Dining Room Furniture

Commercial dining room and restaurant furniture consists primarily of chairs, tabletops, table bases, and booths. First impressions matter, and before customers see your menu or taste your food, they see and feel your dining room furniture. Whether brightly colored laminate booths or fully upholstered high back chairs with hardwood tables, furniture plays an integral role in front-of-the-house design and contributes significantly to the overall customer experience. Furniture can also help maximize profitability. The earning potential of a dining room is limited by its seating capacity. Careful furniture selection helps you strike the balance between maximum capacity and optimal comfort. A Kitchen Spot expert can help you with furniture selection, sizing, dining room layout, and general design. 

Commercial Quality Matters

Consumer quality dining room furniture is designed for about 1 to 2 hours of light duty use per day. It just can’t stand up to the rigors of a commercial dining room. Within months, parts can become loose, and hardware can fail. Surfaces that lack a sufficiently durable finish can scratch, scorch, chip, or peel. Money saved on the initial purchase is quickly lost in repair and replacement costs.

In contrast, commercial quality dining room furniture is typically designed for about 10 to 16 hours of heavy duty use per day. With stronger materials, more durable finishes, better joining techniques, and sturdier hardware, commercial quality furniture is built for the sliding, lifting, dragging, stacking, frequent washing, sanitizing, and constant customer use that comes along with the typical commercial foodservice operation. Further, most commercial quality dining room furniture is designed for easy repair and maintenance. Manufacturers provide replacement parts, coverings, and hardware to make quick repairs.



Start with dining room capacity. Measure your dining room and calculate the total amount of usable floor space. Divide that by the amount of space allotted for each customer. That gives you total capacity. The amount of space you allow for each customer varies depending on the type of service. Consultants typically recommend the following guidelines.

Type of Dining 

Square Feet Per Person (Including Aisle Space) 

Booth Service 
Institutional & Banquets 
10 to 11 
Fast Casual Dining 
11 to 14  
Full Service Dining 
12 to 16 
Upscale & Fine Dining 
16 to 20 



Layout includes table sizes, shapes, and arrangements. Table size has an immediate effect on capacity. Tabletops are readily available in many standard sizes and most manufacturers will accommodate custom orders. A commonly recommended range of sizes include the following. 

Number of Seats 

Common Name 

Recommended Range of Sizes 

Café Round  
24” Diameter 
24”x24” to 30”x35” 
Four-Top (Round) 
30” to 36” Diameter 
Four-Top (Square) 
30”x30” to 42”x42” 
Four-Top (Rectangle) 
24”x42” to 30”x48” 
Six-Top (Round) 
48” to 52” Diameter 
60” to 72” Diameter 
Ten-Round or “Banquet Round” 
72” to 96” Diameter 

Consider table settings. In a fast casual restaurant, a table for two (a “deuce”) may only need enough room for two plates, two beverages, some basic silverware, and a condiment holder. For upscale dining it might need enough room for a complete set of course-specific flatware, dinnerware, and glassware including bread plates, water glasses, wine glasses, and coffee cups plus table lighting and a centerpiece. Depending on the menu, it may also need room for baskets of bread, platters of appetizers, or trays of food that will be served on the table. Select table sizes to match your menu and style of service.  

Commercial dining room chairs should be at least 16” to 18” wide. It’s a good idea to leave 18” of space behind occupied chairs. This allows room for service staff and other patrons to get by. Diagonal table arrangements save space. Round tables are often deemed more intimate, and they make it possible to “squeeze” in an extra chair when necessary, but a 48”x48” square table (for example) provides more surface area than a 48” diameter round table. Further, square tables can be pushed together to create longer tables for bigger parties. Most operators combine multiple sizes and shapes for maximum versatility.  

The Americans with Disabilities Act has special requirements to accommodate wheelchairs. They include: 

  • A 36″ aisle between any fixed seats or movable tables 
  • 5% (and no less than 1) of all tables must be wheelchair accessible 
  • A clear floor area of 30″ x 48″ at each wheelchair accessible seating location 

A Kitchen Spot expert can help you with dining room layout and ADA compliance issues.  



Manufacturers such as Flash Furniture and Oak Street Manufacturing offer commercial restaurant chairs in a wide variety of materials and designs. The most common options are: 

  • Metal (Stainless Steel, Aluminum) – Premium priced, highly durable and stable. Many feature wood or upholstered seats and seat backs. Can be painted, chromed, or natural. Some are stackable. 
  • Wood – Good durability with classic appeal. Many feature upholstered seats and seat backs. Can be painted, stained, or natural. Some are foldable or stackable. 
  • Plastic – Value priced, lightweight, and versatile with many available colors. Many feature a metal frame with padded seats. Both stackable and foldable variations are popular.  

