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In response to the demands of the environmentally-conscious consumer, eco-friendly products have altered our attitudes, from how we eat to what we buy, and decorating and furnishing our spaces is no exception.  As the interest in sustainable furniture continues to grow, we’ve put together some expert advice to filling your café, bar or restaurant with environmentally-friendly furniture.

Where do I start?

Founded upon the recycling loop, where furniture can be continually reused, the search for eco-friendly furniture begins with research.  Nowadays, it’s easy to spot sustainable furniture as companies certify the source of their materials. To help you make more informed furniture choices, we recommend reading up on the various certifications and their meanings, as well researching into the background of the store or supplier you are buying from.

Buy local

Eco-friendly doesn’t have to mean brand new, and furnishing your café, restaurant or pub with second-hand furniture decreases the need for new resources. You can still up-cycle your pieces to match the theme of your establishment; there’s nothing a lick of paint or new fabric cover can’t fix.

Look out for recycled materials

The list of recyclable materials is growing! This means more and more furnishing products made from cork, rubber, straw and flax, for example, are appearing in the showrooms of furniture stores. These materials, once they have come to the end of their usable life span, can easily be recycled, therefore helping to avoid the ever-increasing amount of landfill waste.

Fix it!

Often overlooked is the durability of quality-made products. If a piece of furniture, a solid oak table for example, can be easily repaired, it decreases the chances of it ending up in landfill. As well as decreasing your carbon footprint, continuing to repair rather than replace your furniture will also save you some extra cash, too!

What to do when you’ve finished with your furniture

Trends and tastes do change over time and what’ve we come to love can often no longer spark the same sense of joy in us that it once did. It may seem obvious, but continuing to recycle is key to keeping the cycle moving, and more importantly, keeping the environment more sustainable.

At Trent, we recognise the responsibility we have to help safeguard the environment for the future. That’s why all of our wood comes from sustainable and properly-managed sources. To find out more information about our recycling policies or to get in touch with one of our industry experts, contact us via phone or email.

T: 0116 2989 906 or 0116 2983 688

If you cast your minds back to 2017, you’ll remember that Trent Furniture at the time was pleased to be asked to furnish a cocktail bar in a newly refurbished warehouse in London.

Despite the short notice, we were able to provide seating to Hawker House, a refurbished space filled with dozens of separate street food and bar options for customers to choose from; including Caffe Torino, a cocktails and aperitifs bar for which the furniture was assigned to.

Read all about the furniture project.

Event and Venue Furniture from Trent

Now, at Trent Furniture, we always like to see our furniture being put to good use, and at Hawker House, the tall bentwood stools and loopback side chairs certainly have been. There are regular events at the venue and every weekend the array of bars and street food options are open to punters.

New UK Furniture Makers Market

Over the coming months, though, they’ll be getting some additional usage as the venue welcomes a Makers Market alongside the usual food and drink options that are open every Friday and Saturday.

Makers Market will see a host of for independent traders who design, make and sell their own work descend upon the venue. The market has a carefully selected line-up of over 40 of London’s top independent designers and makers!

As if that’s not enough for you to go, the amazing food traders and bars will be opening from midday (five hours earlier than usual) so you can pop into Caffe Torino for a few drinks whilst browsing the market stalls.

The market is coming to the venue on April 6th and May 4th. If you are attending one of the dates, we’d love for you to send some pictures of our furniture over. You can tag us in your pictures on Facebook and Twitter. 

Veganism isn’t going anywhere. The lifestyle is well and truly here to stay and new figures show that restaurants and eateries are hopping on the trend, with a host of vegan-only restaurants sprouting up across the country.

Vegan restaurant increase

According to Local Data Company, the number of vegan restaurants in the UK increased by 55% in the 12 months to January 2019. The bulk of which were, of course, found in London with 18 different vegan-only options available in the English capital. The next region with the most vegan restaurants is Yorkshire and the Humber with 12 (Sheffield boasts the most here).

While these numbers might appear small in the grand scheme of things, they only refer to vegan-only restaurants, not taking into account restaurants that have added vegan items to their menus.

If figures showed restaurants with at least one vegan option on the menu, the numbers would be in the thousands.

