Your chairs and tables can have a large impact on your restaurant. Aside from the visual styling affecting the mood and theme of your restaurant the shape, height, and angle of the table and chairs affects how customers interact in your restaurant.
In the bar area, taller tables create a less formal atmosphere and encourage guests to walk up and talk with other guests. Due to the less formal atmosphere, taller tables encourage more drinking and lower amounts of formal entrees such as steak or salmon. It lends itself to more finger foods and shareable appetizers and entrees.
To encourage extra mingling and communication, having backless stools at the bar allows guests to talk with other guests in any direction and allows more people to fit at the bar.
Avoid backless chairs at tables you want people to dine at however. Backless stools don’t offer proper support for periods of long sitting. Therefore guests are unlikely to order any food item that requires them to sit for long periods of time.
Spacing your tables farther apart will allow for more standing room in busier bars and encourage more communication. Tables that are closer together in a bar area will actually create a bit more privacy as you will have less standing guests and have customers more focused at the other guests at the table rather than those around them. This could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on the theme of your restaurant or bar.
In the dining area, lower tables are obviously the standard choice. Opposite of the bar area, these lower tables encourage guests to sit and enjoy a more formal meal. Lower tables create more privacy as seated guests are not at the same eye level. Booths with higher backs can help to create further privacy. The more privacy you create in your dining room, the longer guests will tend to sit. If you want guests to sit for long periods enjoying many courses, private tables are more likely to aid in this. Further, guests are likely to pay more for entrees in private, dimmer, intimate spaces.
Softer seats also encourage guests to sit longer as well as chairs and booths with a greater backwards incline. Don’t ever have chairs or booths with a straight 90 degree incline. This is painful and torturous to your customers.
If you would like customers to eat quickly and proceed onward so you can make more money through volume, you should have less comfortable chairs or booths. Have low or little padding on your chairs and have a tighter incline on the backs of the chairs. Furthermore, you can place tables closer together and in brightly lit spaces to limit privacy and encourage greater turnover of tables.
Your table height, shape, and positioning can play a lot into the way customers interact with your restaurant or bar. With some strategy you can encourage guests to stay for long periods or leave quickly after eating. Depending on the style and direction of your facility, you can use these tactics to improve your business flow and in turn your profitability.