Frequently Asked Questions

Are Your Bar Stool Swivels on Backwards?

Congratulations on your swivel bar stool purchase from East Coast Chair and Barstool! Your guests will love the comfort and convenience of these beautiful swivel stools. Now for the next step – assembly! Oftentimes, this stage can be intimidating, but East Coast Chair and Barstool provides you with simple, easy-to-follow video instructions that can be found here.

If you purchased a metal frame swivel bar stool or a flex back bucket bar stool (such as the 925 or 825), your swivel will be flat and can be assembled without having to worry about it being backwards.

But if your swivel bucket bar stools are full back models, such as the 950, 625, or 525, you’ll be assembling a tilted swivel, which can be a bit more complicated. We’re here to help guide you through some of the common mistakes and offer solutions to ensure your bar stools are working to their full potential!

1. Does Your Swivel Feel Off-Balance?

If you sit in your full back bucket swivel bar stool and feel like your weight is leaning towards the left or right side, there’s a good chance your swivel is to blame! Be sure to check that the arrows on the top of your tilted swivel are pointing towards the front of the bar stool, where your customers’ knees would go.

Prior to assembly, it’s important to take note of this by laying the swivel on a table and looking at the side labeled “TOP”. You’ll see two arrows pointing to an edge with the label, “FRONT”, which tells you that end should face your bar or table (or where your customers’ knees go).

2. Are You Leaning Forward in Your Bar Stool?

If you feel that your bar stool is tilting you forward rather than allowing you to lean back and relax in the seat, the way you assembled your swivel is likely causing this discomfort!

It’s extremely common in the assembly process to put the raised edge of the swivel at the back of the bar stool, because it would make sense that your customers should be propped up in their seat, right? Actually, the lower end of the swivel allows your guests to lean back in their seats and feel a sturdy support.

Before you assemble the bar stool, it can be helpful to put the swivel on a flat surface with the “TOP” facing up and the arrows pointed to your right or left. Come down to eye level and examine the swivel.

You’ll see that the metal is slightly angled, make a note that the higher edge should face where your customers’ knees will be, and the lower edge should be at the back of the bar stool.

We hope that this helps in assembling your swivel bar stool or fixing the swivel if it feels incorrect. If you have any questions regarding your purchase from East Coast Chair and Barstool, our team would be more than happy to talk! Just call 1-800-986-5352 to speak to a member of our customer care team.

Should I Buy Metal or Wood Chairs for My Restaurant?

Selecting restaurant furniture requires a lot of considerations — cost, durability, type of restaurant, and more. How do you know which is the best option for you?

Here we’ve broken down some of the most important factors to consider when selecting chair material for your restaurant.

Is metal or wood more durable?

Wood restaurant chairs are durable — usually. Make sure that you’re buying a solid wood product, rather than particle board which won’t hold up to commercial use. 

You’ll want to look for tongue and groove construction. In this type of joinery, the chair components are interlocked with tight-fitting slots and ridges to hold it all together. It’s also a good idea to look for construction with added metal supports. This extra stability will help prevent the loosening of legs and backs over time.

But although well-made wood chairs can certainly hold up, metal restaurant chairs are still the winners when it comes to durability. You’ll want to look for a heavy-gauge steel construction with fully welded joints. A metal restaurant chair of 16 gauge steel or lower will last as long as your restaurant does.

Is metal or wood more comfortable? 

Both metal and wood are hard materials, so neither will feel like lying on a feather bed. Still, there are some comfort issues to consider. 

Both metal and wood chairs are available with upholstered seats, which can add some cushion. There are also options in both materials with curved backs, which can be easier on the spine.

Is metal or wood more versatile?

There are so many different styles of both metal and wood restaurant chairs that it’s hard to say! 

Both materials can be carved or formed into just about any shape you can think of. Styles like window pane, ladder back, and cross back can all be made in both metal and wood. Either option can be made in both modern and classic styles.

If you’re looking for bright colors, metal is the winner. Metal can be powder coated in a wide variety of colors to match your decor. But wood also comes in plenty of finishes like mahogany, walnut, oak, cherry, and beech.

To look through some of the many options, check out our metal restaurant chairs and wood restaurant chairs!

Does metal or wood require more maintenance?

