The Complete Guide to Buying a Booth

Most restaurants and bars have at least some booth in their dining area, which is no coincidence because booths offer many benefits like comfort, privacy, and more space for customers. With their soft padded seats and backs, booths enable customers to sit back, relax, and fully enjoy their meal. The additional padding, paired with a high back, also helps to block sound and keep conversations confined to the booth, giving more privacy to patrons.

Booths are a favorite of customers, and the average customer spends more while sitting in a booth than at a table and chairs. According to a study by Cornell University on The Impact of Restaurant Table Characteristics on Meal Duration and Spending, booths received the highest spending per minute compared to other types of table and seating arrangements. On average diners spend $2.00 more per person.

With all the benefits booths have to offer, they are an important element of your restaurant. But, with so many options to choose from, it is hard to know where to start when deciding which booth is right for you. In this booth buying guide, we will walk you through the process: picking a design, selecting the materials, and placing your order.

Sizing

The most important dimension in the sizing of a booth is its length. The standard booth length is 48”, but larger sizes are common as well; a good rule of thumb is to allow at least 24” per person. From there you have the option of how tall you want the back. Back heights usually start at 36” and go up to 43”, which is the most commonly chosen height. Heights can be customized as well.  If you want additional privacy, you could choose a booth that is 60” or even taller.

Do you have an area of your establishment that doesn’t fit perfectly with the booth sizing we currently offer?

That’s Okay. We can make a custom size booth for you. All we need are measurements and a diagram

of what you want it to look like. If you want a large booth, for example, to cover an entire back wall of a

restaurant, then it will be made in 8-foot sections that then can be put together to create one long

section. We can customize any booth to fit your needs.

Shapes

To achieve the perfect fit you’ll need to consider what shape you want your booth to be. There are three traditional shapes for booths. The most common is the straight booth, which is exactly what it sounds like. The majority of restaurant booths are straight. It can be backed up against a wall or positioned with its side against a wall or window. It can also be double sided, so that you can use 1 booth to seat customers at 2 tables.

The second shape is the L-shaped booth, which is two straight booths pushed together to form an L shape.  L-shaped booths work well in corners and in areas where you want to create private little dining nooks.

The third shape is a U shape. It is three straight booths arranged to look like a large U.  It is commonly used to create small private areas that can seat entire families.

The fourth and only booth shape that we do not currently make, is a circle booth. We do this so our booths can be made in a timely fashion and can be sent to our customer as quickly as possible.

Materials

Once you determine the size and shape of your booth, you can now choose your materials and options. A few materials come standard in every one of our booths, including 2.5 pound density foam and high quality no-sag springs. Many other booth manufacturers use 1 or 1.5 pound density foam, a much thinner material that won’t be as comfortable, nor hold up as long. The higher density allows for more use without losing any integrity. We chose to use this foam to give our customers the best quality and value possible.

Our foam also meets the California fire code requirements.

An integral part of determining a booth’s durability and comfort is the springs. We use no-sag Leggett and Platt springs. These springs have a unique coil design that is responsible for the no-sag feature. In addition to these high quality springs we use paper covered wires that string from one end of the seat to the other. We do this for an added layer of stability and protection. If by chance one of the heavy duty springs does break (which is unlikely), the extra wire will hold it in place so that the user doesn’t feel a broken coil.  It also reduces the chance that the coil could poke through the vinyl.

 

Frame

All of our booths are made using wood, not particle board, which provides additional support and a longer lasting product.  Be wary of purchasing a booth that is framed with particle board, as it won’t be as strong.

The industry standard life of a booth is between 3-5 years.We warranty our booths for 10 years against structural problems because we are so confident in their construction.

The insides of our booths are constructed from solid beech and beech plywood. Any wood that can be seen on the outside of the booth is made of either solid beech or solid red oak, stained in the finish of your choice. The difference between these two wood types is the grain. Beech has a less pronounced grain giving it a more modern look while oak has a more noticeable open grain, achieving a more traditional wood look. Both woods are comparable in hardness and durability, so quality is not a factor in the decision-making process; it’s more about personal preference.

