News & Media


Filter by
Posted by

The origins of Valentine's Day

As Monty Python’s “Life of Brian” famously asked: “What have the Romans ever done for us?” Well, for one thing, they gave us Valentine’s Day – or at least that’s what many historians think. One theory about the origins of this special day for love and romance goes back to the 4th century AD, when the Roman emperor Claudius II was fighting to resist the rising tide of Christianity.  In Rome, a priest named Valentine was offering secret Christian marriages, his subterfuge was discovered and he was put to death, later martyred by the Catholic church, and is now remembered on St Valentine’s Day, February 14th.

Why Valentine's Day is important for restaurants

Fast-forward 1,700 years, and today Valentine’s Day is a big celebration – and big business, too. Last year total UK spending on Valentine’s Day was £1.9 billion. The biggest chunk of that spending went on restaurants, with £557 million, so Friday February 14th is clearly an opportunity for your restaurant to increase its takings – and also to encourage customers to return by offering them a memorable experience.

Make Valentine's Day a full weekend event for your restaurant

Wondering how to get more customers in your restaurant for Valentine’s Day? One great way is to extend it. The chances are that Friday evening itself will be heavily oversubscribed, so you could offer a Valentine’s lunch or even a specially themed Valentine's brunch. And you could offer Valentine’s specials on Saturday and Sunday too. In fact, it might make sense to ‘rebrand’ this year’s Valentine’s Day as ‘Valentine’s Weekend’, perhaps setting aside an area of your restaurant over three days for romantic dining. As an incentive, you could offer a discount to customers who book for Valentine’s meals, or ‘extras’ such as a free glass of fizz.

Create the right restaurant atmosphere for Valentine's Day

Couples will want to feel that this is a special day for them, so they will want an evening that’s intimate, warm and personal. What diners don’t want is to feel that they are being crammed in, processed and rushed through like airline passengers. While it’s tempting for restaurants to take this approach and squeeze in the tables to increase short-term profit, in the long term this could be counter-productive as it will discourage diners from coming back. So keep your restaurant furniture spaced out so that people can enjoy some privacy.

It is worth remembering, too, that the ‘pink pound’ is increasingly important; make sure that you are not just aiming at men and women but at gay couples too.

Promote your restaurant's Valentine's Day with quality advertising

If you are advertising or promoting your Valentine’s offering, make sure it’s done tastefully and professionally. A poorly designed A4 poster taped to your restaurant window will not make much impact. Find a good local designer or print shop who can make something elegant and unique to your restaurant.

If your restaurant plays background music, you could offer a ‘requests’ service: when your customers are booking a table, ask them if there are any songs they would like to hear (most couples will have track that’s ‘our song’). Someone on your staff with musical and technical know-how could compile a CD or a playlist with romantic tunes, and intersperse them with your customers’ requested tracks. Alternatively you could hire live musicians – an acoustic band, say, or even a string quartet (is there a local music college with young players keen to get performance experience?). But wherever your music is coming from, keep the volume at reasonable levels. People want to be able to talk to each other across the table.

Valentine's Day restaurant table decoration

The tables themselves need to be decorated, but keep it tasteful. A single red rose in an elegant vase, or simply laid across a plate, can have much more impact than a bunch of flowers (and remember, again, that people want to look and talk to each other without too many flowers getting in the way). You will need a specially-designed menu, which could feature famous quotes about love and romance. (Not all of them need to be slushy either; familiar lines such as Robert Burns’s ‘My love is like a red, red rose’ could be balanced by Dorothy Parker’s world-weary quips such as, ‘My own dear love, he is all my world - And I wish I'd never met him.’)