Upholstery coverings are typically vinyl or synthetic leather for cleanability. Other fabrics should be treated for water and stain resistance. Large and well cushioned chairs make a good impression and promote longer seating times with higher check totals. This is ideal for upscale dining. For venues with a high turnover rate, smooth hard seats are preferable. They are functional, and cleanable, but don’t encourage customers to linger. Folding and stacking chairs allow for easy storage and transport. They are great for catering and banquet venues. A Kitchen Spot expert can help you find the right combination of features and materials for your dining room chairs.  



Tabletops are also available in a wide variety of materials and all commercial quality tabletops are designed for easy cleaning. Common options include the following. 

  • Natural stone – Usually quartz or marble, they have a higher price point but usually provide a high quality, durable, and attractive option.  
  • Solid wood – Genuine hard wood tables are premium priced but with proper finishes they provide a classic, durable, and attractive alternative. 
  • Metal – Typically brass, copper, or zinc covered plywood, they combine durability with rustic charm.  
  • Veneer – Thin sheets of real hardwood bonded to a less expensive base such as plywood or fiberboard. They combine value with the look of real hard wood.  
  • Laminates – Thin sheets of printed plastic bonded to a plastic or composite base. Value priced, they come in a wide variety of solid colors, imitation wood grain, or even stone-like patterns. 
  • Plastic – Typically resin or melamine, they are value priced, extremely versatile, colorful, and lightweight.  

Manufacturers such as Flash Furniture and Oak Street Manufacturing offer a wide variety of options and price points.  

Larger tables are often designed to be folded. It makes them easier to store and move through doorways. Folding tables typically come with legs already attached. They are ideal for catering and banquet venues.  


Table Bases 

Tabletops that don’t come with fixed or folding legs need table bases. Tables up to 48” square or 48” in diameter typically pair well with a single column base that features a mounting plate on top and a weighted disk, square, or cross-leg assembly on the bottom. Bases come in aluminum, steel, or cast iron. Generally, the heavier and wider the table, the heavier and wider the base needs to be. For larger tables, multiple columns with “X” or “T” style bases are usually recommended. Some operators choose table bases that bolt to the floor.  

Table bases can be simple or ornamental. Many cast-iron table bases feature artistic patterns and designs that can become part of the dining room décor. Chrome or colorful finishes can attract more attention to these features. Larger tables, or tables draped with tablecloths, tend to hide table bases from view. Simple black bases usually work well and go intentionally unnoticed. A Kitchen Spot expert can help you select the best table bases for your table tops. 



Booths provide very stable seating with a stable dining surface. Booths generally require very little maintenance. Customers sitting at a booth are not distracted by servers or other customers moving around behind them. In fact, customers in adjacent booths can be placed virtually back-to-back without feeling cramped. This allows for more customers to be seated in a smaller space.  

Booths promote a friendly, comfortable atmosphere and provide customers with a sense of privacy. Booths can also be versatile. A booth designed for four adults can usually seat two adults and three children, or six adolescents. A chair on the end adds an additional person to the party, and a highchair can be brought up for toddlers. Booths are commonly placed around the perimeter of a dining room, but can also be arranged in aisles. 

The traditional booth is fully upholstered, but wood and laminate features are common. Upholstered booth backs can be tufted or pleated to add visual appeal, but smooth surfaces are easier to clean with fewer places for crumbs to hide. Some fast-food venues feature contoured composite or fiberglass booths without cushions. 

Prefabricated booths are available, but most booths are custom built to specification. The advantage of custom fabrication is the opportunity to carefully fit booths to an available space. Short booths, long booths, corner booths, and U-shaped booths can all be specified to meet the unique dimensions of a dining room and can be designed to fit around moldings, windowsills, support posts, and other structural obstacles. A Kitchen Spot expert can help you with booth design and specification.  


Choosing Colors 

Brightly colored furnishings catch your customer’s eye and become a key design feature in your commercial dining room. Alternatively, muted colors shift your customer’s focus to other dining room features such as table settings, artwork, dramatic lighting, food displays, or window views. Muted colors are also more versatile when updating or changing your décor. Designers typically agree on the following when selecting upholstery, painted metal, painted wood, laminates, or polymer furnishings. 

Color Scheme 


Light Colors
Add highlights and promote feeling of elegance and leisure. Can expand the sense of space. Great for upscale dining and smaller venues. 
Dark Colors 
Can make large spaces feel less impersonal. Promote intimacy and romance. Great for bars, bistros, lounges, and large dining rooms. 
Primary Colors 
Encourage fast turnover. Good for fast food operations and institutions. 
Earth Tones 
Earth tones are natural and comforting. Great for operations that want to promote a fresh, healthy, and/or homestyle image.  
Pastel Colors 
Familiar and friendly, they are appropriate for all casual style dining.  



Don’t underestimate the importance of selecting commercial quality furniture that makes an appropriate and lasting impression on your guests while helping you to maximize the capacity and versatility of your dining room. Decide on the style of service you plan to provide. List all the dinnerware, flatware, glassware, serving ware, and tabletop décor you intend to use. Gather your dining room dimensions, and then contact a Kitchen Spot expert. With the information you provide, they can help you select the best materials, sizes, shapes, colors and finishes for your dining room furniture.