Your patrons are the most important part of your venue and therefore you want them to be comfortable while they enjoy the coffee and cake you have on offer. Whilst you want your venue to look incredible, you also want your guests to be comfortable. What you need is the quality that brings comfort as well as style to your venue.
Being a supplier of commercial furniture for many years, we have come across many of the complaints that café owners often face with their chairs. We’ve heard the issues owners like yourself have faced when buying their chairs and then after the chairs have been installed. If we can in any way make your life easier and complaint-free, we will try. For this reason, we’ve written this article to outline the top 5 problems you may face and our recommended solutions.
1: Chairs that aren’t very old falling apart
Chairs get a hard time in the hospitality industry and it’s not a wonder that they begin to look a little worn after some time in the wild. Unfortunately, some chairs don’t stand the test of time and fall apart before they should. Whilst some chair breakages are simply from misuse or because the furniture has lived its full life, some is purely down to the quality of the chair.
When you are looking for your perfect café chairs, look at the quality of the products you’re buying. Watch for a good warranty and make sure the company you are buying from is reputable and will honour the warranty if anything does go wrong. Furniture warranties or guarantees are a good sign that the chairs you are buying are of good quality and will last in your venue.
You might think you are saving yourself money to go with cheaper furniture. Cheap quality chairs are not worth the savings. If the quality isn’t up to standard, you are not saving yourself money in the long run. You will need to replace them much sooner than you would quality chairs. Not only this, but if a patron hurts themselves because of a faulty chair, you are liable, and they could sue you. Unfortunately, this has happened before!
Alternatively, make sure you maintain a strict maintenance program to ensure that bolts and screws are tight and there aren’t any cracks in the chairs that could later cause issues.
A quick tip from us: avoid chairs of Asian origin unless it is backed up by some sort of guarantee. Often furniture created in Asian factories is made from materials that simply don’t cope with the Australian climate or harsh bashing that the Australian hospitality industry dolls out. However, having said that, not all Asian furniture is the same!
2: Finding the right comfort to suit your venue goals
When it comes to your café chairs, you want to know exactly what your goal is for them. You want them to offer the right amount of comfort to your patrons.
Whilst you want your chairs to be comfortable, you don’t want them to be too comfortable and cause guests to stay for extended periods of time, meaning that new patrons can’t be seated.
Alternatively, you don’t want your chairs to be uncomfortable and drive patrons away. If your customers aren’t comfortable enough, they won’t stay for long and won’t return. You want them to stay long enough to enjoy themselves.
To avoid these problems, you need to work out what your goal is with your venue. How long would you like your patrons to stay for? This is a customer goal decision you need to make, and this decision should help you in choosing chairs that suit your venue and your needs well.
3: Not enough back support
When you’re looking for your new café chairs, you want to make sure that your customers are comfortable. No matter what your goal is for your café (as per the previous section), you still want your guests to have enough back support to be comfortable. A common issue we’ve seen with café chairs is that they chairs don’t provide the back support that they should.
Café chairs should be comfortable enough for your guests to relax and enjoy their meal, not having them rush off as soon as they can because they’re uncomfortable. Back support is important to ensuring your customers’ comfort.
This mostly comes down to the design of the chair. Some chairs aren’t designed properly and when they’re sat in, there might be some timber that pokes into your customer’s back, or maybe it wraps around tightly and doesn’t accommodate people who are wider than others.
Our recommendation would be to sit in the chair you are looking at putting through your venue. Test it out yourself and make sure you find it comfortable enough.
4: Chairs that are too upright vs chairs that are too laid back
Another issue that we commonly see that contributes to customer comfort and satisfaction, is the uprightness of the chair. Chairs that are too upright aren’t comfortable and at the other end of the scale, chairs that are too laid back can be uncomfortable. Not only are these chairs uncomfortable, but they can also make eating the meal hard for your patrons.
Once again, when you choose your new café chairs, test them yourself. Have a seat in them. Line them up with a table and see what you think. Are they too upright? Are they too laid back? Or are they just about right. If its uncomfortable for you, it’ll be uncomfortable for your customers.
This is also about the purpose you want your chair to be serving. In some circumstances, you may want some more casual areas, where a chair that is a bit more laid-back fits the bill. However, you may have other areas that suit something a little more upright and formal.
5: Aluminium legs bending
Another problem we’ve seen all too often is aluminium legs bending on chairs. This can happen when the legs aren’t thick enough or don’t have the support, they need to withstand the environment. Chairs are rocked on, sat on awkwardly and bear varied weights. Some bear up to the usage well, others don’t.
A great way to ensure the aluminium legs on your chairs won’t bend in or collapse is to ensure the wall thickness of the legs is at least 2mm.
Alternatively, purchase chairs that don’t have aluminium legs. There are many chairs out there with timber or steel frames. Whilst these are more expensive, and can come with problems of their own, they may not present the same bending problem that aluminium legs do.