Restaurant Seating Blog


How to Make a Restaurant Seating Plan


Creating a restaurant seating plan is one of the crucial steps of the planning stage in opening a restaurant. The seating plan you design depends on several factors. One of the main factors is the type of restaurant you plan to open. Will it be a quick service restaurant, a family-style restaurant such as a diner, a fast casual restaurant, a café or an upscale bistro? Each of type of restaurants will have different layouts. A quick service restaurant will typically feature tables and chairs with easy to clean, fixed vinyl booths along the walls. Family-style restaurants or diners will typically have more booth with comfortable, fabric or vinyl upholstery. bistros will usually have a mixture of chairs, booths and bar stools. Making a seating plan will help you experiment with various seating layouts and find one that meets your needs.

The next important factor is the number of guests you plan to serve. To determine this you will have to take into account space requirements for the dining room and the maximum safe occupancy of your establishment as determined by the local fire department or county planning zone commission.

One of the first steps in drawing up your seating plan is measuring the interior space of your restaurant and its areas such as the dining room, the kitchen, storage, restrooms, server station waiting area and any other area that takes up floor space. The floor area of your dining room and patio if you have one will help determine your seating capacity and your seating layout.

The next step should include a detailed layout of your restaurant’s floor plan. The sketch should make note of windows and doors and include your measurements. The cashier counter and other stations should be included as well as anything else that will take up floor space. (more…)

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Choosing the Right Patio Seating

elaine cafeSummer is the best time to make optimal use of your patio or terrace. Outdoor seating is very popular with diners, especially when the weather is warm and comfortable. Customers tend to prefer sitting outside to enjoy the sun and enjoy the outdoor surroundings whether they are enjoying a meal on the backyard patio of a bistro or sipping coffee at an outdoor café. Making optimal use of your outdoor seating can be very lucrative for your business. There are many choices when it comes to patio seating and it’s important to make an informed decision when you are shopping.

There are many choices when shopping for outdoor furniture. A smart option is to go with the stainless steel patio chair and stainless steel table top. Stainless steel has many advantages over other kinds of materials. For one, stainless steel is waterproof and rustproof. This is important for outdoor seating because if the furniture is left out in the rain or gets wet when hosing down the patio the furniture won’t get tarnished or leave rust stains on the patio. Stainless steel is also very durable and looks new for many years. It cannot be infested with insects, get bent out of shape or develop mold, which are problems that can affect wood furniture.  It’s very easy to clean stainless steel making it more sanitary as well. Most people like stainless steel for its elegant, contemporary look which can be paired with matching bar stools and tables. Stainless steel is also 100% recyclable.

Another option for durable patio furniture is the iron patio chairs. Like stainless steel, when zinc-plated, iron is rustproof, water proof and UV resistant. The tough iron frame is unbendable and is also cannot be infested with insects or mold. Iron tends to be heavier than stainless steel, which can be an advantage because they are unlikely to get blown away by wind. Some retailers offer iron chairs in a variety in a variety of styles along with matching outdoor tables and bar stools.

For a more exotic or tropical look consider faux wicker, faux rattan or aluminum bamboo patio chairs. Faux wicker and rattan are synthetic materials that are weatherproof and very attractive. These outdoor chairs are usually paired with a lightweight, aluminum frame and are stackable. Faux wicker and faux rattan have the advantage of looking just like real wicker and rattan, but is much more durable and can come in a variety of upholstery options. The aluminum bamboo chair comes with an aluminum frame that looks like real bamboo and is also weather resistant and is usually upholstered in a faux rattan bamboo seat and back. (more…)

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Teach Your Servers to Increase Sales


By investing the time to properly teach you servers how to sell better, you can significantly increase your profits. Waiters and waitresses should be more than just people who take orders and bring the food to the table. They are the restaurant’s sales agents. Training your servers to become sales agents can add to your bottom line and is more important than ever in this sluggish economy when fewer people are dining out. In order to turn your servers in a strong sales force, they will need the proper training.

First of all, servers should be using the menu as a sales brochure. They should not only know everything that is on the menu, they should also know the ingredients of each one. This is all the more important if one of your diners has an allergy which they mentioned and your server suggested a dish that causes a severe allergic reaction. Servers should also know the features and benefits of each dish so they can promote them with confidence.