Wood furniture will require cleaning and occasional polishing to keep it looking its best. And if you have painted wood furniture, it will need to be repainted from time to time, as chips are inevitable.

Conversely, metal furniture is practically maintenance-free, except for keeping it clean. 

Are metal or wood chairs more expensive?

In general, wood furniture is more expensive than metal. But you can find options in either material to fit most price points. 

Wood often has a higher-end look, so it can appear very expensive even if you get a good price!

So which one is the winner?

Both options are durable, come in a variety of styles and finishes, and require at least regular cleaning. So which is better?

While metal provides higher durability and lower maintenance, it all comes down to what makes the most sense for your space. 

Wood is a timeless material that will look beautiful in a warm, classic space. Pubs, steakhouses, quiet coffee shops, and rustic BBQ joints are all prime locations for wood chairs. “Old world” restaurants, like French and Italian, would also be a great fit.

Modern spaces like cafes, bars, and New American restaurants could be great places for metal furniture. It can bring an updated or industrial atmosphere to your restaurant. Metal furniture often has a more casual feel, but a high-end modern space could look stunning with a brightly powder-coated metal chair.

In the end, it all depends on the needs of your space! 


What is Tavern-Style Furniture?

Although the tavern was once a mainstay of American social life, it gave way over time to the cocktail bar, the restaurant, and for a while, the speakeasy.

But there are still some watering holes throughout the country that stick to the traditional tavern style. Some have been in business since the 1780s like Massachusetts’ Warren Tavern, while some are brand new! 

If you want to bring the tavern vibe to your town, here’s what you need to know.

A little history

Although the terms are used somewhat loosely these days, a tavern is not the same as a bar. A bar traditionally sells alcohol only, but a tavern sells both alcohol and food. 

Of course, we may think that sounds a lot like a restaurant. But the classic tavern was more of a waystation — a place for weary travelers to get some rest. In fact, they often had rooms to let as well. The food was not generally the reason that people went to taverns.

Taverns were often the social hub of rural America in the 1700s and 1800s. It was where neighbors met to share news, conduct business, and unwind after a day on the farm or in the office. So the American “tavern-style” has become connected with the furniture of the time. 

Although electricity and central heating are now commonplace, the modern tavern still emulates the taverns of the Colonial days. Lots of dark wood, low lighting, and heavy furniture make for a cozy gathering place!

Tavern-style tables

Since taverns were the local meeting place, tables were generally long and rectangular, with room for groups to congregate and dine together. 

American settlers and farmers had little time for delicate wood carving. So the furniture in the local tavern was generally simple, sturdy, and practical. And it was made with the most abundant resource of the time — wood.

For the modern tavern, rough sawn or distressed wood can create the appearance of age, or reclaimed barn wood can be used for an authentic patina. Pine and oak are common wood species for tavern-style furniture, although you could use a wide variety of hardwoods. 

Tavern-style tables have a simple rectangular plank top, usually sitting on four individual legs. Legs may be connected by two braces, which are then attached to a “stretcher” that runs the length of the table. 

While the more high-end taverns may have had turned table legs, the rural taverns would often be more rustic. Square post legs, like those on this hardwood table, would have been more common out on the frontier. 

Tables may also sit on an X-shaped base connected by a stretcher where the “x” crosses. This provides extra stability for those raucous tavern nights! 

Tavern-style seating

To add to the cozy feel of the tavern, look no further than the wood booth. Sliding into a booth, customers can settle in for a long evening of cold beer, hearty food, and good stories. 

The tavern booth, like the table, is usually made of simple wood planks. The seat may rest on four legs, like our single tavern wood booth. Or, it could have a rectangular box as the base, like our urban distressed wood booth.

Booths can be made of rich hardwoods, polished to a high shine. Or for a rustic tavern, they can be made of distressed or reclaimed wood. 

One common feature of just about all tavern-style booths is their high back. This creates an enclosure where guests can have some privacy while they’re enjoying their meal or drink. After all, important events can occur in taverns. The Boston Tea Party was planned at the Green Dragon Tavern in 1773!

The tavern bar

In most taverns, if the proprietor was going to splurge somewhere, it would be on the bar itself. Tavern back bars can be works of art, made of gleaming hardwood and carved with intricate designs.  Shelves need to be robust in order to hold heavy liquor bottles. And some are backed by mirrors, to make small spaces feel bigger.

