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How should I layout furniture in my restaurant?

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You’ve chosen the location, your menu is in development and fixtures and fittings are in place but what about the design of the dining area of your restaurant? Layout is fundamental in creating and running a successful restaurant. When you consider that on average, the dining space of a restaurant takes up two thirds of a restaurants total space it’s no wonder that planning of the area needs to be a priority. It’s near pointless having a top of the range kitchen and extraordinary menu if the interior and layout doesn’t work, doesn’t enable the venue to operate to its full potential and leaves customers dissatisfied.


1. Capacity

If you are asking yourself ‘Where do I begin in designing the layout of my restaurant?’ then the experts at Trent Furniture may have the answers you need! First things first, you need to calculate how many covers you can fit into the area. This will depend to some extent on the type and tone of the restaurant.  In a fast food restaurant setting, diners can be positioned much closer to one another, you can even introduce shared dining experiences and have seating within very close proximity to the next table. Less than 1 square metre per person would suffice. However, in a full service restaurant this would feel crowded and you need to allow more area per customer, anywhere between 1 and 1.5 Square Metres per diner is adequate and should enable you to work out a ball point maximum capacity for your restaurant. Depending on whether your restaurant offers fast food, buffet, full service dining or a fine dining experience will affect how much space you allow and ultimately what type of dining experience you want to create so consider this at the initial planning stages.

2.Size


Once you have figured out your maximum capacity, what next? When you know how many diners you can fit in, or at least have a good idea, you need to decide what size tables will work best. It is important to cater for various group sizes so a combination of square and rectangular tables is the ideal solution. Square tables are perfect for couples and rectangular for families or bigger groups. Then for large parties and events, the tables can be joined together to cater for more people if necessary. The combination of both square and rectangular tables in different sizes tables provides ultimate flexibility so you can adapt efficiently to meet the needs of your customers.

Answering the question of ‘What size tops will I need for my restaurant tables?’ is much more difficult because the answer is very much determined by the type of food you will be serving. Most restaurants combine square and rectangular shape tables to cater for different group sizes, but the final sizes will depend on the style of food, number of courses and accompaniments as well as any additional tableware that might be required. If you specialise in tapas, offer a seven course tasting menu or the menu focuses on little plates, extras and side dishes then you might need to allow for slightly more table surface per person! We recommend a minimum area of 45cm x 30cm but going up to anywhere in the region of 75cm x 40cm for each individual diner. See our table top size guidelines in the image below;

3.Positioning


When it comes to the positioning of your tables and chairs, generally, we suggest approximately 45cm from the back of one chair to another so that customers have room to get in and out from the tables without disturbing other guests. The last thing customers want is to be knocking elbows with the stranger on the table next to them, not only will the uncomfortable experience be likely to lead to a lower overall spend but it also leaves them with a negative impression of the venue, unlikely to recommend your restaurant to others or to return themselves in the future. As a guideline, aim for a minimum of just under half a metre distance between the backs of chairs which will give your customers plenty of room to access their seats.

Once you have your furniture in place, get a feel for the space by sitting in each seat and identifying any potential issues. It’s inevitable that there will be the ‘best seats in the house’ and some that are less impressive but by trying out the position of each chair in the restaurant at least you will be aware of where and able to improve on them. If there is a table within close proximity to the bathrooms or main entrance for example, consider using bench seating to minimise disruption from passing traffic or even utilise the area for a different purpose such as a lobby or storage. When trying out the seats, take account of what the customers view will be form their seat and for drawbacks such as draughts, kitchen noise and lighting. Often very small adjustments to the position of a table can make a huge difference and there will be a very simple solution!

4.Circulation Routes & Flow


The whole restaurant should have a natural flow, from the main entrance to the bar and the dining area right through to storage and the kitchen/food preparation area – you should carefully consider your circulation route both in terms of your customers and the staff. People must be able to move around with ease and the waiting staff need clear pathways and adequate room between tables to be able to maintain high quality service. Ultimately, the positioning and spacing between furniture is integral to an establishments success and has a major effect on how effectively your restaurant operates. Ensure there is space between seating for diners to move their chairs back from a table without obstructing the circulation route.

