When you’re consumed with sauce recipes, pizza ovens and staff training, furniture can often become a last-priority purchase. However, there are a few key considerations every pizzeria should make when shopping for seating at your restaurant: budget, size of dining room, customer behavior, and style.
Finding affordable restaurant chairs
Most purchase decisions come down to the bottom line. Your accounting team or lenders are watching every penny you spend closely, and, of course, you want to get a good value for the investment you make. Shop around and have a realistic budget in mind for your seating solutions. Never buy furniture that is not of commercial quality for your business. Commercial quality chairs are mass-produced, so they might not be as flawlessly hand-crafted as a beautiful piece of home furniture, but they are designed with the appropriate support bracing and frame strength to handle the everyday rigors of constant sit-down-and-stand-up traffic a commercial location demands.
If you don’t object to doing some minor assembly and installing the furniture yourself, a dot-com furniture company will save you money. However, if you’re looking for white glove service and don’t mind paying more for added convenience and other benefits, try your local restaurant supply store. If you’re really strapped for cash, look for auctions or liquidations of furniture and equipment from restaurants that are moving or going out of business. You may also find great deals on sites like eBay or by shopping a closeout section of your favorite furniture retailer.
Regardless of where you source your pizzeria seating, you’ll be presented with many options, often at varying price levels. Take note of the other key considerations before making a decision based solely on price.
Finding furniture that fits your commercial dining area
Some pizzerias are full-scale restaurants with lots of room, while others are small neighborhood joints with limited space. Still others focus mostly on take-out and delivery and offer even less dine-in square footage. You’ll want to select furniture that will maximize your seating capacity in your dining area. For example, did you know that restaurant booths have a smaller footprint than a table-and-chair configuration that seats the same number of people? By mixing in some booths, you can capitalize on more revenue per person. Granted, booths aren’t perfect for every place, but they are an option, especially if you have many parties of four dining with you regularly.
For smaller rooms, a backless bar stool model may make sense; get high top tables or a long, skinny bar and add backless stools that will help keep the room feeling open. For an opposite effect and to fill up a large room, oversized bucket seats or tall-backed seating may be a great fit. A few quick measurements will help you find seating that physically fits in your space.
Finding furniture that fits your customer base
Do you cater to a more rowdy college-aged crowd? Then you’ll want to make sure your furniture features a strong metal gauge frame. (Hint: The stronger the metal, the lower the gauge. Look for a 16-gauge, fully welded steel frame, which is stronger than many of the 18- or 20-gauge frames on the market.)
If you cater to families and pride yourself on being kid-friendly, booths or lightweight plastic stack chairs may be more suitable for your needs. (Don’t forget a few high chairs or booster seats.)
Do you attract an after-the-bar-closes type of audience? They may prefer bar stools to dining chairs. A more senior customer base will probably prefer a sturdy dining chair to a booth or bar stool. Knowing your audience is key in choosing the best seating for their wants and needs.
Selecting stylish seating that reinforces your brand image
Do judge your seating by its style. The atmosphere and décor you design is important and helps your customers understand your brand. If you’re creating a warm, traditional, Italian ristorante, then try a nice wooden chair or bar stool. Going for a more industrial-chic look? Try some all steel furniture with an urban vintage edge. If you want a more retro vibe, try a diner-style upholstered chair or restaurant booths with a 50s style “V” back design.
Find the furniture that tells your story and creates the emotional reaction that your brand deserves. The days where every pizza shop has the classic vinyl stack chair are over; you can invent your brand to be any kind of pizzeria you want. Your seating choice should reflect that personality as much as your pizza does!
Once you consider these four factors, you’ll have the confidence in selecting the right combination of seating for your pizzeria!
Emily Fritz writes for East Coast Chair & Barstool, a national e-commerce company that sells commercial furniture on four niche-branded websites. Find them online at www.TablesChairsBarstools.com, or follow Emily’s tweets @TablesChairsBar.