Suggestive selling is very important when it comes to increasing profits. This is also known in the industry as “padding the bill”. Traditionally this used to refer to servers suggesting an appetizer, dessert or an alcoholic drink. This can also include suggesting a combination appetizers and an entrée to give the diner more of a selection. Servers should also suggest adding meat, poultry or seafood to a salad. Also have serves suggest sides to entrees such as mushrooms or cheese on steak or charging extra for including a small soup, salad, fries or other extra.

The profit margins on alcoholic drinks such as cocktails, wine and beer are big and these drinks can add a lot of dollars and cents to the bill. Servers should be suggesting drinks that quench thirst on hot summer days such as daiquiris, pina coladas or wine coolers on hot days. On cold days, suggest drinks that will warm up chilly customers such as brandy, whiskey, Irish coffee or hot buttered rum. Your servers should also be suggesting a wine to complement the meal, and they should have the proper training to know which wine to suggest. For example, bold red wine such as cabernet should be paired with red meat, cured meats and hard cheese. Rich white wine such as a Chardonnay should be paired with soft cheeses, seafood, starches and white meat. Beer is always popular and you can increase sales by suggesting the table share a pitcher or a carafe of wine. When ordering dessert suggest a night cap, but be sure your staff can tell the signs of intoxication and overselling alcohol. If they see guests are intoxicated,  try to prevent customers from driving home drunk because as the owner of the restaurant, you  could be liable if there is an accident. Suggest a taxi if your guests are intoxicated.

Keep an open eye and an open ear for special customers celebrating special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, graduations or other special occasions. Also they should be looking out for special phrases such as “I’m starving” or “what do you suggest”. For someone who indicates they are very hungry, servers should suggest the chef’s platter and a more expensive menu item such a prime rib for a diner that is looking for suggestions. If you have a dessert cart, have serves bring it by because most people eat with their eyes.

Selling may not come natural for all of your servers, so provide training sessions. The more enthusiastic the servers are about the menu items they are selling the more customers will buy. A smile also goes along way and friendly servers will increase profits, as will prompt service. A larger bill means a larger tip, so encourage your servers to sell as this will increase their income as well.




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Getting the Right Furniture For Your Restaurant

restaurant-interior  Top restaurants don’t only rely on good food and good customer service. Another factor that customers really appreciate is a comfortable space with good interior design. Restaurant Design is important to set the stage for the customers’ dining experience. The design of a restaurant must find balance between its ambiance and seating capacity. As an entrepreneur you prioritize about the customers’ maximum seating capacity to increase profit while at the same time making guests feel comfortable. This may differ on the type of restaurant. A diner may have more seating capacity while fine dining restaurants tend to put more effort on ambiance.

Choosing a go to place for lunch meetings, dinner dates, family gatherings or for a quick bite is easy if you know the basics about the restaurant’s menu, ambiance, seating capacity and location.

FAST FOOD: Also known as quick service restaurants which focus more on convenience, low prices, and serving the most number of customer in a minimum amount of time. The food menu is limited to burgers, fries, hotdogs, burritos, fried chicken and so on. It’s probably the most appealing type for most people on the go. The interiors of a fast food restaurant usually have bright colors such as yellow and red. They use metal chairs to give a strong support to their heaviest customers. The tables usually have reversible table tops or other type of laminate. These types of table tops are usually scratch and stain resistant and are easy to care for. Resin table tops are also popular for quick service restaurants as they are very durable and resistant to scratches, stains and nicks and have the appearance of wood.


FAST CASUAL: This has been a fast trending restaurant. It has upscale interior decor compared to fast food restaurants. They use high quality ingredients and the food is freshly prepared upon order. It offers a healthy menu which is ideal for customers who follow a strict diet. With its open kitchen design, customers may dine while watching their food being made while seated on a high chair stool. The table tops may be laminate or reversible table tops or a made of granite as these table tops are very durable and easy to care for. Steel is another common table top material for outdoor use or to blend in with a modern, industrial motif. Fast causal restaurants will usually have commercial chairs such as the metal ladder back chair. Metal chairs are ideal for these fast-paced commercial environments where there is heavy traffic. They are also easy to clean.


BUFFET: A go to place for people with big appetite where you can eat all you can. This self-service restaurant is usually packed with long tables for families. Seats vary from wooden to metal, depending on the kind of cuisine that they offer. Reversible table tops, laminate and veneer wood table tops are common for these types of restaurants because they are easy to care for. Restaurants and hotels that have buffets sometimes also have plastic tables and banquet stack chairs for extra capacity that can be easily stacked and stored.