Romantic touches for Valentine's Day restaurant décor

Candlelight is very flattering, while scented candles will add to the atmosphere. Red and pink are the obvious colours for tablecloths and napkins, but don’t overdo it. A nice touch is to arrange cutlery and a small plate to spell out the word 'love'. Fresh rose petals and Valentine’s ‘confetti’ could be sprinkled across the table and napkins could be folded into heart shapes. But don’t clutter up the table: your diners will want to be able to reach out, touch and hold hands. Helium balloons are a no-no; strictly for children’s parties.

If you have offered your customers a complimentary glass of something fizzy, remember that today’s wine-drinkers are increasingly sophisticated and they know when they are being given cheap, over-sweet Cava, so give them something more sophisticated such as a pink Prosecco or a sparkling French rosé. Not everyone drinks alcohol, so perhaps non-drinkers could be given a special 'mocktail'.

Advice for Valentine's Day restaurant menus

As for the food itself: a set menu is fine; this is not a night when the food itself is the focus – people will be paying attention to each other. So a sharing menu is perhaps best, or a tasting menu with a succession of small dishes. There’s something romantic about two people sharing from the same plate. Heart-shaped food is obviously a big theme, but it is possible to overdo it, so keep it tasteful. French and Italian foods are the most popular among Valentine’s Day diners, according to research by the restaurant booking website Toptable. But whatever you serve, keep it light; there’s nothing romantic about reaching for the indigestion tablets.

Valentine's Day souvenir ideas for restaurants

At the end of the evening, send your diners on their way with some keepsakes. Offer them the menu, and perhaps a flower from the table, to take with them, maybe a couple of foil-wrapped heart-shaped chocolates too. This could all be stowed in a ‘goody bag’ for convenience. Does your restaurant have a website or a Facebook page? A picture of your customers on the way out, clutching their goody bags, could be taken at the reception desk and uploaded after the event (with their permission, of course).

If your customers have had a warm, romantic, memorable meal, the chances are they will be back for more – and not just on Valentine’s Day 2020 (which, if you’re interested, falls on a Friday).

The lights are up, the calendars are being opened and the brandy’s in the cupboard. Christmas is definitely coming, but luckily for you the worst thing spilled should be mulled wine, even if the turkey carving seems like a Game of Thrones-style execution.

Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) Christmas Hat

The number of restaurants open on Christmas day has been steadily rising over recent years with record numbers choosing to dine out in December – and why wouldn’t they? Dining out means a lot less fuss and no washing up but whether you’re focus is the big day or build up we have some great tips on how to decorate a restaurant for Christmas.

First impressions

It is also rooted in ancient European pagan festivals such as Yule, which took place in midwinter. During these festivals, people would bring green foliage inside as a reminder of the new growth that would come with when spring eventually arrived. Light was used to ward off the forces of cold and darkness, and bells were rung to scare off evil spirits.

Restaurant customers want a special time at Christmas; they want to feel that they are having a treat. What they don’t want is to feel that they are on a production line. If they are to be customers who will come back throughout the year and again next Christmas, it will pay to invest a little time, effort and money and go beyond just bells and baubles to make their Christmas dining experience a memorable one.

Add some light and warmth

So let’s begin with light and warmth. Your customers’ first impression of your restaurant begins outside, and it’s easy to introduce light here. Lights can be trailed or arranged in patterns; trailed around a door front, around window frames or around signage adding instant sparkle. And why not have a brazier of burning logs outside the front entrance? This is an easy, eye-catching and inexpensive way to add warmth and spirit. Passers-by will notice it, and perhaps pause to warm themselves.

Festive Christmas LED Lights

The front door, of course, should have a wreath, but one that’s distinctive; there’s no point in having the same wreath that everyone in the neighbourhood has bought from the local DIY superstore, so in order to make an impact, it’s worth ordering a bespoke wreath from a florist. Special or unusual decorations cause people to stop, talk and ask questions – all excellent ways to improve your customer engagement.

At the reception area, the front desk could be decorated with subtle trails of Christmas lights. A big jar of Christmas sweets at the reception area for passing children is also a nice touch that sends out a message of generosity without actually costing too much.