It can be difficult to get the right balance between an effective circulation routes whilst fitting in as many tables as possible to maximise capacity and accommodate the greatest number of customers but it really is something you should consider carefully when designing the layout of your restaurant. When designing these routes, always consider the seated customer as you do not want them constantly surrounded by people traffic. The key here is to keep circulation routes to a minimum-just enough to allow people to move around with ease and get in and out from the tables, ideally this means a minimum of 40-50cm between chairs which are placed back to back.

Do not position tables in the middle of main route from the dining area to the kitchen or toilets where they will obstruct the flow in the highest traffic areas, not only does it inconvenience waiting staff but it’s an unpleasant dining experience for your customer.

5.Partitions & Dividers


If you are designing your restaurant floor plan to include a waiting area then it should be within easy reach of the entrance but not in any way blocking the entrance or exit. Position furniture at low levels by using sofas and coffee tables or perhaps high bar stools and poseur tables which take up less space. By introducing different level seating to the apace it helps to isolate the waiting area as a different section to the other parts of the restaurant where customers are eating and drinking. A bar area is a good addition to a waiting area to increase a restaurants profitability so you could also consider positioning the bar area in between the entrance and main dining area to separate the two. The addition of a few bar stools strategically placed creates a welcoming ambiance and doubles up as a waiting area when people are waiting for their table.

It’s a great interior design technique to combine high and low level seating in a venue as it adds interest to the layout and help to distinguish different areas within the restaurant. The bar might have tall tables and bar stools, the entrance some tub chairs and low tables, whilst standard dining tables and chairs feature in the main dining section. If you decide to use this technique, make sure there is enough distance between sections that those sitting in low seating don’t feel like they are being looked down on by high tables. Try using the same model of chair in tall and standard height to create a coordinated look but still differentiate the more casual seating with more formal dining areas.

You might also want to section off areas in your restaurant layout to offer some variations in atmosphere, create some more intimate and private areas by using free standing benches which create the feel of a private booth area or high back dining chairs positioned in rows to create barriers and increase the feeling of privacy. Solid back dining chairs can be really effective at sectioning off large groups from the rest of your customers and tables placed at certain angles can restrict view.

NB: Don’t forget the incorporate these other areas when designing your restaurant layout;

  • Waiting Area
  • Bar
  • WC’s
  • Kitchen & Food Prep
  • Storage
  • Staff Area & Office

All will form an important part of the design process and need to be considered in the early stages of planning your restaurant layout and will influence how much and what furniture you can fit into the venue

When you have a good idea of how you plan to layout your restaurant you might be thinking ‘what type of furniture works best for my layout?’ If you need any advice on furniture style, recommendations or information on sizing and product specifications then please call our experienced sales team who will be happy to talk through options and answer any questions.
 

The complete British pub guide to the 2018 World Cup

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The British pub and sport have been linked for centuries, going back to the days when cock-fighting and prize fights were held as entertainment for drinkers in pubs and ale-houses. But there is a special association between the pub and football. In the early days of football, in the 19th century, the pub and the local football club were closely linked; football was a growing game in working-class communities, which made the new clubs based around local neighbourhoods a good fit with their local pubs.

This year's World Cup is being held in locations across Russia

Pubs and football - Using pubs as player changing rooms

Some pubs were used by the players as changing rooms, and fans and players would gather there before and after games. Tottenham Hotspur were helped in their early years by the brewery that ran the local pub, the White Hart, and which provided a ground in the lane (White Hart Lane) running behind the pub. This connection between pubs and football is a tradition that continues to this day, with countless Sunday league football teams being based around local pubs.

England v Brazil 1970

The British passion for watching football in bars

But it’s only relatively recently that the British have been watching football in pubs in large numbers. When football was first televised in the 1950s, it was watched at home. The 1962 World Cup in Chile was covered by BBC TV – but viewers had to wait three days while the rolls of film were flown back to the UK and edited for broadcast.

