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The Royal Opera House

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Antony Barnett, head of props at the Royal Opera House:

“As you’d expect, we use a variety of suppliers to stage all of our productions. The items that we received from Trent were exactly what we need for this new ballet production.”

“The speed at which the furniture arrived was great, they came a month before the production is even planned to start which is great!”

The Royal Ballet purchased loopback side chairs and a bentwood table for use in a new ballet production named Strapless.

See the case study here.

How to set the mood in your restaurant with the right furniture

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With the restaurant industry being one of the most fiercely competitive business ventures in the world, it’s vital that your branding and theme are consistent and powerful. One of the most important and underrated pieces to this puzzle is the furniture; using the right restaurant furniture can set the mood in your restaurant perfectly.

High-end restaurants and minimalist design furniture

Modern high-end restaurants should embrace minimalist design with their furniture to draw attention to the exceptional taste of the food and the scenery. Leather chairs could be used instead of more traditional wooden restaurant chairs; leather restaurant chairs are often largely covered in one singular block colour making them extremely versatile to any colour scheme. Cream or white leather chairs can be used to open up the room with their light designs, whilst darker greys or blacks can fit in with the typically dark interiors of high-end establishments.

Metal restaurant table legs fit superbly within a modern high-end restaurant, when combined with either a chrome or granite coated table top they can add character to the dining experience. The granite coating in particularly provides an easier to clean solution over more traditional wood tables.

Lighting, colour scheme and music for setting the tone

Aside from the furniture: lighting, colour scheme and music are all important factors to take into account for public eating environments. With a higher end establishment you should use your location as a main factor for your design. If you can offer impressive views you’ll want natural light from windows and light colour tones such as creams or whites. Natural wooden chairs may work better than leather chairs in this example.

If you’re down a city street with nothing exceptional in front of your restaurant then you’ll have to use dark colours inside to create an intimate atmosphere. In higher end restaurants music should be subtle, with the atmosphere primarily being created by your colour scheme and cuisine.

Casual dining tips and advice for business

For a laid-back casual themed restaurant you must embrace comfort with homely furniture and a friendly dining atmosphere. Old fashioned large armchairs, wide coffee tables and booths providing areas that customers can relax in for longer than the usual restaurant experience. Using soft brown colours for the restaurant chairs and surrounding them with wooden tables and panels will provide a warm, casual atmosphere similar to that in coffee shops.

Casual restaurant chains such as Frankie & Benny’s do this superbly. Within the restaurant you’ll find large amounts of booths and comfortable and convenient seating options such as double sided padded leather seats. By separating the restaurant into sections like many successful casual restaurants you’ll allow free flowing conversation between guests and a happy customer experience.

Music should be used, with some casual dining chains even having their own radio stations to be used nationwide to ensure their theme is kept consistent. It helps add atmosphere to restaurants that are often distracting with their busy turnover of tables and high levels of waiting staff. Particularly in family friendly restaurants this should be embraced as a useful distraction for children. Selected Buddies restaurants have a train track running around the restaurant with portable TVs playing children’s shows on, a novel idea that attracts families to their restaurant.

When family friendly is your main concern there are lots of crossovers with casual restaurants. Comfortable booths and restaurant chairs are a must, with kids known for their unlikeliness to sit still in public places. Colour scheme is also important for family friendly furniture, bold colours (such as red) should be used to draw attention and provoke a fun atmosphere. Family friendly restaurant tables need an easy-to-clean top, such as laminate, to prevent any damage, as accidents easily happen in family friendly restaurants.

Bistro restaurants

When bistros are mentioned, elegance, modesty and remarkable home cooked meals spring to mind. In terms of design simplicity is vital; whereas modern restaurants embrace fully bodied leather chairs, bistros tend to prefer traditional wooden chairs and small wooden tables. Known for their rustic looks and small spaces, bistros have to make the most of their furniture so you’re unlikely to see long banqueting tables taking up the corner of the room. If you’re trying to style a bistro, stick with dark wooden furniture and you can’t go wrong.

With bistros the use of natural light should be embraced as much as possible, wooden furniture works better with sunlight as opposed to artificial lighting. Similar to high-end dining, music should be subtle or non-existent. In small restaurants you don’t want overpowering or loud music ruining the dining experience.

Transform your pub into the perfect wedding venue

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Transform your pub into the perfect wedding venue

The wedding season is now upon us, and many couples are turning to bars and pubs as the perfect setting for their special day. The internet is full of successful wedding stories, and pub weddings are becoming more popular as intimate venues compared to larger destinations such as country halls. All it takes is a little creativity to take your local and turn it into the ideal wedding venue.

Lighten the mood

Colour and theme are one of the first decisions made when planning a wedding and it’s important to be flexible to cater for anything chosen. According to Confetti, the most popular wedding colours of last year were cool pastels, with purple coming in a close second. Rustic themes are rising in popularity, although dark woods and exposed brickwork may be too harsh to fit perfectly within certain wedding themes. Using shabby chic furniture in cream or white could be beneficial and solutions such as organza hanging delicately from the walls with twinkling fairy lights can transform the room simply, incorporating theme and bringing the room together.