Veganism by numbers

According to the National Diet and Nutrition Survey, there are around 600,000 vegans in the UK. This only equates to just 1% but numbers are increasing year on year, and show no signs of slowing down.

Furthermore, a third of UK consumers have deliberately reduced the amount of meat they eat or removed it from their diet entirely. And 1 in 5 Brits would consider going vegan according to The Vegan Society.

Adding vegan options to restaurant

Having something for everyone is important for restaurants.

Picture a group of eight diners with one vegan. By not accommodating all eaters, you are sacrificing losing eight seats simply because you don’t have food options for the vegan. Whilst your clientele might not be ready for you to make the full switch to a vegan menu, it’s vital for operators to have at least a selection of options for vegans and vegetarians alike. Restaurants who don’t follow their customers’ habit will pay the price.

Looking back a year or two, it was difficult for vegans to dine out but in the modern day it’s now expected that there is at least one options for vegans on the menu. Nationwide restaurants such as Zizzis, Wagamama and Nandos have added vegan dishes to their menus – so what’s your excuse?

Ethically-sourced commercial furniture

If you are pitching yourself as an ethical restaurant. Your ethical choices need to run through the heart of your business, including your choice of furniture.

All of the wood used to make our furniture as a business comes from sustainable and properly managed sources. Not only that, but, where possible, we also merge orders so that numerous deliveries are fulfilled on each journey, meaning the carbon footprint of each delivery is lowered. And because most of our deliveries are made using our own vans, we need much less plastic packaging material.

Have you been toying with the idea of adding a much-needed splash of colour to your establishment for a while now? Well, we’ve got some welcome news: we’ve added some new colours to our Bella Chair range!

The new mint green and orange Bella chairs mean we now have a whopping eight different options for you to choose from! Priced at just £25.90 + vat this not only a hugely stylish and iconic furniture piece but a budget-friendly option, too.

The new additions come at a welcome time, with cafés, bars and restaurants all switching their dark and industrial interiors that have been popular in recent years to natural atmospheres with splashes of bright colour. Colour palettes are becoming bright and being paired with airy, natural textures.

What is the Bella chair?

The Bella chair is a chair inspired by the famous Tolix design, which originated across the English Channel in France over 80 years ago. The original was designed by Xavier Pauchard in the 1930s and it wasn’t long until the style of chair was found in restaurants, cafes, bistros and bars. 

In the years since, Pauchard tweaked the design to create a stackable chair that was stylish and was suitable for outdoor and indoor use. The timeless design means that it still remains popular today!

There are many reproductions of the infamous Tolix Chairs on the market, but we believe the Bella Chair has the edge.

Bella chair features

- Created using high quality steel for durability
- Stackable up to ten chairs high
- Rubber feet to protect flooring
- Finished with UV resistant paint
- Available in a range of attractive colours

Ordering the Bella chair

For cafés, bars and casual restaurants, the super stylish, versatile and practical Bella chairs are a must-have with stacking capabilities for storage. If you are looking to add some colourful furniture to your establishment, browse the Bella chairs and the accompanying Bella tall stools on our site now.

If you’ve ever eaten in a restaurant where the dining tables are squashed together so that diners are almost clashing elbows with each other, there is a high likelihood that your response to the experience was: “Well, I’m not going back there again.” There’s a simple lesson here for anyone who runs a restaurant, a café or a dining room in a pub: however good the food is, however friendly your staff, however competitive your prices, if your customers don’t feel comfortable, your business will suffer. Figures suggest that 2019 is going to be another challenging year for the casual dining, so anything that gives your business a competitive edge will be welcome.

Whether you are setting up a new business, or redesigning an existing space, if you are tempted to squeeze in a few more tables or places to maximise your revenue, remember that restaurants are heavily reliant on returning customers. If your customers have not had a good experience, they won’t come back. They are also likely to spend less while they are there. A 2009 study in America found that diners in restaurants with less space between tables stayed for less time and spent less.

