If you’ve ever eaten in a café where the tables were so close together that you were practically rubbing elbows with the person sitting at the adjacent table, then it’s more than likely that you won’t be returning there any time soon. As a café owner, there’s a simple lesson to be learned that no matter how good your coffee and how tasty your food, if your customers don’t feel comfortable then your business is sure to suffer.
Whether you’re setting up a new café or revamping an existing space, if you’re tempted to squeeze in a few more tables to increase your revenue, just remember that cafes rely on return customers. If your customers don’t have a positive experience they probably won’t come back, and they’re also likely to spend less time and less money during their stay.
Space is key
Rule number one then is to ensure there is at least 45 cm between tables and chairs and 60 cm between the backs of adjacent tables. This gives customers room to breathe and to chat to each other with relative privacy. If the space is being used for waiting staff or as a route to the lavatories, then it should be even wider.
If you’re starting out from scratch then why not visit other cafes to see for yourself what works and what doesn’t? When planning your space and deciding on your furniture try and look at it through the eyes of your customers.
Also consider that while your average café table accommodates 4 people, the majority of customers do not arrive in groups of four. They may be in groups of 3 or 5, or often they arrive on their own. This brings us to the second rule which is to be flexible with seating arrangements and to take into the account that you may need to push some tables together to create space for a large group of customers. So, when ordering furniture choosing a variety of table sizes and styles will give you more flexibility and also makes your dining space look more natural and inviting.
Another point to bear in mind is that booths offer excellent use of space and seat more people per square metre. They also do away with the need for staff to go around all 4 sides of the table when taking orders or serving food. Moreover, they make good use of the wall space while allowing for table and chair sets to be placed in the middle of the space. Alternatively, café owners could consider setting up a long counter alongside a window wall, giving solo customers a place to sit and gaze at the world through the windows.
It all stacks up
If you have an outdoor dining space then remember that today’s modern café furniture is durable and weather resistant, and often stackable, which means chairs and tables can be conveniently stacked away when the space isn’t being used.
Once you’ve finished designing and furnishing your dining space there’s only one way to check if it works – by sitting in each chair! Spend a while sitting in every seat and consider how it would feel from a customer’s perspective. Do you feel squashed in? What’s the view? Is it easily reached by serving staff? Is there a clear path to the lavatories, etc?
The last point to know is that commercial furniture is made for the job. It’s built to last and is constructed to withstand all the daily rigours of a thriving establishment. Domestic furniture will not live up to the task.
Here at Café Solutions in Brisbane, we offer an extensive choice of café furniture at affordable prices. Why not browse our online store or visit our Brisbane showroom to try it for yourself?