Football on TV

Watching football world cups with family and friends

Most people who remember the 1966 World Cup will recall watching it with family and friends, crowded around a black-and-white TV as the rollercoaster game took its course. By 1970 colour television had arrived, but still, most football was watched at home as people huddled around watching the slightly grainy satellite images and listening to David Coleman’s crackly commentary (“Gordon Banks”!). As time went on, some pubs began showing football on TV, but it would usually be in the background, often with the sound turned down. 

Football as a mainstream hobby

Poland are among the teams who have qualified for this year's World Cup

In the 1990s things started to change. Football was moving beyond its traditional working-class fan-base and becoming popular among a wider audience.

The Premier League arrived, and Sky started showing pay-per-view football, which meant that those who were not Sky subscribers often went to the pub to watch games. Also, crucially, the televisions themselves started to get bigger. During the Euro 96 football tournament, held in England, watching football in pubs suddenly became popular as fans followed the progress of the England team (and others) to the semi-finals.

Coping with demand - Bars and football matches

Some pubs were taken by surprise and overwhelmed by the numbers; they found they hadn’t enough pub chairs or tables to accommodate the viewers. But two years later, for the 1998 World Cup, they were ready, setting aside areas for fans to watch, setting up big screens and buying in new furniture. Across the country, millions of fans congregated in pubs, bars, sports clubs and other venues to watch the tournament, up to and beyond England’s defeat to Argentina in the quarter-finals.

Brits prefer watching sport in pubs and bars to the 'real thing'

As a fascinating research paper on pubs and football by Kevin Dixon at Teesside University says, many football fans now prefer watching football in the pub to the real thing. For one thing, with today’s high prices for Premier League football, it’s cheaper. And for another, some fans prefer the camaraderie of the pub, rather than sitting next to a bunch of strangers in the stadium. (Also, the law forbids drinking alcohol within sight of the pitch in football stadiums.) In 2002, as another research paper shows, more people watched live sport in a pub or bar than paid to watch live sporting events.

2018 Russian world cup

All of which brings us to 2018, and the forthcoming World Cup. This year’s tournament is being held in Russia, and offers the owners of pubs, bars, sports clubs and other venues the chance to attract customers throughout the tournament. The tournament kicks off at 4pm UK time on June 14th with Russia’s game against Saudi Arabia.

The final takes place a month later in Moscow on July 15th. UK kick-off times are mostly at 1pm, 4pm and 7pm, with some games starting at 11am. Spare a thought for fans in Russia: matches have been timed to attract maximum TV audiences in western Europe, which means that some games don’t kick off until 10pm Russia time. 

Football fans today are an inclusive bunch; they will of course be watching England’s games in great numbers, but they will also want to watch other games, such as, Germany v Sweden on June 26th. And it’s worth thinking about your local population.

If you have a substantial number of Polish people in your area, you could make a special event of screenings of Poland’s games, which begin with Poland v Senegal at 4pm on June 19th.

Watching England vs Tunisia - Football World Cup in bars - June 18th 2018

England’s games begin with a match against Tunisia on June 18th at 7pm UK time.  This is a Monday night, not normally a particularly busy time for pubs and bars. So this is a chance to bump up your takings. It’s vital of course to have a big screen located where everyone in the bar can see it. For the afternoon or evening of the match, you might want to re-arrange your furniture – more chairs, fewer tables.

Some people will be happy to stand at the back. This might be a good time to invest in some new furniture. Stacking chairs would be useful; they could be brought out for matches to increase your seating capacity, and stored away until they’re next needed. Today’s stacking chairs are relatively inexpensive and durable, built to withstand the hard wear and tear of a commercial environment, while still being compact enough to stack away. Trent Furniture’s Remo chair is sturdy, affordable, stackable and practical. 