Space: the final frontier

Rule number one, then, when you are making the most of your dining space, is that there should be around 18 inches between chairs and tables, and 24 inches between the backs of chairs on adjacent tables. This gives diners space to spread out, and it means they can talk in relative privacy. If a space is used as a service aisle by waiting staff, it should be wider still.

Of course, if you are running a fast-food joint, you can get away with more of a squeeze, as your customers will not be staying for long. On the other hand, for a fine dining establishment, customers will expect lots of space between tables. But for a typical restaurant or pub dining room, your need to maximise your revenues should be balanced by your customers’ need room to breathe, talk, stretch out. Remember too that there should be a clear path from every table to the main entrance, and to the lavatories.

If you are designing a dining space from scratch, it’s a good idea to visit other similar spaces to get an idea of what works, and what doesn’t. When you’re planning your space and thinking about what dining furniture to buy, try as much as possible to see things through your customers’ eyes.

Flexibility is the key

Remember, too, that while the typical dining table seats four people, most diners do not arrive in groups of four. Often they are in groups of three or five, or couples. Solo dining is also increasingly popular, and people who dine alone do not appreciate being shunted away in a corner like a naughty child in a classroom. Which brings us to principle number two: be flexible. Your arrangement should take into account the need to push tables together for larger groups of diners. So when you are ordering furniture, it’s best not to simply rely on tables that seat four. A variety of table sizes, and even table shapes will give you more flexibility - and will make your dining room look less like a chess tournament and more like something natural and organic.

Bear in mind, too, that booths are an efficient use of space: they seat more people per square foot. They eliminate your waiting staff’s need to go around all four sides of a table when taking orders or delivering food. Banquettes also use wall space efficiently. In cafes, the space alongside a window can be filled with a long counter with stools; solo diners are often happier when looking out at the world through a window.

Group thinking

Another trend to bear in mind is the rise of the communal table. The cafe-restaurant chain Le Pain Quotidien has been using these for many years, as have branches of Carluccio’s.

Communal eating is a way of dining that comes from Continental Europe and also from China and Japan, where people are less hung up about sitting near strangers. It is, as you might expect, particularly popular with younger people, who move in groups of varying size and often decide to eat on a whim. And the good news for anyone running a restaurant or dining room is that the communal table is a remarkably efficient use of space - it can accommodate solo diners, couples and groups.

A communal table could either be a permanent large table, or you could create one by shunting together several tables - a tablecloth will cover the joins! Carluccio’s has even opened a restaurant in London’s Spitalfields with a communal table placed in the kitchen, where diners can witness the “theatre” of food being prepared - an innovative way to accommodate extra diners.

You will also of course need to bear in mind access for people with disabilities. The 2010 Equality Act spells this out in detail, but the law essentially states that restaurants and other catering outlets must make “reasonable” adjustments for people with disabilities - and that doesn’t just mean people with physical disabilities, such as wheelchair users, but also those with hearing impairments or visual impairments.

It all stacks up

If you have an outdoor space for use in the warmer months, remember that today’s outdoor furniture is durable and weather-resistant - and often stackable, meaning that chairs and tables can be efficiently stacked away when the space is not being used. Trent Furniture’s Capra table is attractive, durable, requires minimal maintenance and goes well with Trent’s wood-effect Monaco stacking chair.

There are other tricks to help you to use your space more efficiently. Using hanging lights, rather than table lamps, will increase the amount of space available on the table. Even making your menus smaller, rather than the vast unwieldy things that are often handed out in restaurants, can make a difference. Try not to have too much clutter on your tables. And do you have space for a small bar next to the reception area? This will enable you to further maximise revenues while your customers are waiting for their table.

Walking in someone else’s shoes

When you have finished designing and furnishing your dining room, now is the time to check it out. There is only one way to do this: sit in every single seat. Spend some time in each one. Does it feel hemmed in? Will waiting staff be able to reach it easily? Is it easy to reach the lavatory? What is the view like? If you are facing towards a wall, perhaps some artwork or soft lighting will improve the view. Try, as much as possible, to walk in your customers’ shoes and to see things through their eyes.

Finally, remember that commercial-grade furniture is built for the job: it is made to last, and it is robustly constructed to withstand the rigours of daily use. Domestic furniture will simply not be up to the task.

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