Restaurant chairs come in so many shapes, sizes and materials that it can seem impossible, at first glance, to choose the ones that will suit your business. Cloth, vinyl, leather or metal? Rolling chairs or not? Maybe you'll have booths in your restaurant. How expensive is this going to get?
Before you go into Chair Overload, stop for a second and ask yourself a few questions. First off, what type of restaurant do you have? A diner is going to look for completely different chairs than a five-star waterfront restaurant.
What's your average meal price point? There are lots of steakhouses out there, but they range from casual to fancy, with price points from moderate to sky-high. Same with seafood restaurants. If you know the average price point for your most popular menu items, that can help determine the kind of decor that customer might expect. You can use that as a beginning point for your restaurant chair search.
Who is your target customer? These are the primary people you want to make happy, so knowing their likes and dislikes can point you in the right direction. For instance, if the target customer for your sushi bar is a young, urban professional earning around $40,000, you'll probably look for something with sleek, contemporary styling.
But if the target customer for your waterfront Michelin-rated French restaurant is a successful professional over age 50 earning upwards of $100,000, you'll probably look for something larger, softer, and more substantial. With a high price point, you'll want to encourage people to linger in your restaurant, and therefore comfortable restaurant chairs will be part of your overall marketing plan.
For the above scenario, you're more likely to choose lounge-style seating in the waiting areas. This would include large, wide chairs, perhaps overstuffed, and maybe even an ottoman or two. At the table itself you would probably want an upholstered chair of good-quality wood with an understated, classic fabric. Chairs of this quality, however, can run into the hundreds of dollars. Each.
In a more casual eatery you might have everything from good quality wooden chairs, to metal chairs with nice padded seats and backs, to uber-modern seats or stools with minimalist padding and lines.
Restaurant chairs should enhance your décor and meet or exceed the expectations of your target customers, taking in the price point you've set for your restaurant. Once you've set those items ahead of time, choosing your restaurant chairs should be a pleasant experience, rather than a time-consuming, confusing chore.