English pubs showing the 2018 football world cup

Pubs that show football on big screens will have different atmospheres depending on the kind of customers they attract and the layout of the furniture. Some will be boisterous and rowdy, others more laid-back. A pub or bar can influence the atmosphere by the way it sets out furniture. Rows of chairs with no tables and standing room at the back will foster a more raucous environment while setting out chairs with tables will lead to a more sedate atmosphere; people will be sitting at their tables watching the game but also talking to each other. The choice is yours.

Football fans and British bars

Finally, it’s worth bearing in mind that not everyone is a football fan. There are customers who will walk into a pub or bar, see a big screen showing football, and walk straight out again. Football fans, especially if they are loud and vocal, can be off-putting. So if your bar, pub or club has a number of rooms, you could consider setting one aside as a space where people can talk and drink quietly.

This could be furnished with softer, more comfortable chairs, sofas or armchairs, to encourage people to sit back and linger. You could make a point of labeling it as a “football-free zone”. 

But for those who decide to watch the World Cup in a bar or pub or club, the viewing experience will be better than ever before. Big screens offer crisp, high-definition images that everyone can see. And with today’s slow-motion replays, and with goal-line technology in use in this year’s World Cup, there will be no more 1966-type arguments over whether the ball crossed the goal-line.

How hotels can prepare for busy February half term

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The first school holiday of the year, February half term, is soon to be upon us and it’s the earliest chance for families to get away and escape the winter blues. Likewise, it is the first opportunity for hotels to impress families and make a good impression.

February half term will run on the week commencing Monday 19th February. Whether it’s a full week in Newquay or a long weekend in Manchester, hotels need to be prepared. This year it is set to be a busy one for hotels as more holidaymakers opt for the UK breaks. 
Domestic holidays increase

Due to many factors, domestic holidays or ‘staycations’ have had a very positive few years, this demand for holidays in the UK is expected to continue into 2018, too.

Last year saw 72 per cent of people taking a UK break. The amount spent on holidaying at home also saw a six per cent increase on the year previous, rising to a record £7.9 billion. The popularity of UK holidays looks set to continue with ABTA research suggesting that 66 per cent planning one this year, according to ABTA research.
It is important for hotel owners to be aware of the trend and make improvements to their facilities and services so that domestic holidaymakers choose their hotel for their break.

Hotel renovation needs

If a hotel ignores or doesn’t renovate as soon as it appears necessary, it runs the risk of leaving customers dissatisfied and receiving bad reviews. Does your hotel have paint chipped on the walls, bathrooms that are outdated or furniture that is worn? If these apply, it might be time to renovate your hotel. 

By general rule of thumb, hotels should renovate their facilities every three to five years to prevent from appearing outdated. With the February half term approaching and an influx of domestic holidays incoming in 2018, it can be wise to freshen up your hotel before the rush. 

Renovation can be a daunting word for hotel owners as they generally associate it with closure, but if little bits are continuously improved, there is little need for any downtime.

Refreshing hotel furniture

If the furniture in your hotel’s reception, bedrooms or eating area looks like it needs a refresh, Trent Furniture’s hotel furnishings include every type of décor you are trying to achieve.

Top tips for choosing table tops – A how to guide

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Which is the best table top for your business?

Different tables have different uses, even in the same establishment.  If you have a long table, it may be more conducive to eating comfortably, whilst a small but high round table may be more suitable for a bar situation.  In the same way, the tops of tables are different based on their purpose, too.

What are the main types of table tops?

You can choose from a great selection of table tops, using the Trent Furniture website.  For each of the options below, there are different colours and finishes available, too.  We even recommend the best types of cleaning products to clean each type!  Our types of table tops, include:

• Solid oak table tops
• Solid wood table tops
• Laminate table tops
• Melamine table tops
• Veneer table tops

What are the best table tops for bars and pubs?

The main purpose of a table in a bar or pub is to provide somewhere for people to put their drinks.  From a poseur table to a dining table and whether your patrons are stood up or sat down, it’s always handy to have a table to put your drink on whilst you’re socialising.