Of course, not all tavern bars are so complex. A sturdy wood shelving unit, loaded up with whisky and spirits is all a tavern really needs.

To sit at that bar, you’d have to pull up a stool. Tavern-style bar stools would traditionally be backless — a simple square seat atop four legs. For a little more comfort, you could get a stool with a cushioned and upholstered seat, like this version from Regal Seating.

The tavern is all about the community. It’s a place for people to gather, whether they live down the road, or are just passing through. So keep it snug and intimate. You never know when someone will need to plan their next rebellion against those redcoats.

What are the Different Kinds of Wood Restaurant Tables?

There’s a lot more to selecting wood restaurant tables than choosing a wood type. There are finishes and styles to consider, the atmosphere of your restaurant, where the tables will be located, and how durable they need to be. 

That variety is what makes wood such an attractive tabletop material. There is a wood style for every need, from the upscale steakhouse to the casual beer garden. Their rich, natural feel will warm up any restaurant!

Here is a breakdown of the different kinds of wood restaurant tables to help you understand your options.

Indoor Options

Most wood restaurant tables are best for indoor use only. Wood naturally swells and contracts when it’s exposed to large shifts in temperature and humidity. So keeping wood furniture in a climate-controlled environment is the best way to prevent warping or checking, and extend the life of your furniture. 

Solid Plank 

Solid plank table tops consist of planks of wood tightly glued together into a flat surface. They can come in a wide variety of hardwoods, including pine, oak, maple, cherry, walnut, mahogany, and more. 

Solid plank tables are durable and hold up well to regular restaurant use. And since they’re built with simple techniques, they can be more affordable than some other wood restaurant table options.

Butcher Block 

Butcher block tables are made of thin strips of wood glued together and planed flat. Unlike the solid plank tables which show the face grain of the wood, butcher block exposes the edge grain. 

The tight fit of the strips makes butcher block less susceptible to warping or checking, and makes it incredibly durable. It’s also resistant to bacteria! That’s why so many chefs and butchers use butcher block as a prep or cutting surface. 

Quarter Sawn

Quarter-sawing is a method of ripping boards from the tree trunk that highlights the beautiful natural ring patterns of the wood. Each restaurant table made from quarter sawn wood will be completely unique, since no two pieces of lumber will be the same. 

Quarter sawn wood is resistant to warping and can be stained to a variety of different finishes. It will also have a smooth surface that will age even over time.

Reclaimed Barn Wood 

Reclaimed barn wood is exactly what it sounds like — wood that has been removed from old barns and re-purposed into something else. Using reclaimed material is environmentally friendly.  It keeps the old material out of the landfill, and reduces the number of new trees cut down.

Reclaimed barn wood brings natural variations to restaurant tables. The planks will all be aged and weathered a little differently. But they are generally planed to consistent thickness before use, so you’ll still get a nice flat table.

Restaurant tables made from reclaimed barn wood will have a warm, rustic appeal. They would be great for any restaurant looking for an old-world atmosphere.

Distressed Wood 

Distressed wood gives you the look of reclaimed barn wood, but at a lower cost. It is deliberately damaged to give it the appearance of age and use. Some methods of distressing can include hitting the wood with hammers or chains, using a wire brush, or even burning scorch marks into the wood.

Wood Slabs

A wood slab table is a statement piece. Made from one solid piece of wood, this type of table is meant to be impressive. Wood slab tables often have live edges, meaning the wood follows the contours of the tree rather than being cut into a perfect rectangle.

Due to their high cost and large size, a wood slab table is generally something you wouldn’t use throughout your whole restaurant. But they make a great addition to a private dining room or special occasion space. 

Outdoor Wood Tables 

Wood tables inside are great, but what are the different kinds of wood restaurant tables that you can use outdoors? 

You’ll want to look for materials that are weather resistant, so they will last longer than one or two seasons. And you may also want to consider the weight of the furniture, so it won’t blow around in the wind.

Fortunately, there are a couple wood restaurant table options that will work.

Teak 

Teak has a dense wood grain and natural oils that help to protect it from the elements. This innate weather-resistance makes it an ideal material for outdoor use.

Without maintenance, teak will patina into a silvery-grey. If you want it to stay brown, it will require some regular sanding and oiling. While teak can hold up to the elements, it will fare best over the years in a covered area where it doesn’t get rained on or bake in the sun. 

