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Choosing the Right Outdoor Furniture for your Restaurant

Posted by Rachel Schwartz on 7/24/2020

Being able to enjoy a meal outside during warm weather is something that many customers enjoy and that many restaurants strive to offer when possible. With restrictions currently in place for most restaurants, outdoor dining is now vital for many establishments who still want to provide sit-down options for customers while inside dining is banned or severely restricted. This makes it even more important that the furniture fit a restaurant's needs and customer satisfaction.

When choosing the right outdoor furniture for your establishment, there are several things to consider. The elements can be the most destructive force on your outdoor furniture which makes choosing the correct material the most important step in the process. Rain, moisture, sun, wind, and extreme temperatures can all wreak havoc on outdoor furniture. The first step is to establish which of the elements apply to your outdoor dining area. Is your restaurant located in an area that has a lot of rain or high humidity? Or where temperatures can fluctuate greatly over the course of a day? Does your outdoor dining space get a lot of direct sunlight? Is it in an open, flat area prone to wind? Answering these questions should help you decide the type of material that might work best for your space and your restaurant's aesthetics?

Organic materials are more easily susceptible to mold, mildew, and rot and thus not ideal for areas that get a lot of rain or moisture in the air. Metal furniture is not necessarily ideal for rainy locations either as rust or corrosion can set in with time. Metal furniture is also not ideal for seaside locations for the same reasons. Warping and cracking can both result from moisture penetrating the outer layer of material before drying as well as repeated exposure to extreme hot or cold temperatures. Constant, direct sun exposure can cause colors to fade. While this can create a nice patina, for some types of material, uneven fading is the only result. Other materials, like metal and plastic, can retain heat from the sun and make your outdoor furniture uncomfortable to touch or sit on. Having umbrellas spread throughout the outdoor area or creating shaded areas with trees or a canopy can help mitigate this and keep customers happy and cool in the heat of summer.

Perhaps the two biggest things to consider when choosing outdoor furniture is your budget, and the size of your outdoor space. When finding a cost range that you are comfortable with, it's also important to research the material types that you are considering. One material type may be cheaper but may not last as long over time. Determining how often you would like to replace pieces and what level of maintenance might be involved are also good to figure out prior to purchasing. The size of your outdoor dining space will determine how many tables and chairs you can comfortably fit in the space and what size those tables and chairs need to be.

And last but not least, a final thing to be considered when choosing outdoor furniture is the style and comfort of the furniture itself. While it's important that the furniture match your restaurant's aesthetics, it's also important that the seating be comfortable for your customers. Purchasing the cheapest option in your preferred style and material may save you money but if it is a rigid, uncomfortable chair, customers will be the ones to pay the price. Customers who are comfortable at the table are more likely to linger over their meals and come back again in the future. 

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