As for lighting indoors: anyone who has visited the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse in London, a reproduction of a theatre from the 17th century which is lit entirely by candles, will be aware that there’s something unique about candlelight – it seems to make everything and everyone it touches look glowingly beautiful. So a good sprinkling of candles will add to the festive atmosphere. And let’s not forget that Christmas is about smells, too, so some of these candles could be scented, with wintry, spicy aromas – cinnamon, cloves, orange, and fig.

Inside the restaurant, if you have a fireplace that’s usable, it must have a good, roaring fire in it. If the fireplace can’t be used, you can still make it a focal point with green foliage draped around it (this also adds to the fragrant atmosphere), with pine cones (perhaps sprayed with a dash of silver), with lights. Or if you are seeking a less fussy look, a simpler arrangement could be created from an array of birch logs (they have attractive silvery bark) and plain pine cones. Sometimes, simple is better.

Go bold for maximum impact

Indeed, it’s easy to overdo Christmas decorations; too much can make a place look cluttered and overpowering. When it comes to your restaurant interior it’s best to make your statements bold but sparing. Paper chains and tinsel can be seen as old-fashioned these days, so perhaps should be avoided. Red and green are the classic Christmas colours, traditionally in the form of holly and its berries, plus pine, and so on, so sprigs of these can be placed strategically around the restaurant, in vases, perhaps, or in bunches. But the poinsettia plant, with its vivid red foliage, has also become very popular; these could sit on windowsills or at the centre of each table. 

Poinsettia Plant

Another possible table centrepiece is a Christmas bouquet which mixes fresh flowers such as red roses with classic Christmas elements such as sprigs of spruce and berries (artificial one are fine). The ideas website Pinterest is an excellent source of inspirational suggestions, such as this Christmas centrepiece featuring foliage and colourful citrus fruits. Also on the table, napkins folded into festive shapes can be another talking point – a Christmas tree shape is easily done, as demonstrated in this YouTube video.

An awe-inspiring tree

The tree itself is of course an essential part of Christmas décor – but again, beware the over-cluttered look. And a Christmas tree is not the only place for baubles. These can be arranged and displayed in a large glass vase, for instance, perhaps with pine cones scattered through them. Or a large outdoor lantern can be filled with a combination of different sized baubles and fairy lights for a wonderful glowing effect. Another unusual look can be achieved by half-filling large square glass vases with salt for a ‘snowy’ appearance, then ‘planting’ this snowscape with natural branches of birch or willow.

Leave them feeling happy, wanted and full

Christmas crackers will inevitably be part of the occasion, but when these are cheap or from the high street, people will notice, so it’s worth seeking out something a little more unusual; the website has an excellent selection. Your guests will appreciate something to keep them amused and entertained, so perhaps each festive table could be provided with an array of party props such as these from Pipii – your guests will have fun wearing these and photographing each other (or, in this age of the selfie, themselves) in fake moustaches, hats and suchlike.

As for the waiting staff: rather than the ubiquitous red and white bobbly Christmas hat, it would be worth getting creative and coming up with your own Christmas-themed accessories and trimmings: a white fur band with a sprig of holly (or even mistletoe) worn around the head for the waitresses, perhaps with earrings in the form of Christmas tree baubles; chaps might wear a festive bow tie and red and black clothing, perhaps with a festive buttonhole flower such as a carnation or a rose.

Finally, what customers don’t want to see is the same tired old Christmas stuff being brought out year after year. They will notice. Each Christmas is a chance to freshen up the traditions that go back thousands of years – while still keeping that essential Christmas spirit.

With a growing demand for space more and more golf clubs are looking to diversify their offering and facilities, making themselves more dynamic and moving towards self-sustaining models. Their success proves that you don’t have to love golf to love the clubhouse.

Creating an adaptable space opens your doors to a whole new range of customers and helps to diversify revenue streams. One such club that is reaping the benefit of reinvestment and refurbishment is Sandy Lodge Club in Middlesex.