 

Cover

Next, you have to choose how you want to cover your booth. Most restaurants choose to cover booths in vinyl because it is a durable and easy to clean material that works well in a commercial setting. When selecting vinyl there are a few basics to guide you in your search. The thicker the vinyl (which is measured in ounces) the more durable.  The durability of a vinyl can also be expressed in a measurement called a double rub, which are a

measurement of a fabric’s abrasion resistance.

Double rubs are found through a mechanized test called the Wyzenbeek test, where a piece of cotton is stretched over a mechanical arm and passed back and forth over the fabric in each direction. Each back and forth motion is considered one double rub. The cotton duck passing over the fabric simulates the wear of a fabric being used as a seat cushion. The test is run in sets of 5,000 double rubs until the fabric shows “noticeable wear.” Anything between 15,000-30,000 double rubs is considered heavy duty and suitable for commercial use.  We use Naugahyde vinyl, which is made in the US and is certified for 250,000 double rubs.

We have many color options available to our customers.  We don’t stock every color, but if you would like to see a sample, you can contact the company that makes the vinyl and they will send you samples free of charge.

Perhaps vinyl isn’t your taste and you would like to have your booth covered in fabric instead.  If so, we can accommodate you. If you source your own fabric, you can send it to our production facility in Mercer, PA, and we can upholster your booth with it.  Be aware, however, that not all fabric is suitable for commercial use, so it’s important to check the fabric for its recommended use. Fabric is also tested in double rubs, you can check this number to see if it can be used commercially. Please note we do not offer a warranty on cloth fabrics because they are less durable than vinyl.

Finishes & Stains

Once you decide on the type of wood you would like, you need to choose what color wood finish would fit the style of your business best. We offer five different wood finishes for our standard, solid wood booths: walnut, cherry, natural, mahogany and black. If you have your heart set on an Urban Distressed or reclaimed wood booth, you have additional finish options available.

Extras

Finally, after you’ve selected all of your materials, you still have a few additional customization options available. Would you like to add some texture to you booth? Consider 3-channel seaming, two strips of piping that divide the back of your booth into three sections and add a linear visual to your overall aesthetic. You can use the same color vinyl or select an accent color for the piping to really make your booth pop. Another option is a pillow top. Similar to the look of a pillow on a bed, a pillow top is additional cushioning at the top of the back that provides additional comfort and texture. Finally, some booth designs can be fitted with a coat hook. This can be a useful addition to hold not only coats but women’s purses. Or perhaps, some vintage style tufting. All of these options are available for an additional upcharge.

We have compiled a few tips and tricks to help you make the ordering process even smoother.

Tips

Start Early

It is best to get the ball rolling as soon as possible. For a custom order, plan on a 4-6 week production time, plus the time it takes to ship to your location.  We often see restaurant owners who are so busy with the other tasks of opening/renovating a restaurant, that they wait to order their furniture until a week or two before the grand opening and end up having to sacrifice the look they want so they have seating for customers.  You’ll want to be sure to allow yourself plenty of time to have your establishment looking perfect before the inspection or grand opening, so factor this timing into your calculations.

Production for a custom order does not begin until you approve the invoice in writing, so that you know exactly what you’re getting. Once that signature is completed, the 4-6 week production time starts. Please note that custom orders cannot be returned.

Do Your Research

It sounds like common sense, but search for something that you like, and don’t settle. The internet is full of examples of beautiful booths; gather a few and present them to your customer service specialist to help them better understand what you are looking for. We do have an album that displays our previous custom booth orders on our Facebook Page to help you get inspiration. Pinterest is another useful place to search for ideas. Another low-tech option is to go to restaurants near you to take a look at their furniture. If you find something you like, take pictures, and share them with your Customer Care Specialist.

Know Your Space

Knowing where you want to place your booth is a great start when getting ready to order. Where do you want the top of your booth? It is important to measure for yourself so you can get a visual on the height and width of the booth. What is 36 in. in your head might not be what an actual 36 in. booth looks like, so take the time to measure it out for a clearer understanding. Most windows are about 36 in. in height from the ground, something you’ll want to think about when choosing your booth area. If you want to put your booth under a window, this height could work for you. If not, you might want to consider something taller. These are all things to consider when looking at sizing.

