Our very own Shabby Chic Farmhouse Table is a popular choice for fashionable eateries, adding character to rustic and quirky environments.

Opt for easy upkeep

Cleanliness is at the top of most customers’ wish lists, especially where food is concerned, so an important factor to keep in mind when purchasing contract furniture is how easy it’ll be to keep clean and maintain. If you’re choosing upholstery, knowing the appropriate level of care will help to keep your furniture looking inviting. Ensuring those mystery stains are taken care of as soon as possible, and making a regular effort to vacuum off the dust, are just a few easy things you can do to keep your upholstery in top condition.

Less is more

When it comes to furnishing your café, bar or restaurant, the saying less is more is true! It may be tempting to go all out with armchairs and bar stools, but saving some floor space is important to keep the flow of customers and staff moving, hassle-free. Drawing up a floor plan can help you to visually see where changes can be made with your layout to ensure you maximise your available space.

Comfort vs. Function

Ensuring your guests are comfortable is perhaps the most important factor to consider as a host and definitely something that should be kept in mind when purchasing furniture. Decking out with comfy upholstery and adding a tasteful cushion or two will ensure your environment is as inviting and customer friendly as possible. Our Manhattan Two-Seater Sofa is a popular yet stylish choice; the leather upholstery is both attractive and durable for those busy periods.

Consistency is key

Depending on the look and feel of your restaurant, the furniture you choose can help you to tell the “story” of your establishment. By matching your menu, interior décor and furniture to your overall theme, guests are invited into your own world. Alternatively, if you’re going for a more individual and quirky look to your café or bar, furniture in different shapes, shades and sizes can be as equally intriguing to your guests.

Over the phone or online, Trent are here to help you with all your furniture needs! Contact us today

The changing face of the British wine bar

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It’s official: wine is now Britain’s most popular alcoholic beverage. A 2015 poll commissioned by the Wine and Spirit Trade Association showed that wine is now the favoured alcoholic drink for 60 per cent of UK adults, compared to all other alcohol products.

Britain has been a nation of wine drinkers since the Romans first introduced us to the pleasures of wine 2,000 years ago. Indeed, vineyards have been cultivated here since Roman times - increasingly so, as global warming makes our climate more suitable to growing grapes.

But most of the wine we drink has been imported, France, Spain and Portugal being the chief sources to begin with. (The British were and still are heavily involved in the Portuguese port and Spanish sherry industries.) Wine for many years was the preserve of the well-to-do, but in the 1860s the British government reduced duty on wine, making it a cheaper alternative to beer and spirits. Wine was seen as a more “civilised” drink and the government, led by prime minister William Gladstone, hoped to change our drinking habits by making it cheaper.

This gave rise to a growth in Victorian wine-drinking. Some of the wine importers began to open up small bars and shops where wines could be sampled and drunk, along the lines of Italian enotecas (“wine libararies”). The British wine bar was born.

Victorian Vino

Some of these wine bars are still with us today. Gordons in London’s Charing Cross claims to be the oldest wine bar in London, dating back to 1890, and its cave-like interior is still redolent of those times: candles in bottles, dark wooden furniture and low brick arches create a world away from the bustle in the streets outside. Old newspaper cuttings and vintage memorabilia add to the atmosphere.

El Vino is another survivor from the Victorian era. This chain started out as a wine importing business and opened a wine bar in Fleet Street in the late 19th century which became a favourite hangout for lawyers and journalists. El Vino also became a battleground thanks to its policy of banning women customers from standing at the bar; for many years, women could only be served if they sat at tables at the rear. After a legal campaign, the practice was finally outlawed as discriminatory in 1978.

Another famous wine bar with Victorian origins is Davy’s, which again had its origins in the wine trade. Branches of Davy’s such as its Boot and Flogger in Southwark, London, which opened in 1964, epitomise the classic British wine bar: dark, solid wood tables and chairs, uniformed staff, and a simple menu of staple dishes such as sausage and mash or gammon and egg - plus, of course, an extensive wine list. (Beers by the bottle are also available here and in most wines bars.)

Bubbles and power dressing

In the 1960s and 70s, as wine drinking gained in popularity, the wine bar began to move with the times. Interiors became brighter, furniture lighter and less fusty, the food became more varied, and female customers - in contrast to the attitude of El Vino - were encouraged and welcomed. Shampers, which opened in London’s Soho in 1977, and is still in business today, was typical of the new breed of wine bars - its very name signifying bubbliness and fun.

The wine bar became associated with the power dressing 1980s and wine drinking became democratised. And the fact that Britain makes very little wine of its own became something of an advantage: whereas the French, Spanish and Italian markets were focused largely on serving wines from their own countries, the UK was free to pick and choose from the best wines across the world. Wines from countries such as Australia - once the subject of a derisory Monty Python sketch (“This one’s guaranteed to open up the sluices at both ends”) - became desirable.