When well-maintained, teak furniture can last 60 or 70 years!

Resin-Coated

Resin keeps out moisture and will prevent wear or cracking of your wood furniture.

With its versatility and durability, wood is a great material for table tops. This natural, renewable resource will bring warmth and elegance to your dining room for years to come!

If you’re looking for wood restaurant tables for your restaurant, check out our wide selection at East Coast Chair & Barstool!

What is the Cost of Shipping for Restaurant Furniture?

FAQ's From the Files of East Coast Chair & Barstool

We live in a world where we’ve become accustomed to free or cheap shipping: free two-day shipping on that new laptop that you bought from Amazon Prime, or a flat $5.99 shipping on that silver charm bracelet that you got your wife for mother’s day. Those items ship via small package carriers like the US Postal Service, UPS Ground, or FedEx. They’re limited in size, weighing only a couple of pounds on average, and arrive at your front door in days.

Not all goods are as easy, or as cheap, to ship, however. Take restaurant furniture, for example. It’s big, bulky, heavy, and often ordered in multiple pieces (think 40 chairs, 10 bar stools, and 10 tables). For that reason, furniture is put on pallets and ships via a different method called less-than-truckload (LTL) carrier. LTL carriers take large palletized freight, and deliver it to your business on large semi-trucks.

There are many factors that determine the cost of shipping restaurant furniture via LTL carrier, some are obvious, and others, while not immediately apparent, make sense when you think about them. Here is a short list of the most important variables in the shipping calculation, along with a brief explanation.

Distance Between Shipper & Customer

The distance between the shipper and the customer (receiver) is one of the more obvious factors in the cost of shipping; we naturally expect that shipping from Boston to California will be more expensive than, say, shipping from Pennsylvania to Ohio. More distance means higher fuel costs and more driver time (wages). In addition, long trips often require a team of drivers that can alternate driving time in order to get the shipment to its destination in a timely manner.

Location

Shippers have what are called “good lanes” and “bad lanes”. A good lane is one that sees a lot of daily freight traffic, so the carrier knows that if they send a truck to that location, the odds are good that they will be able to fill the truck on the return trip. A bad lane is one in which there isn’t a lot of freight coming out, which means that the carrier may have to return empty, or only partially full. If a carrier can’t fill the truck, then they are making less money, or even losing money, on that trip. If a lane is bad for a carrier, then they will often charge more per piece to compensate themselves for the fact that they may not be able to fill the truck on the return. One prime example of a “bad lane” is Florida. There is a lot of freight going in to Florida, but not much coming out (for various reasons), so carriers will often charge a premium to deliver there.

Destination Type (Residential, Commercial, or Limited Access)

Customers often ask why it costs more to send a shipment to their home than it does to send the same shipment to their business. There are actually many reasons, but we’ll just list a few. First, businesses tend to be located in areas where large trucks can easily get in and out (if not, then they’re called limited access locations and are subject to the same fees as residential locations). Residential streets, on the other hand, are often too narrow for large semis to maneuver, so carriers have to send in a smaller truck, which means more handling of your freight. Second, businesses generally have somebody (or multiple people) and equipment on hand during business hours to unload the truck quickly and efficiently. Carriers know that they can just show up, open their doors, and the employees of the business will take care of the rest. With residential delivery, carriers have to call ahead to coordinate delivery, work around the homeowner’s schedule, and wait there until they unload the truck – often by hand.

Size of the Shipment

To simplify this point, let’s say you’re an LTL carrier that delivers from New York City to Orlando, FL. You know that to cover your costs and make a profit, you need to charge $3000 per truck for the trip. Now, a customer comes along and wants to ship 100 barstools to Orlando, which will take up about ⅓ of the truck. How much do you need to charge them? Of course, $1000! Now this is an over-simplification of the complex algorithms that carriers use to determine freight rates, but it does illustrate the point that the more of the truck you take up with your shipment, the more you pay.