Away from the walls, there are many opportunities to lighten up the atmosphere. Tablecloths, place settings and candles are all great ways to integrate theme, brighten the room and add elegance to the pub furniture. In the Wedding Report’s 2016 quarterly, only 14% of people voted that they loved patterned tablecloths, with the rest being indifferent or opposing the idea. Solid-coloured table cloths look great and draw attention to the main focal point of the table, the centrepiece.

Centrepieces are a great opportunity to pull together the wedding theme within your bar. Whether rustic wood combined with roses and tulips or intricate lights, the centre piece creates a central point which ties the whole room together so utilising this is the perfect way to draw away from the pub atmosphere and bring it together to be the perfect wedding venue.

Traditional wooden pub chairs and tables may be too dark for wedding furniture, consider replacing them with traditional Chiavari wedding chairs. In the popular limewash colour the chairs add elegance and lightness that you wouldn’t usually receive with pub furniture.

Finishing the look with lighting, whether bright and bold or intricate and quaint, creates a magical atmosphere within any space. Use lights to subtly transform your bar and wow guests as the day turns into the evening.

Wedding flowers

Stick to what you do well

Your venue would have been picked for a reason, and a big part of it will be down to the fact that you’re good at what you do. Whether that is amazing food or a great selection of ales, the trick is to keep that central to your offering. Don’t try to only offer what you would expect at traditional wedding venues, if the couple wanted this they would have gone there to begin with.

Think of creative solutions to present food, food stations are becoming more popular and getting creative with your delivery can make all the difference. The design of the station is important. Whether incorporating chalk boards to display food items or mirrored plates, the little details here can make the difference to your presentation.

Getting local businesses involved adds a family aspect to the day, whether local ales or locally sourced food you are sure to keep guests happy as well as knowing you’re doing your bit for the community.

Bar stools should retain their purpose, adding a casual feel to the reception. Pub weddings are often chosen for their comfort, so don’t be scared of leaving some of the other pub furniture around, particularly comfortable armchairs, sofas and low pub tables.

Bar weddings, although more intimate, are still meant to be fun. Keep everything light-hearted and you’re sure all of the guests can enjoy the day. Making sure there is space for entertainers, DJ’s or dancing is a sure way to keep guest entertained as well as ensuring your space doesn’t feel too cramped.

Wedding feet bride and groom

Accommodate the children

Kids play an important role at weddings, and as these days can seem long it is important that there are plenty things to do to keep the children entertained. There is a lot that can be done other than separating a table and thinking outside the box can go down well with both the children and their parents.

Space permitting, why not try a cinema room? Bean bags, cushions and a favourite Disney film ensure the kids can remain safe and entertained for a couple of hours. It’s not unusual to have someone there to keep an eye on the children letting their parents relax in the process.

Board games are a great way to keep everyone entertained. Games such as snakes and ladders or handmade oversized games are great fun and get everyone involved.

A kids menu is a must and presentation is vital. Whether you opt for cardboard boxes or brightly coloured plates, keeping it different from the adults will add a sense of occasion for the kids. Serving favourites such as nuggets and chips ensure everyone remains happy and will keep the kids sweet and on your side.

Out of the box solutions keep your venue fresh and encourages people to recommend you in the future.

Social Media Reach

Social media is a great way to promote your pub, and weddings are the perfect opportunity to market your venue in all of its beauty. Get permission from the couple and take quality photos from the day; th?e food, décor and flowers are all things that people are interested in and highlight your venue in the best light.

How to design and run a successful restaurant - Comprehensive Guide

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So, you’ve decided you want to quit the 9-5 job and start running your own restaurant – great! You’re probably a confusing mix of excited and worried right now, and that’s completely natural. After all, there’s a lot to consider when it comes to designing and running a successful restaurant. Get it wrong, and customers will flock to one of your many competitors instead.

To get you started, we’ve put together this helpful guide, which will help you make those initial decisions on theme, design and furniture style, while also providing tips on how to attract customers. 

Let’s get started!

bustling restaurant bar

Choosing a theme for your restaurant 

You probably already have a good idea about what sort of restaurant you want to open, but you need to refine that concept further. If you want to run an Italian restaurant, what sort of eatery do you want to it be? Do you want families to flock to your business, or would you prefer your premises to be a little more upmarket? The audience should be your starting point.

Once you’ve decided on your audience, you should take some time to research them a bit more. What do young adults want from a modern fast food restaurant? Are there any extra considerations when catering for families? If you can’t answer these questions easily, you need to go out there and ask! Make sure to investigate your competitors too: what could you do different/better in order to stand out?

Be sure that your restaurant will suit the area it’s opening in, too. A budget American diner is sure to look out of place in a small rural village. 

themed restaurant

How to choose restaurant furniture

Now you know what type of restaurant you’re going to run and who your audience is, you need to purchase some furniture. With hundreds of designs to choose from, it’s a much more complicated task that just buying ten of the same table and chair sets, though. Again, the furniture you pick needs to fit with your theme.

