What do you want people to notice when they first step into your restaurant? Probably it is the ambience, the classy décor, the well turned out staff, and the quality furniture. What you do not want them to see is damaged furniture and furnishings beginning to suffer from the passage of time. Sooner or later all your furnishings will need to be replaced, but the longer you can put that day off by preventing damage, the better it will be for your business.
A lot of the damage that is done is caused by the customers. There is a limit to how much you can interfere with what your customers do without turning into the British sitcom character Basil Fawlty, but you can try to limit the damage.
Leaning back on a chair is the quickest way to damage the legs. Keeping the distance to the next table to the minimum comfortable gap will discourage this. Alternatively, staff could politely ask a customer if he (it usually is a he) is uncomfortable to draw attention to what is happening.
Wobbling chairs are not only annoying but are likely to scratch floors because the most frequent cause is the loss of a glider. Check chairs regularly for a full complement. When purchasing commercial restaurant chairs get good quality items and, if they use gliders, make sure you get plenty of spares.
Staff members need to be properly trained to avoid damage to furnishings and floors. When cleaning floors the chairs will probably be lifted upside down onto the tables. Ensure that this is done carefully and that the chairs are replaced gently on the floor.
Not standing on chairs or tables is a basic healthy and safety requirement and alternative means to reach high places should be provided.
A lot of the damage that happens is the result of the fact that this is, after all, a restaurant. If you have chosen your furniture for its aesthetic properties, you may have to take special care that it can withstand the work it is required to do.
Wood can swell, contract, and split if it is warmed and cooled too rapidly. Avoid placing natural wood furniture in the close vicinity of heat sources, such as ovens, direct sunlight, and open fires. Provide hot plates to prevent hot items being placed directly on vulnerable table tops, causing heat stains and damage.
Drinks will inevitably be spilled. Choose surfaces that can be wiped clean. If chairs have fabric seats, they should be stain resistant or easy to remove and wash.
If furniture gets moved around during a serving session, make sure that it is moved back to its proper place as soon as possible. Be especially alert to customers taking indoor furniture outside.
Protect Your Investment
High-quality furniture is an important part of your business investment. Constant vigilance is a small price to pay for getting the maximum life out of it, protecting your assets and keeping your restaurant an attractive place to dine for many years to come.