Weight of the Shipment

You might be tempted to think that weight is the biggest factor in determining your freight costs, but that would be wrong. Weight does play a role, but it’s a smaller role than other variables. For example, according to one freight carrier website, you can ship a 48” x 48” x 60” pallet that weighs 200 pounds from Mercer, PA to Beverly Hills, CA (thank you Beverly Hills 90210 for being perpetually stuck in my brain and giving me a test zip code for life) for around $300. If we double the weight to 400 pounds, the rate only goes up around $50. Triple the weight, and you only increase another $20. How is this possible? Freight shippers use something called freight class, which is based on the density of your shipment: large, light materials have a high freight class, while smaller, denser materials have a lower freight class. As we raise the weight of the shipment, our density calculations go up, and our freight class goes down, which means that our overall rate only goes up a little bit for each additional pound that we ship.

Additional Services (Accessorials)

Accessorials are small additional services carriers provide that add up in a big way. Need a phone call before delivery? That’ll be up to $25, please. Want a lift gate to lower your pallets to the ground? They can range between $50 up to $200 depending on the carrier. Want the driver to bring your freight into the building? Don’t even ask! The point is that accessorial charges can be expensive, and should be avoided when possible.

As you’ve probably noticed, LTL freight is different from small package shipping in many ways. It can sound expensive at first, but there are two important things to remember.

  1. If you put 20 chairs on a pallet and it costs $200 to ship them, then that is only $10 per chair. If you were to ship the same number of chairs individually via small package delivery, the cost would be much higher.
  2. Truly free shipping is pretty much non-existent. You are almost always paying the freight, even if it doesn’t seem like it. It might come in the form of higher prices or reduced service levels, but shipping is always part of the cost of ordering restaurant furniture.

We hope this guide shed some light on the often confusing world of LTL freight and the true cost of shipping restaurant furniture.

If you have any additional questions, our shipping department is always happy to help. Just give us a call 800-986-5352.


Can I Use a Solid Wood Table Top as a Bar/Counter Top?

FAQ from East Coast Chair and Barstool

There’s no doubt that our wood tabletops are eye-catching. So much so, in fact, that many customers want to know if they can use them to top their bars or counter tops. Unfortunately, the answer is no, and there’s a good reason.

At East Coast Chair & Barstool, we offer a plethora of solid wood table tops that are manufactured with a specific sealing process designed for commercial dining tables, not bar tops.  Bar tops are traditionally finished with a thick layer of epoxy to create an impenetrable barrier between liquids and the surface of the wood. While this works well for bars, it tends to take away from the character and overall look of the wood, which is why it is not used for tables.

Even with our premium grade finishes, our solid wood tables are not warrantied for the wear and tear like an official bar top.

If you have further questions about our solid wood table tops, please give our customer care specialists a call at 800-986-5352.

What Bucket Bar Stool is Best for My Restaurant?

FAQ from East Coast Chair and Barstool

When you envision a classic bar in your head, you most likely imagine a bucket bar stool at the bar top. Buckets are comfortable and encourage customers to stay longer and spend more. But how are you going to know which one is best for your bar or restaurant?

To answer this question, you should first ask yourself what your goals are for your bar. Is comfort your top priority? Are looks important to you? Are you looking to fit as many as possible or are you okay with fewer stools? These questions are the best indicator of what bar stool you should go with.

Comfort

Any bucket bar stool is going to offer a higher level of comfort than a standard wood or metal stool, but if comfort is your top priority there are a few things to look for. First is seat thickness; you want a stool with a thick cushion because more cushion equals more comfort. Another is a flex back construction. Nobody wants to sit This allows for customers to lean back or adjust for maximum comfort. Finally, the molding of the seat. With an ergonomic seat and back, the seat will mold to the customer’s body for the ultimate in bar stool comfort.

Comfortable bar stools work well in restaurants that want to encourage customers to stay for a while and continue to drink.

Aesthetic

If you want your bucket bar stools to really add to your aesthetic, you might want to consider a tufted bucket bar stool. The unique buttoned vinyl design is not something that you see everywhere and will have your customers doing a double take.

Another option would be a bar stool with a decorative stitch. It may not seem like a lot, but the simple stitch addition will make the bucket stand out from the standard bucket bar stool.

Tufted or stitched bucket bar stools are a great option for bars looking to create a certain vibe or even a luxurious atmosphere.

Spacing

If you are a little short on space, a bar stool that has a rounding to the back often has a smaller footprint, which allows for more to be comfortably placed at a bar. This setup works well for smaller venues that still want to offer comfortable buckets to their customers.