For example, if you’re recreating a 1950s American diner, you’ll want the traditional red and white booths and aluminium tables. If you’re going to run an upmarket Japanese restaurant, you might want to opt for dark oak squareback side chairs, paired with rectangular shaker tables.

Don’t forget the other areas of your restaurant – if you’re having a bar you’ll need stools. Want to create a comfortable area where customers can wait for a table to become available? Some sofas might be a good idea. Outdoor furniture capable of weathering rain, wind and the sun is a must if you’re planning on having any outside eating areas.

You’ll also need to offer tables of various sizes, to account for small and large dining groups.

Laying out your restaurant

Once you’ve got your furniture, you need to decide where it’s all going to go! Layout is a big deal – it can have a huge impact on how successful for business is, as it will affect how your staff and customers move around the restaurant. Pack too many tables into one place and customers are going to feel cramped and claustrophobic, but if there’s too much dead space, your establishment will appear empty.

We recommend leaving at least 45cm between the seats at different tables, but the exact distance you choose will be down too what type of experience you’re trying to create. In fine dining restaurants, it’s much more common for the tables to be further apart, as it gives diners more privacy and makes the establishment feel more open. If you’re running a fast food restaurant, you’re not expecting your customers to stick around that long and will want to provide seating for as many people as possible, so you might choose a closer layout.

Most importantly, you need to think about how your staff are going to move around the restaurant. No customer wants to feel as if they are in a passageway though, or constantly surrounded by other people. Keep circulation routes to a minimum and ensure that wherever someone is seating they’re able to get up and out easily.

How to attract customers to your restaurant

All set and ready to open? Great! But now the hard part begins – attracting customers to your restaurant. At first, you’ll have the benefit of being new; the locals will want to sample your fare, but how do you keep them coming back?

Employ friendly staff

If customers aren’t greeted with a smile, they’re unlikely to come back. After all, who wants to be served by a grumpy, unhelpful server? It seems obvious, but make sure you hire the right people. An awesome chef who can get food out efficiently is a must, while the front-of-house staff should be warm and welcoming. You’ll need to make sure they’re attentive, but not overbearingly so – leave customers in peace to eat and make sure someone’s there for them.

restaurant kitchen staff chef

Don’t go overboard on the menu

Some eateries think that the more options are on the menu, the better, but this isn’t always true. Your menu should be varied and cater to your audience – for example, if you run a family-friendly place, you must have a kids’ menu. Provide too much choice, however, and it’s bound to impact the quality of your food. If you have high standards, we suggest creating a smaller menu and perfecting the dishes you do serve.

simple menu selection

Provide special offers

Promoting your restaurant is a must and you should do so via a variety of formats. Before you launch, make sure you create:

  • A website which details how customers can find you and the type of food you serve (downloadable menus are also helpful)
  • Profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and any other platforms your target audience is likely to use

Once you have the basics in place, you can start to promote your business – one of the best ways to do this is to provide special offers. These could range from anything from showing off a new, affordable set menu to giving out 20% off vouchers. You can use the following tactics to get word out about these offers:

  • An email or text message campaign – this is an easy and inexpensive way to get in touch with customers who are happy to be contacted by your business
  • Adverts in local magazines/newspapers and online
  • Posts via social media – use paid promotion to reach the largest audience possible
  • Physical signs outside your establishment, to bring people in off the street

There are lots of ways to advertise your business; try different methods and offers to entice customers on and see which ones have the most success.

Cater for the holidays

There are some times of year which are a bit more special than others, notably Christmas, Halloween, Valentine’s Day and Easter, and it’s important to celebrate them in your restaurant. Depending on the theme or style of your restaurant, you may want to only mark particular holidays: for example, a fine-dining establishment probably isn’t going to be interested in highlighting Halloween, and for a Chinese restaurant, the New Year is going to be the most important annual event.

Whatever time of year you’re planning to celebrate, you need to make it come to life in your restaurant. You could create a special menu, redesign the restaurant just for the night or even have a themed promotion. 

If you’d like more information on how to transform your restaurant for the holidays, check out our blogs on how to cater for lovers on Valentine’s Day and merry-makers at Christmas.

We wish you and your restaurant business the best of luck, whether it’s due to launch tomorrow or the concept is in its very earliest of stages. If you would like further advice when it comes to furniture, please give us a call on 0116 2988 970 or 0116 2988 424. Alternatively, you can fill in our enquiry form and we’ll get back to you.

Related reading

Here are some extra restaurant industry reads, tips and advice from our blog.

Applewood Hall

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Kiera Goymour, wedding planner at Applewood Hall:

“Having researched a number of suppliers, Trent Furniture came out top on value for money, speed of response and delivery. The Trent Furniture team were also a pleasure to deal with and responded to queries promptly.

"Thanks to the new furniture our event space is now much more modern, elegant and airy. We’ve had lots of positive comments.” 

The wedding venue ordered 200 lime wash Chiavari chairs.

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