What Your Restaurant Booth Style Says About You

What Your Restaurant Booth Style Says About Your

It is opening night of your new steak restaurant and everything is ready to go. Your entrees are savory and your deserts are delectable. Every piece of furniture is in its place. Staff is fully trained and prepared to take on their first shift at what they hope is the new hot spot in town. The clock strikes and you are officially open for business. A man approaches the door and moves to pull it open, you hold your breath in anticipation of your first customer. That is when you spot them. The flip-flops.

As your eyes begin to take in the whole picture you notice not only is this man wearing flip-flops but swim trunks, a t-shirt, and his hair looks like he just came out of the water. He grabs a menu, takes one look at your prices and heads right for the door. You can hear his flip-flops echo down the sidewalk as he heads to the hot dog shop next door.

As customers begin to trickle in for the dinner rush you start to notice a pattern. Many customers dressed like your first arrival gaze at your pricing and promptly leave. You can’t figure out what is getting lost in translation. Why are people arriving fresh from the beach to dine at your restaurant? Your menu isn’t the problem, but your furniture just might be.

The way a restaurant looks helps to let its potential customers know what to expect when entering. It helps them to determine what kind of food they will be eating, atmosphere, pricing, and even if there is a dress code or not. Sending the wrong message can leave your customers with unfulfilled expectations, and you with bad reviews. Let’s take a moment to consider what your booths are saying about your restaurant and if it is the right message for you.

Color

Retro Booth DesignColor plays a major role in what type of experience potential customers expect from your business. Bright colors paired together communicate a fun vibrant atmosphere perfect for a night out or a casual get together with friends. Darker colors speak of an intimate setting such as a date night or maybe a business meeting. Deeper/darker hues often give a feeling of a more formal establishment that is going to have a higher price point than that of a dollar a slice pizza place.

Consider the clientele that you are hoping to cater to when looking at colors. Opening up a Mexican restaurant looking to specialize in fast service at great prices? Bright colors would be a great way to attract customers trying to grab a quick and affordable lunch before heading back to the office. Blacks, browns, and deep hues work well in upscale bars and restaurants because they feel more traditional of a sit down dinner venue. This lets your customers know that the food might not be best for a quick lunch but better suited for a business lunch.

The only exception to the idea of bright colors communicating a lower price point is a business that serves exclusively breakfast. Touches of bright color to a brunch spot helps to let customers know that you cater exclusively to early morning meals that help start their day off right. It brings to mind the idea of fresh fruits and bright starts. Darker colors in a breakfast establishment communicate more of a budget friendly diner atmosphere.
Comfort

It goes hand in hand that the higher the quality of the materials used to cover the booth, the higher class your establishment will look. The more upscale the appearance, the greater expectation for the quality of the meal, and the more willing customers are to pay higher prices.

Reclaimed Restaurant Booth

Vinyl is the most common material used for restaurant booths. It comes in many colors, is durable and easy to clean, making it a go to option for many owners. The design of your vinyl can be a great indicator to customers what to expect of an establishment. A simple black or red vinyl booth with no piping or pillow top clues customers in to the idea that establishment might be more concerned with quick service at good prices than making it a total dining experience from start to finish. While a booth with a custom fabric pattern with a pillow top and a coat hanger speaks to additional comfort and a business that invested in their appearance, overall atmosphere and comfort level of patrons.

An option other than vinyl is wood. Restaurant booths made of wood are a more expensive option than vinyl but adds a level of durability to the booth, as well as adding a feeling of warmth that wood brings to a design. Stain options run the gambit from very light to black, allowing you to choose the message that you send customers as soon as they walk in the door.

A unique yet popular wood choice is reclaimed wood. This is wood that has been taken from barns and re-purposed to create something new. The look is very popular right now, but especially for booths. It has an earthy feel while still managing a look of sophistication and finesse. The reclaimed look is particularly prominent in craft breweries and bars looking to make a statement about being unique. It lets customers know that that the owners have a lot of pride in their business and have a mind of their own. Their menu offerings and ambiance are going to reflect that individualistic intention.

One way to achieve that upscale design is by integrating texture into your booth materials. Whether it is a physical texture of wood, reclaimed wood, or fabric, that small difference can make a big change in how your business is perceived. Even patterned vinyl can help get the look of adding texture while keeping the comfort and easy cleaning of vinyl.

Privacy

The size of your booth can speak volumes to a customer without ever saying a word. A booth with a 36” back (the shortest available) does not afford the same amount of privacy and intimacy as the same exact booth but with a 54” back (the tallest available). The higher back prevents kids from peeking at other dinners, and helps to dim the conversation from a nearby table, something that dinners who are seeking a special night out appreciate.