In the 1990s Tony Blair’s government relaxed the UK’s licensing laws, giving pubs and bars freedom to open longer and later. As with the Victorians, the hope was that this would encourage a more “civilised” approach to alchohol, fostering a more continental style of drinking and eating. This had mixed results, but it certainly didn’t hinder the wine bar, giving them leeway to stay open for longer and fostering the growth of bars and cafes.

The new wave of wine bars

In recent years the wine bar has come back into favour, as British drinkers have become more discerning in their tastes. Changes in technology, too, have helped: wine can be dispensed by the glass from machines that inject inert gas into the bottle, keeping the wine fresh. This means that wine bars can serve a far wider range of wines by the glass, which has given rise to a more sophisticated culture of wine-sampling. Food served alongside the wine remains straightforward: sharing plates, cheeses, charcuterie, simple meals.

One of the new wave of wine bars is Salut in Manchester, which aims to offer a demystified, un-snobbish wine-drinking experience and serves an impressive 42 wines by the glass. Surroundings are bright and informal: marble-topped tables, wooden chairs, or high wooden tables with stools.  Inevitably east London has seen a growing number of hipsterish wine bars, with new openings such as Sager + Wilde in Hackney, which took over a former pub to create a cool, informal interior with marble- and wooden-topped tables, wooden stools, and a long bar along which higher wooden stools are placed. The bar also has an outdoor area with benches and outdoor chairs. The vibe is neither fusty nor super-trendy.

Another recent development has seen wine shops setting aside an area for on-the-premises drinking, a kind of mini-wine bar. Laithwaite’s near London’s Borough Market has used its large premises to create its convivial The Arch wine bar within its store: low comfortable soft chairs and low tables, or high metal stools clustered around gigantic old wine barrels which are used as tables, creating a quiet and civilised retreat from the bustle of the surrounding area. Wine-tasting evenings are a regular event here with wine dispensed along a long counter with stools alongside.

Likewise, Nicolas, the well-known French chain, has a wine bar attached to its branch in London’s Canary Wharf, serving a range of wines at relatively low mark-ups and food ranging from sharing plates to three-course meals. Furniture is simple and unobtrusive: light wood, clean lines.

Drinking to the future

The future looks bright, then, for that venerable but flexible institution, the British wine bar. If you already run a wine bar, you might be thinking of refreshing your interiors so that they are in keeping with the times: today’s wine bars are brighter, cleaner-looking and, in style terms, cooler than the dark Victorian places of yesteryear. Remember that furniture does not have to match; a mix of chairs such as Trent Furniture’s Loopback side chair and its pyramid tables alongside low armchairs and low tables would create an eclectic look.

If you are looking to start up a wine bar, this bar furniture guide will give you an outline of what lies ahead and what you will need. Cheers!

New Leicester Furniture Showroom Open to the Public

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Over the past few months, our team here at Trent Furniture have been working on opening our new, extended furniture showroom.

We are pleased to announce that this is now open to the general public, and businesses who can pop into our location at:

Trent Furniture
Regent Street Ind Est
Narborough
Leicestershire
LE19 2DS

If you would like to chat with our team, find out which of our extensive furniture ranges can be seen, or have any other questions regarding the new furniture showroom in Leicester, you can always give us a call on 0116 4735 938. 

To take a sneak peek at the current ranges on display, have a look at some of the photos taken this week.

American Diner Furniture Range

American diner furnitureAmerican diner furniture sets

Soft Seating and Sofas

soft seating and sofas

Commercial and Contract Furniture

commercial and contract furniture

Pub and Bar Tables and Chairs

pub and bar tables and chairs

Wooden and Metal Stacking Chairs

Various Design Stacking ChairsMetal Stacking ChairsWooden Stacking Chairs

Tables and Chairs Finishes and Options

Tables and chairs finishestable base options

 

The complete “how to” guide for furniture cleaning

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How to clean a fabric sofa

If you’re looking for something comfortable and contemporary for your café or restaurant seating area, you can’t go wrong with a fabric sofa. Whilst they may look comfy, they aren’t so durable in comparison to leather sofas.  However, with the right approach and level of care, fabric upholstery can be kept in top condition as long as any other material.

We’ve put together some Trent top tips to help you keep your sofa excellent condition.

Vacuum your sofa to draw out all the loose dust and dirt from both under and above the surface. Use a soft brush to avoid marking or scratching your sofa material- important for delicate fabrics like velvet.

When you’re giving your sofa a quick clean, you should take care of any grime or light marks with a damp cloth. Once or twice every month, you should use a fabric-friendly cleaning product to perform a much deeper cleanse —apply some with a small amount of water (without soaking the material) and leave it to work.

Leave your sofa to dry naturally before sitting on it again. This will prevent creases forming. In the warmer months, open your windows and doors to improve air flow and speed up the drying process.