Sandy Lodge Golf Club has prospered in recent years


The North West London club has never been reluctant to make improvements both on and off the course and its forward-thinking approach has since been rewarded. The improvement to facilities has enhanced the overall reputation of the club and has surely contributed to its recent successes; in 2014 it was chosen to host the English Senior Women’s Championship and this year it was selected as a Regional Open qualifying venue until 2019.

The clubhouse added a larger kitchen, dining room and bar in 1997 which gave them a solid platform for further development. Major renovation and redecoration followed in 2007 with new curtains, carpets, lighting and golf club furniture with input from refurbishment experts Trent Furniture. With more options and a new feel the Clubhouse is now available for hire by non-members as well as members.

With room to stage weddings the club now offers a full range of reception packages accommodating up to 120 seated guests, the added flexibility in seating options alone has opened new avenues for them. Similar functions including meetings and small conferences are catered for as well as everything from small informal private lunch parties to full formal receptions.

Sandy Lodge dance floor featuring Buckingham aluminium chairs from Trent Furniture


Clive Bailey, the general manager of Sandy Lodge, said: ‘Prior to the enlargement, Sandy Lodge clubhouse was typical of a private members’ club. The work made us much more flexible and functional giving us additional space where we could hold functions without impacting on members’ enjoyment of the club.’

They now have the capabilities for corporate seminar, training sessions and offsite meeting facilities, attracting groups from a variety of industries that are looking for presentation and training rooms. The laid back feel of the lounge allows players and non-members alike to enjoy tea, coffee or a drink from the bar after a round of golf or a meal.

Bailey went on to add: ‘It is important to rely on experts’ opinion because they are able to provide advice on function as well as style.’ Buoyed by the positive response to their redecorations, further improvements are on the horizon to keep pace with an ever-growing and changing industry.


Read the original article from Golf Club Magazine here.

When purchasing furniture for your pub, bar restaurant or club it is important to consider not only the look of the furniture itself but to carefully consider the layout of the venue.  Design layout is an integral part of any establishment’s success and impacts hugely on how effectively the venue operates.  

A well thought out and effective layout will contribute directly to customers’ initial impression of the venue and ensure an enjoyable and comfortable experience. The layout of furniture is also crucial in ensuring staff can work efficiently which means they can provide a service of the highest standard and keep customers returning time and time again!
When considering the layout of the venue, it is important to position furniture to cater for various group sizes and requirements of different customers. There should be areas that customers can be on display if they desire but there should also be quiet retreat areas to cater for those who do not.

leather restaurant furniture, tables and chairs

Circulation Routes and Flow

When positioning furniture, you must carefully consider the circulation route which allows for people to move around effortlessly and comfortably. Staff must be able to move around with ease in order to provide an efficient, professional and high quality service to customers. After all, if things do not run smoothly, it is unlikely that customers will have an enjoyable dining experience and ultimately, return trade is also unlikely. To avoid this, ensure that there is adequate space between seating to allow for people to move chairs back from a table without obstructing the circulation route. Ideally there should be a minimum of about 40cm-50cm between chairs which are placed back to back.
However, it is also vital to strike a balance between a circulation route which allows for smooth movement around the area whilst also maximising the potential for customers and increasing profitability by getting as many ‘bums on seats’ as possible. This can be achieved by keeping circulation routes to a minimum -just enough to allow people to move around with ease and get up and down from tables effortlessly. When designing these routes, always consider the seated customer as you do not want them to be surrounded by people traffic constantly.
The perfect balance will ultimately leave satisfied customers, efficient staff and a welcoming ambiance.