Budget

Just because a bucket has a lower price point, doesn’t mean it isn’t a good stool. There are a few things you can look for in a budget-friendly stool to make sure it will work for you. A waterfall edge is a good option to have, this simply means there is no seam on the front of the seat, so it won’t tear with the consistent sliding on and off that some customers do.

Another feature to look for is seams with cord or PVC edging to protect them. This will help to increase the lifespan of your bucket.

Budget-friendly buckets are a great option for VFW’s, Elk Clubs, and similar organizations because they are cost-friendly and can keep customers comfortable for extended sitting and buying.

 

Still not sure what bucket bar stool would work for your business? Contact our customer care team at 800-986-5352 for their expert advice.

What is a Tufted Booth?

 

What is a Freight Forwarder

When looking at restaurant booths, there are a lot of options to choose from. If you decide to create a custom booth design the options can seem endless and overwhelming. One of the options that you might notice is the selection for a tufted booth, but what exactly is a tufted booth?

To tuft a fabric means to make depressions at regular intervals by passing thread through it. Most commonly found on different types of cushions, including the back cushion of a restaurant booth.

A tufted booth is a fabric or vinyl restaurant booth that has tufting on the back created by depressions in the material. Typically, it is done in a repeating diamond pattern, which is most common. The diamond button pattern uses a combination of buttons and folds to create diamond shapes on the back of the booth.

In total there are four types of tufting: biscuit button tufting, diamond button tufting, single line button tufting, and buttonless tufting. By using these four different styles, completely different looks can be created.

Adding tufting to a restaurant booth can create some flair and visual interest, to an otherwise simplistic booth. Or it can be used as added texture to an already beautiful booth. Designers use tufting to create a particular booth design that can then help communicate to customers the feel of the restaurant. Typically, it is used to communicate a feeling of comfort and luxury.

If you’d like to see examples of all styles of booths, check out our booth gallery on our Facebook page.

 

What is Flex Back Seating?

When looking at restaurant seating there are a lot of different things to look for. A phrase you might see appearing quite often during your search is the term ‘flex back’. But what exactly is a flex back? A flex back chair or bar stool has a back that tilts as the person seated moves or applies pressure on the back.

So, now you might be asking yourself “what is the benefit of a flex back?” They add comfort to the chair by allowing your customers to lean back and get comfy, instead of hitting the unmoving pieces of a standard back.

The piece that allows the back to flex is usually a metal piece that securely connects the seat to the back. It is secure enough to ensure the furniture retains its structural integrity, but also allow for some movement.

Studies have shown when customers feel comfortable they stay longer; when they stay longer, they spend more. Restaurants with a more formal atmosphere, that want to encourage diners to stay and continue ordering, tend to opt for comfortable furniture with features like flex backs. This is often seen in bucket bar stools where the intent is to keep customers at the bar.

Standard and flex back options are both structurally sound and hold similar capacities. Ultimately, a flex back allows for additional comfort for your customers and increased spending potential at your restaurant.

What is Communal Dining?

Over the past few years, you may have noticed an increase in large dining tables in restaurants. In the past tables of this size were usually relegated to the family dining room, but now these communal tables are popping up in restaurants all over the country.

These tables are used to facilitate communal dining, which is the practice of dining with others, usually accommodating more than one party. While they might be reminiscent of cafeterias and beer halls, they have gotten a facelift in recent years. With both indoor and outdoor options designed to work with current trends, these tables help to complete the look of a restaurant, instead of just being a way to save space.

The concept is centered on food and people coming together to share a meal. The sharing of a table helps to break down the barriers of the restaurant and promotes conversation flow among patrons.

Most restaurants never dreamed their patrons would tolerate dining with strangers, but it makes good business sense. The large tables allow restaurants to accommodate large groups more easily. Even when the table is split into several parties, it adds seats, creating a good use of space.

Many cities with a large “foodie” market have seen great success with communal dining tables. Cities like Boston, Chicago, and New York see small groups come in, sit down, and interact with each other. Then they end up discussing the food and end up buying each other drinks and making new friends.

If you have the right space, and think it will work with your concept, there are many options to choose from to fit your look. It is recommended that the tables be large enough to seat from 8 to 12 guests and be at least 30 inches wide to ensure that everyone has enough space for food and electronic devices.

Do you think a communal dining experience would enhance your restaurant? Let us know in the comments below!