If you have a particular area in mind for your booth it is always good to measure that area. You can then give this information to your customer care specialist and they can make sure to note that for our Amish craftsmen to consider while designing/building your booth. Something to consider is if you have a 40 in. space your booth needs to be a little smaller to allow for the padding and the vinyl that covers it. Please speak to your Customer Care Specialist about this matter. If you are concerned about sizing, a drawing with measurements could be helpful in making sure your booth is as precise as possible.

Do not forget to account for “wiggle room.” It is important to allow enough space for your customers to enter and exit the booth.

Booths have a variety of benefits for both customers and restaurant owners.  Customers enjoy the comfort and privacy that a booth provides, while owners take advantage of the fact that booth customers tend to spend more money…it’s a win-win.  East Coast Chair & Barstool booths are made of highly durable yet comfortable materials and are handmade by our Amish craftsmen to your specifications. We are confident that you will be pleased once your booth(s) arrives at your door.

Once you have thoughtfully considered all of your options and are looking to order a booth give us a call at 800-986-5352! You will be connected with one of our customer care specialists who can help guide you through the ordering process.

 

Custom Upholstery Options at East Coast Chair & Barstool

A great way to communicate your restaurant’s unique approach is by considering custom upholstery for your booths, seating, and one of a kind items. You might be thinking to yourself that custom usually means expensive. Fortunately, because of our in-house team of craftsmen, we can offer our customers one-of-a-kind looks at affordable prices.

Booth Options

While we do offer a selection of quick ship booths, where our Amish craftsmen really shine, is in our custom upholstery options. Whether it is on a booth, seat, or a completely custom product, our custom upholstery options can take your design to the next level. Whether you are envisioning a funky vinyl color or a reclaimed wood booth with fabric backing and a coat hanger, we can make it happen.

Fabric and Vinyl

On our restaurant booths, you can choose from a wide variety of colorful vinyl options to find the perfect fit for your look.  Our vinyl starts at 26-ounce weight and can vary depending on your vinyl choice. All vinyl comes with a 1-year warranty.

 

An Amish-craftsman creating custom vinyl buttons for a tufted booth.

Perhaps vinyl isn’t your taste and you would like to have your booth covered in fabric instead of vinyl; we can accommodate you. You can also send us your own fabric, which we can use to upholster your seating as long as it is commercial grade. Not all fabric is suitable for commercial use, so please be sure to check the fabric you select for its recommended purpose.

 

Piping

Adding piping to your booth gives it just that little bit extra to tie your look together. Piping is extra vinyl that is put over the booth seams to create almost an outline of the booth. The sky is the limit when selecting colors. Matching piping to the booth color looks great and so does choosing a different color. It mostly depends on what you’d like your booths to say about your restaurant.

Tufted

One of our newest custom offerings is our tufted backs. Our many vinyl options can be used to cover buttons which are then each individually placed on the back of a booth to create a beautiful tufting pattern. This tufting not only creates a unique texture but gives the booth an upscale aesthetic that will take your design to the next level.

Seating

Seats

Booths aren’t the only products that can get custom upholstery. Many of our metal seating options can be customized as well. Any furniture with a vinyl seat can be customized. Love our signature Viktor, Gladiator, and Simon chairs and bar stools but want to offer your customers something comfier than a hard metal seat? Vinyl cushions can be added to your furniture to accommodate your clientele.

Totally Custom

With our in-house team of skilled Amish craftsmen, East Coast Chair & Barstool is able to create some totally custom products. For example, a customer recently requested an ottoman with a tufted top made of fabric. Their burlap style fabric with tufting not only looks great but can be used as storage too. The sides of the ottoman also are engraved with the customer’s logo.

Custom upholstery can add about 2-3 weeks to production time, but if you are willing to wait you’ll have a totally unique item to help your restaurant stand out from the rest. To guarantee your order arrives with time to spare, give our sales team a call at 800-986-5352 to explore all of your options.

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.