Key Points:

  • Circulation routes need to provide sufficient space for staff to move with ease
  •  Adequate distance between seating is essential
  •  Routes should allow for flow of people but not cause customers to feel like they are sitting in a passageway


It is essential that adequate space is worked into the design layout of any pub, bar, restaurant or club as customers need to be able to access the seating with ease. Typically, we suggest leaving approximately 45cm between seating at different tables so that customers have sufficient room to get in and out at the table and ensure diners are not disturbed or knocked by people passing. However, this suggestion should be viewed solely as a guideline as the distance between tables will ultimately depend on the type of atmosphere you are trying to create. After all, half of the charm of French Bistro inspired restaurant is the proximity of the seating packed tightly into the venue whereas a fine dining experience requires generous spacing between tables to create a more elegant ambiance.

Key Points:

  • Approximately 45cm is a standard distance of chairs at one table to the next
  • Take into account the style of the restaurant and desired feel when planning the layout

restaurant furniture wooden chairs restaurant furniture wooden table and chairs


Various factors need to be considered when planning the positioning of furniture.  A mixture of table sizes and seating arrangements throughout can add visual appeal and square tables offer more flexibility as they can be relocated and manipulated to cater for assorted group sizes and small or large parties.
If you have a waiting area it is important that the furniture is positioned in view and in easy reach of the entrance so customers are able to take advantage of the seating available but located in a position which is not in any way blocking the entrance/exit. Choosing compact and firm sofas such as the Cuban range or versatile tub chairs such as the Bordeaux range is a good choice for waiting areas.
Combine high and low seating to add interest but separate the high seating from the low seating so the people in the lower level are not looked down on. To harmonise the separate areas and create coordinated look, try using the same design chairs or similar fabrics on both the low and high seating, such as our Boston or Washington ranges.

restaurant furniture

In some pubs or bars, it will be important to section off areas or offer some seating which is more private. Chair with high backs can be positioned in rows to create a barrier and increase privacy, whilst tables placed at certain angles can restrict view. Try the Abbruzzo chair as a high back leather dining chair if you want to increase privacy at particular tables or partition large groups from the rest of the customers.

Key Points:

  • Every table needs to be the best in the house so if the position doesn’t have view add armchairs or interesting visual pieces to the area
  • Separate areas can still be complementary if the styles are matching (have a look at our furniture packages for interesting ideas!)

Choosing the right stacking chairs…

It can be difficult determining what type of banquet furniture you should buy. Style, strength, comfort and cost are all factors which play an important role in choosing banquet chairs. Banquet chairs have always been a popular choice for large gatherings such as weddings, awards ceremonies, presentations and conferences, but they are also becoming increasingly popular for use in schools, sports clubs and local buildings, or simply as additional seating for peak times in restaurants and pubs. Depending on what the chairs will be used for, you will need to consider the following when selecting appropriate stacking chairs;


There is a vast range of different style stacking chairs available on the market so how do you know where to start? The shape, size, material and colour needs to be in tune with the space in which they are being used. Banquet chairs are available in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Banquet chairs

The economy standard banquet chair usually consists of a simple design in terms of frame shape and smaller dimensions for maximising space and easy storage-great for if you are tight on space of working to a budget! The Harrow steel stacking chair is a great example of an economy chair as it is a hardwearing and durable chair with compact dimensions, ability to stack and a frame design which allows the chair to be picked up for easy movement and storage. Available in three frame colours and a range of fabrics, the Harrow chair is great if you need a good quality banquet chair on a budget! Simple and compact designs are ideal in spaces where seating for a high volume of people is required, especially when space is tight. These stacking chairs are truly multi-functional and perfect for banquet venues, classrooms, canteens, halls and sports or social clubs!

stacking chairs

Alternatively, you may require a style chair with slightly larger dimensions and a more elegant frame design especially if they are being used for weddings, conferences or other occasions where a more sophisticated look is desired. Choosing an aluminium or wooden frame can also contribute to the overall look as it adds interest and detail to the chair.

