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    4 Essential Elements of Upscale Restaurant Furniture

    Written by Joel Strulovitch

    Ah, the luxury of the upscale restaurant. We could write a whole essay on why people love fine dining, but in short, we'll just say this: people love being pampered, and you should keep that in mind as you start choosing upscale restaurant furniture. This My Cooking Magazine piece sets the scene: 

    The wine list is vast. The signature cocktails are many. Often, you are tended to by more than one server, and a wine expert will drop by your table, too. You pay for what you get in terms of food quality and how the experience makes you feel. 

    That last piece is so important to grasp, especially for new and up-and-coming owners and operators looking to.

    In order to succeed, you can't just put together an excellent menu and wait staff. Though those elements are absolutely crucial, they alone will not be enough to meet customers' expectations. You'll need to invest just as much energy in capturing the appropriate ambiance for your dining experience. That starts with choosing the right furniture.

    4 Must-Have Pieces of Upscale Restaurant Furniture

    1. Tables 

    Rather than spend too much time discussing practical matters relating to restaurant tables, which we've detailed extensively elsewhere on this site, we'll simply say this: in order to make it as an upscale restaurant, you must do better than meet expectations in these categories. You must exceed them. 

    When furnishing an upscale restaurant, even your basic elements cannot be simply utilitarian. They must be extraordinary.

    That includes your tables. Yes, they must be the right size and provide the proper configuration to maximize your dining room. But in a fine dining establishment, even the tables must contribute to the overall sensory experience.  

    2. Mirrors

    One way to retain intimacy while seating guests in proximity without creating a stifling effect is to make smart use of mirrors. 

    In addition to opening up small and intimate spaces, mirrors can also amplify even the softest lighting to elegant effect. 

    When working with mirrors, remember to keep your desired ambiance in mind. In some situations, an artfully distressed mirror would suit perfectly. In other situations, it would look painfully out of place.

    Choose wisely.

    3. Fancy Chairs

    We say "fancy" because, like tables, chairs for upscale restaurants must be somewhat beyond the ordinary. Though we can't speak to everyone's situations, in many circles, nothing says "fancy" quite like leather. 

    There's a good reason for this reputation. Because leather is an organic material, there's naturally a limit to the supply. And you know what happens with supply and demand. Typically, leather products aren't cheap, and the larger the product to be covered, the higher the price tag.

    Leather isn't just valued for its limited availability, of course. It also has a unique look and feel, which we will discuss in greater detail a bit further down in this piece. If your desired ambiance (and your budget!) can include leather chairs, we highly recommend you consider them.

    4. Lamps

    Furnishing an upscale restaurant would not be complete without a unique form of lighting. First, you'll want to take into consideration your overall needs.

    • Have you provided enough ambient lighting for staff and guests to move about freely without struggling?
    • Should you install track lighting to highlight pathways?
    • Do guests need menu lighting at their tables?
    • Does your dining room have any unique features that could be amplified with creative accent lighting? 

    Beyond those primary considerations, consider using lamps to provide creative and fun flourishes that match your overall ambiance. Whether it's a small, intimate table lamp or a large standing lamp in the center of the room, be sure it suits the overall tone you're working to achieve. 

    3 Design Principles to Keep in Mind While Furnishing an Upscale Restaurant

    woman holding wine at a table in a fancy restaurant

    As you make decisions about your upscale restaurant furniture, be sure to keep the additional principles in mind.

    1. Consider Look and Feel 

    A five-star meal can't just look good. It also has to taste good.

    In the same way, an upscale restaurant can't just look good. It also has to feel good. Therefore, as you make decisions about furniture pieces, be sure to evaluate the sensory and visual appeal.

    Sometimes, this means considering what your pieces are made of. Plastic and glass feel very different under the palm. Therefore, if you're looking to encourage an upscale ambiance, glass-topped tables are preferred.

    Likewise, if you're considering leather chairs, full-grain leather is preferred over top-grain or synthetic leather.

    Full-grain leather is characterized by its luxurious, smooth surface and its few, if any, flaws. It is the most popular type of leather. It has not been snuffed, sanded, or buffed to remove any natural marks or imperfections from its surface. Its fibers are stable and durable because the grain has not been removed. There is less moisture in the leather from any prolonged contact as the grain has a characteristic of breathing. This type of leather does not wear out easily.

    Whatever pieces you're considering as you furnish an upscale restaurant, be sure to take the actual feel into account.

    • Are the restaurant tables the right height? 
    • Are the chairs comfortable to sit in for long periods of time?
    • Do the materials contribute or distract from your desired ambiance?

    These are good, basic questions to help guide you in your decisions.   

    2. Make a Statement With Your Upscale Restaurant Furniture

    Whatever furniture choices you make, remember that at least one element in your overall design should make a statement, draw the eye, and pull the entire room together.

    This statement piece could be either a natural element or one added later. Options include a:

    • Large fireplace
    • Wall of windows
    • Central chandelier
    • Wine wall

    Whatever your statement piece, it must be a major contributor to the room's ambiance.

    3. Remember That Form Follows Function

    The importance of this point cannot be overstated.

    No matter how good a furniture element feels, if it doesn't function well (or doesn't allow your staff to perform at top capacity), it is not the right choice!

    This is part of what makes this sort of decision-making so complex.

    In furnishing an upscale restaurant, you must always balance clientele expectations with what will allow you to provide optimized service. As you've no doubt already gathered, this includes both visual aesthetics and functional considerations. Creating the right overall customer experience isn't easy, but taking the time to make a plan will pay off down the road.

    And if you ever need help in these areas, we're here for you. 

    About Moda Seating

    Moda Seating is the pioneer of providing commercial seating online. Since 2008, Joel Strulovitch, the company’s founder, has been building upon his family’s tradition of providing quality commercial seating at affordable prices. Moda Seating has helped thousands of people achieve their dreams to open restaurants, hotels, event centers, and many other types of businesses where the patron’s experience is influenced by their physical environment.

    If you’re in the process of opening a restaurant or other type of venue where the experience of your customers will be influenced by the environment you provide, then rely on Moda Seating. No other commercial furniture wholesaler has been helping merchants online longer than we have. To help you get started, please download our free guide, 11 Steps to Successfully Open a Restaurant. And don’t hesitate to reach out to us for assistance. We’re happy to help!

    11 Steps to Successfully Open a Restaurant

    Tags: restaurant chair, restaurant tables, customer experience, open a restaurant, upscale restaurant