For this reason, bar and pub table tops need to be waterproof, easy to wipe down and ideally, stain-proof.  The best types of table tops for bars and pubs are usually therefore made from a laminate, veneer or melamine material.  However, particularly for pubs where people are dining, wooden veneer table tops are also a popular choice.

What are the best table tops for cafés and bistros?

Veneer table tops are a great choice for cafes and bistros, where tables are well protected from bumps, knocks and even falls.  Available in dark oak, walnut and light oak finishes, these types of table tops are compatible with a vast array of seating options, too.
We also supply American diner table tops in a laminate material, with colours ranging from red, white and black.

What are the best table tops for restaurants?

The best table top will vary depending on the type of restaurant you have.  Some will suit a solid oak table top (stained with a choice of colours) whilst others will work well with an oak finish, constructed using a melamine finish for lower cost durability.

Where can you buy table tops?

Whether you’re looking for a bar table top or a solid wood table top, we have a wide variety of options with accompanying chairs and seating options, available.  To find out more, visit the table top section of our website or call us for help and recommendations, on 0116 2982 711.

Poseur table FAQs – all you need to know

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What is a poseur table?

Commonly used in pubs and bars, a poseur table’s most defining characteristic is its height.  They’re too high for regular chairs but perfect for use with bar stools, which makes them the ideal place to rest a drink with or without sitting down.

How do you pronounce poseur table?

The closest way to describe the pronunciation of poseur is ‘Po-zurr’.

Where are poseur tables used?

Poseur tables can commonly be found near the bar of a pub or restaurant, as somewhere you can rest your newly poured drink.  They are also used in some restaurants and cafes, where they are often placed near a window to present a busy yet intimate atmosphere.

What types of poseur tables can I buy?

There are many types of poseur tables available to buy, depending on the style that suits your establishment.  For example, for a more traditional or homely feel, wooden poseur tables are extremely popular.  For a more contemporary or modern look, poseur tables made from chrome work very well.

Types of wooden poseur tables:

Wooden tables can add style, class, luxury or just a sense of comfort and homeliness to a pub, restaurant or café.  Whether shabby chic or traditional, there are lots of types of wooden poseur tables available to choose from.  These include:

• Single wood poseur tables
• Double wood poseur tables
• Square wooden poseur tables
• Rectangular wooden poseur tables
• Twin wooden poseur tables

What other materials are poseur tables made from?

For a more contemporary, classic or just simply different look and feel from a poseur table, there is a wide variety of other materials to choose a poseur table in. Moreover, these designs can often incorporate wooden poseur table tops, for a combination of wooden and non-wooden in a poseur table.

Examples of alternative materials that poseur tables can be made from, include:

• Cast iron poseur tables
• Black steel poseur tables
• Chrome poseur tables
• Aluminium poseur tables

There are various benefits to be gained from using different materials.  For example, an aluminium poseur table is ideal for outdoor use due to being waterproof, whilst a cast iron base is going to be heavy and secure – ideal for not getting knocked over in a busy bar area.

What types of bases are available for poseur tables?

We always aim to provide pieces of furniture that fit perfectly with the look that a business is looking to achieve.  For this reason, we like to offer a vast selection of choice in poseur table bases, so that you can select your ideal table based on how it looks from all angles, as well as for how well it fits the purpose you deign to use it for.

The types of bases that we stock poseur tables in, include:

• Chrome poseur table bases
• Pyramid poseur table bases
• Art deco poseur table bases
• Aluminium poseur table bases
• Disc poseur table bases
• Lionhead poseur table bases

Where can I find poseur tables for sale

Trent Furniture is the trusted supplier of all manner of tables to pubs, bars and restaurants across the UK.  With 20 different styles of poseur tables, many of which are customisable by colour or finish, you can find a competitively priced poseur table quickly and easily, on our website.

What’s more, is that you can find complementary bar stools and chairs to match!  For more information, explore our tables section or call us for helpful and friendly advice, on 0116 2982 711.

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