The colour of the frame and fabric is also an important factor as the chairs should match the interior décor and accessories to ensure continuity and co-ordination in your venue. Banquet chairs are available in a variety of frame colours so it should be easy to find something that matches your interior. When it comes to upholstery, order samples of the fabric and try them out in the venue prior to ordering so you can be sure the colours work together to create the desired effect.


Because of the volume of people which attend these events or occasions, and the frequency that these types of chairs are in use, they must be designed to withstand heavy and sometimes excessive use. Strength and durability are vital when it comes to picking the perfect banquet chair.

Look for chairs which are tested by FIRA- a world leading furniture technology centre which tests furniture to ensure they meet British contract standards for strength and stability. A robust metal frame is a great choice to ensure the chairs will be tough, durable and survive in a busy contract environment. Trent Furniture offer both steel and aluminium frames are manufactured to the highest standards and have been tested by FIRA.


Banquet chairs should also be fairly light for easy movement and versatility specifically in a venue where the requirements and layout can change on a regular basis. These types of chair often need to be stored away when not in use so are manufactured with legs that allow for stacking on top of one another so a stacking bar built in is useful in order to protect the chairs and increase longevity. Unfortunately, you cannot completely escape the general wear and tear over a long period of time that will occur over a long period of time as a result of continually stacking the chairs. However, chairs which do not offer the stacking bar can result in the seat cushion being misshaped and worn over time.

chair trolley

You should be able to stack banquet chairs between 8-10 high for convenient storage so check with the supplier that this is the case. Most suppliers will also offer trollies for the chairs to make transportation of the chairs stress free and more efficient.

Buckingham stacking chairs


When it comes to banquet seating and the types of occasions this style of seating is used for, guests are often seated for large portions of the day/evening and the success of an event can rest largely on the comfort provided by the chairs. Evidently, choosing a chair which not only looks the part but is comfortable is extremely important.

Check that all foams and fabrics used in chairs are intended for contract use. They must be ‘Crib 5’ and meet all UK safety and fire resistance regulations. Suppliers should be able to provide certificates documenting this and if they can’t then you may want to look elsewhere before purchasing the chairs. At Trent Furniture, we upholster all of our chairs in our Leicester factory using only the highest quality UK manufactured combustion modified foam fillings to ensure lasting quality for years and years to come.

If possible, try out the chair yourself before purchasing them. Have a seat for a while and try to gauge how comfortable your guests/customers will be. A reputable company should have a showroom or sample service available so that you can trial the chair before committing to a bulk order. The sample service we offer at Trent Furniture offers free delivery so you don’t have to worry about expensive courier costs when viewing sample banquet furniture.


Buying chairs doesn’t have to be a stressful experience as long as you know what you are looking for and plan ahead to avoid expensive mistakes. Metal banquet chairs are the most commonly used chairs as they are strong sturdy and cost effective.

harrow stacking chairs gold frame

Consider a steel frame chair if budget is important as these are lily to be the cheapest option. Expect great value for money with steel chairs but don’t compromise on quality, no matter how great the price seems they must be built to last and supplier should be able to provide FIRA certification if they are to be used in a contract environment. At Trent Furniture, we pride ourselves on our unbeatable prices and high quality products. Steel banquet chairs starting at prices as low as £12.40 are available for fast UK delivery.

If you want a more sophisticated and luxury finish, you may want to consider spending a little more and opting for an aluminium frame stacking chair. Often available in gold or silver, these add a touch of elegance and also provide a slightly lighter alternative to steel-great for if they need to be moved around on a regular basis and you don’t plan in using a chair trolley to assist you.

Lastly, consider the purchase of banquet chairs a long term investment. They are assets that if handled and maintained properly will last years and years to come. Providing versatile seating perfect for all occasions, banquet chairs can be used for a wide range of purposes and events. The handy stacking feature means you don’t have to worry about storage and buying them will save you money in the long term on hiring from pricey catering and rental companies.

Sagepay Secure Payment Secure Payment