CAFÉ OR BISTRO: Menu items can be simple; they usually serve coffee and sandwiches, and can range up to full entrees. This is a perfect go to place for casual dates; it has an intimate and relaxed ambiance. Outdoor seating is a trademark for cafes where they may enjoy their meal or coffee while smoking. These eateries will usually have solid wood or granite table tops. They give the interior a more sophisticated look and exude a warmer ambiance. These types of establishments will usually have wood chairs and bar stools for seating for a distinctive look.


FAMILY STYLE DINING: These types of restaurants offer waiting table service. Food is served in large platters where you share and serve your own portions. Customers are usually seated on booths providing a more cozy experience. These establishments will usually have solid wood or reversible table tops. The seating may feature wood or metal chairs.


FINE DINING: Fine dining requires a lot of attention to detail. You also need to have reservations months in advance before you get a taste of their food. You will get the best customer service experience in these restaurants. The interiors could vary from modern, minimalist to old fashioned. As the name implies, it offers the finest menu and ambiance for your dining experience. Seats are wooden but well cushioned keeping you comfortable while enjoying your food. You will not find reversible table tops in these establishments. These restaurants will usually have solid wood table tops and upholstered chairs as they have a more prestigious look and the investment in the high quality furniture and décor helps justify the higher prices, along with gourmet cuisine.

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Restaurant Food Safety – Protect Your Customers & Yourself

food-safety   As a business owner, your number one concern should be the health of your customers and your workers.  Being careless in food safety can cost you more than just profits, it could mean losing your business if someone gets sick or worse dies from food poisoning from your restaurant.  These days with the Ebola virus threatening a worldwide pandemic people are more concerned than ever about getting sick and restaurant that have reputations as being unsanitary or not following health and safety regulations will lose business.

Restaurants in China and Japan like McDonalds have reported heavy losses due to food poisoning due to unscrupulous suppliers selling meat that didn’t follow food safety standards. This is why it is important to know your suppliers and make sure they are following food safety regulations. One of the advantages of buying your food locally is you know where the food is coming from. You can inspect the source of your food or make sure the local health inspector ensures that they are following food safety regulations. Also the less distance your food has to travel from the source to your restaurant the greater chance that it will be more fresh and uncontaminated. When food like meat, dairy and fish have to travel long distances there is an increased change for bacteria or viruses to grow and spread especially if the food has not been properly refrigerated or kept at the correct temperature throughout the journey from the farm to your business. The is also a greater chance of contamination since typically when food is traveling long distances more people are handling the food. (more…)

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Benefits of Buying Furniture Made In the USA

made in USA st1   Most products consumers buy these days are produced overseas. Most electronics Americans buy come from China. The clothing we buy is largely either from Asia and much of the furniture is made in China. This includes commercial furniture and home furniture.

There are many reasons why manufacturers moved their factories and plants to Asia. Labor is much cheaper there and labor standards are lax or nonexistent. There are fewer environmental restrictions, in fact fewer government regulations in general. Some of the natural resources such as wood for the furniture are also closer and there are fewer restrictions on harvesting it. The result is many forests have been clear-cut in an unsustainable manner. There are also fewer restrictions on quality control, so often corners are cut and some materials that are cheaper or banned in the US or Europe because of safety concerns or hazards to human health are allowed. For these reasons, many companies were willing to abandon their scruples or overlook these degradations in favor of a healthier bottom line. Also, due to the fact that the US is in recession, many American consumers were looking for the cheapest price, even though they knew they may have to sacrifice on quality.

In recent years there has been a resurgence in American manufacturing. This is also true for the furniture industry. With the economy rebounding and many Americans looking for the “Made in USA” label the manufacturing base in the US has made a recovery is certain industries. One of those industries is the commercial furniture industry. Companies such as Affordable Seating have been moving their factories back to the US from China and other countries. There are several reasons for this. One of the main reasons is shipping costs. As fuel and freight charges continue to rise. The costs saved on cheap labor fewer regulations has been offset by the high cost of transport. Also the shipping time takes much longer and for restaurant furniture manufacturers have been losing business as customers become impatient wait weeks or months waiting for their furniture to arrive, putting business on hold. (more…)

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