Removing stains from upholstery

All furniture is prone to wear and tear, and no matter how diligent you are, spills and stains are likely to occur, especially in a busy, commercial setting. The good news is that most stains can be treated without too much effort and without risks to the furniture, and we’ve put together a short guide to show you how.

Creating your own cleaning product can help you save more money than hiring a professional to do the job. 

Combine one cup of biodegradable soap with one cup of warm water and shake the mixture until it forms a viscous foam.
Apply the foam to the furniture until the dirt is removed. Do not let the fabric get too wet. To do this, use a soft bristle brush as it helps clean the furniture without soaking it. To remove the excess moisture, use a dry cloth and let the furniture dry.

Another great solution to remove spots or stains is to use club soda and hydrogen peroxide. Be careful in using this solution, not all fabric reacts well to it. Test a sample fabric first and see the results.

While it may be tempting to use the same cleaner for a multitude of furniture in your café, bar, or restaurant, it's important to understand that not all disinfectants and cleaning products are created equal. In fact, one cleaning product for a specific piece of furniture can act as a finish stripper on another. Avoid damaging the look of your furniture by following our tips below.

Deep cleaning fabric furniture

Until a spillage occurs or a stain mysteriously appears, it can be easy to forget about deep cleaning your upholstery, especially if you run a bustling café or restaurant. Given how often these items of furniture are used, and how much hidden dirt and dust builds up on them, it’s important to freshen them up every now and then.

White vinegar is a great natural stain remover for most types of fabric furniture.

  • Start by blotting the stain with equal parts water and vinegar, mixed together.
  • Using a clean microfibre cloth, start blotting and gently wiping the stain.
  • Follow up with a mixture of mild detergent and tepid water to remove any lingering vinegar smell.
  • Leave to dry naturally. For the best results, always tackle the stain as soon as possible. 

Trent top tip:

To keep your fabric furnishing items smelling as good as they look, sprinkle bicarbonate of soda all over the surface and the leave it over night to let the powder absorb the smells. Remember to vacuum it all off in the morning.

Cleaning wooden furniture

There might be times when your wood furniture needs a deep clean. Prior to cleaning, it is important to make sure the surface can withstand any soaps or cleaners you use. If the surface of the wood is significantly damaged — for example, if it has a lot of scratches or water stains — your best bet might be to send it to a professional or a conservator for care and cleaning.

Trent top tip:

Unless your furniture has a protective plastic coating, avoid cleaning with water or commercial cleaning products that are not specifically designed for wood.

Using an oil based commercial wood cleaner will cut through the layers of dirt and wax on the surface of your piece of wooden furniture. Harder stains such as watermarks or alcohol spots can also be cleaned, but will require a stronger solution such as polish. 

If wood cleaner alone doesn't bring the furniture back to its original lustre, switch to a solution of warm water and liquid detergent. Apply the mixture with a cloth, taking care not to let the wood get too wet. Rinse the area thoroughly, and dry with a soft, clean cloth to avoid water damage to the wood.

At Trent, we pride ourselves in providing high quality furniture, as well as outstanding customer service. Our friendly team are on hand to answer any furniture related questions you may have - why not give us a call

2019 dining trends that your restaurant needs to know about

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2019 is here, and the New Year brings with it new trends for restaurants to follow. When it comes to dining trends, The NPD Group has identified some areas that will grow in 2019 and shape out-of-home dining.

Veganism

Veganism has probably been on restaurant trend lists for quite a few years now but it still seems that restaurants aren’t doing enough. The number of vegans is growing year on year; just three years ago in 2016 the number of vegans stood at 500,000 and since then this number has rocketed to over 3.5 million!

Veganism’s pull will see almost as many people give up meat and dairy (5%) in January this year as the 6% taking part in Dry January, according to VoucherCodes.co.uk.

Although more are trialling the lifestyle in January, operators are encouraged to not view veganism as a short-term fad. Operators who embrace veganism beyond January with balanced menus and make alterations to offerings with vegans in mind will truly reap the rewards.

Smaller menus

Would you rather sift through a large menu filled with dozens of options or have a concise menu with accomplished dishes? Larger menus generally symbolise a lack of quality. Yes, there is more variety and chance to attract different palettes, but the chances of you being able to do each of these dishes to a good standard is minimal.

There is a movement towards slimmer menus with a focus on quality. Do what you do best and you’ll gain a reputation in the area. Simple. If you do burgers, just do burgers. And do them well.

A slimmer menu will also mean less complexity, a cut supply chain, lower food costs and less waste. Condensing your menu makes things easier and better for you and the customer.

Transparency

Does your restaurant list the contents and sources of all the food on your menu? Customers are more aware than ever before of the environmental impact of certain raw materials and expect some to question you about the food and ingredients if you don’t have the listed.

If you’ve got nothing to hide, don’t be shy in showing where your food comes from – transparency is key! 

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