The lower back height might be a perfect fit for the local diner looking to provide food that sticks to your ribs at a good price with a decent turnover rate. A higher back booth might be a good fit in a high-end steak restaurant looking to cater to guests looking to dine out for a special occasion and spend some time enjoying the meal and good conversation before leaving. Currently higher backs are trendy. So any business wishing to communicate that to their potential customers might want to consider booths with taller backs.

While booths are only one part of a restaurants design, they are an anchor point visually. It is easy to forget about their importance when building a restaurant’s atmosphere but if done wrong they can ruin the perception that has been so carefully curated throughout the rest of the business.

Appearances aren’t everything, but they do say a lot about your business to first time customers. Color, materials and back height are all clues to lead your customers to a certain conclusion as to what they can expect from your restaurant in terms of food style, pricing, and atmosphere. Be sure to use your booths to project the messages that you wish to say to your customers about what to expect.

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A Guide to Booth Seating for Your Bar or Restaurant

Restaurant Booth Seating

All restaurant owners know that the dining room is the revenue producing area of their business.  So, shouldn’t it be laid out and designed with comfort and efficiency in mind?  The most cost-effective and space-efficient way to design and add comfort to your dining area is through the use of booth seating.  By adding booths, you’ll save floor space, and that means that you can offer MORE seating to MORE people who will be ordering MORE from your menu.  And, booths are MORE comfortable and offer customers MORE privacy as added bonuses.  Sounds like a WIN-WIN all around!

Before adding booths, planning for their addition is a must.  Not only do you need to know the lingo, specifically regarding the types and sizes of booths, but you’ll also need to measure and determine what space you have available.  With booth sizing, you will see terms like single, double, split, and deuce. The smallest of the booths are deuce booths which offer seating for just two people across the table from one another.  Single booths offer seating on one side and a flat back on the other and these booths are typically used for the end of a row of booths.  Additionally, double booths are the booths in between tables with two backs and two seats, kind of like two single booths built back to back together as one piece.  Finally, split booths are the ones you see with booth seating on one side of the table and chairs on the other.  All of these booths come in different heights and widths so taking measurements of your dining area to plan for spacing is going to be an important task, one that will require a little extra from you.

Space planning should start with exploring the internet for examples of booth seating arrangements or restaurant dining area layouts.   These layouts are plentiful and can offer you a starting point or a general idea on how best to situate your dining area.  Next, we suggest a simple drawing to give you a visual; it can be done free hand, with a desktop drawing program, or with the assistance of a professional designer who can help you make sure the spacing is just right.

To guide you in your planning, consider these simple “rules of thumb” when it comes to booth seating and spacing for your restaurant dining room layout:

Booth Illustration

Rule #1: Allow for the total booth width to be between 64” to 74”, from the top of one seat back to the top of the other

Rule #2: Allow for the seat back depth to be between 3” to 6”

Rule #3: Allow for a clearance of at least 16” from the seat back to the table edge; 16” to 18” is typically a comfortable seating depth

Rule #4: Allow for the table top height of 30”; for a split booth, allow this height to be 31”with the distance to the underside of the table to be at least 30” in order to accommodate a person who uses a wheelchair

Rule #5: Allow for the table width to be between 24” and 42”; for 24” wide tables, booths require 66” from center to center of top caps and 30” wide tables require 72” between the center top caps

Rule #6: Allow for a clearance of between 19” and 22” from the table edge to the back of the seat cushion

Rule #7: Allow for a seat height between 16” and 18”

Rule #8:  Allow for the table edge to align vertically with the outer edge of the booth seat.  This is considered standard layout for booths.

In addition to these rules of thumb, be sure to consider cantilever table bases for your booths.  These are bases that attach to the wall underneath the table in order to offer the best support and plenty of leg room for your customers.  And, don’t forget to allow ample space in the isles for customer and wait staff traffic so that people are not running into each other and to accommodate a wheelchair if needed (at least 36”).

Once you have done all of the “dirty work” to figure out the layout of your dining area, it’s time for some good, “clean” fun…shopping for the actual booths to install into your restaurant!  Is it possible to find the perfect booth seating to fit with your restaurant design and offer warmth to your atmosphere?  Absolutely! There are so many options with regard to style that we know you’ll find booths that will impress you and your customers.  Just remember, spacing and layout are keys to your success, and booths are a great way to increase comfort while bringing in more customers to relax and enjoy your food.