Broadly speaking, to the layman, furniture is just furniture. There to be sat on, to eat things from or somewhere to rest a cup or glass. However, for businesses there is a world of difference between items which are manufactured for domestic use and those put to work in a commercial environment.
For cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and businesses of all sizes in the hospitality industry choosing the right contract furniture is a critical decision. Therefore, in order to help you make the right choice, we have put together a list of the primary differences between domestic and commercial furniture – what you need know and what factors to beware of.
High Usage Furniture Needs High Performance
Even the very best domestic furniture is not designed for the kind of constant use that chairs, sofas and tables, etc. are exposed to in a high traffic, commercial environment. In many instances domestic furniture is designed for occasional rather than the kind of continuous employment that can be expected in a business.
Commercial furniture on the other hand, is manufactured with durability in the face of regular use (& sometimes abuse) very much in mind. Utilising high quality materials and construction, contract furniture is designed to endure the demands of daily service, whilst still looking good and fulfilling its function.
As a consequence of this sturdy construction, commercial furnishings also last much longer than their domestic counterparts – retaining their attractive appearance and comfort long after an ordinary chair or sofa has gone to the great recycling centre in the sky. Needless to say, in terms of value for money this longevity also represents a great return on your initial investment.
However, this kind of robust performance doesn’t mean you have to settle for a drab, utilitarian look. Modern commercial furniture, with its almost limitless design possibilities and wide range of attractive materials, can give your business exactly the kind of exciting chic look you desire without having to compromise on resilience and stability.
Safety Testing for Commercial Furniture
Due to the fact that retail furniture for home use is expected to be only used occasionally the legal fire safety tests items must pass are of a lower standard than commercial furniture. Domestic fabrics and upholstery are bound by only BS EN 597-1: 2015 and BS EN 597-2: 2015, relating to their resistance to a smouldering cigarette and burning match respectively.
As commercial furniture is used in public areas the fabrics and upholstery used are tested to a higher fire retardant standard, namely CRIB5 – a much more stringent trial which tests the material’s resistance to a burning wooden crib.
Needless to say, the higher standards of fire safety demanded of commercial fabrics and upholstery provide a much greater level of reassurance to businesses – especially those such as restaurants and cafes where naked flames, in the form of candles, may be employed.
In addition, to the extra fire safety testing many items of commercial furniture are also extensively tested and certified under SATRA, the independent research and testing organisation and FIRA (Furniture Industry Research Association) schemes.
Domestic vs. Commercial Furniture: Continuity of Availability
A no less concerning factor for businesses is the continued availability of furniture stock lines. For example, what happens if you want you want to add matching furnishings to your restaurant, cafe or hotel some time after your initial purchase?
For domestic furniture this could prove an insurmountable obstacle. Retail outlets frequently change their stock, with new lines, products and variants quickly replacing existing items. Such is the nature of the domestic furniture retail business – Sales seem to be the norm with a constant turnover of new styles and options being demanded by the general public. However, for the business customer this presents a real problem. Very often, a particular range of domestic furniture is only available for a very limited time (and sometimes in limited amounts) – leading to a frustrating inability to obtain the same type of furniture as originally purchased at a later date.
However, commercial furniture suppliers tend to hold stock for much longer periods of time, ensuring that business customers will feel reasonably confident that they can get hold of additional matching items, such as chairs, tables and stools, as and when they may be required.
Short Delivery Times
In a related vein, commercial furniture is often available in bulk at much shorter notice than is normally the case with domestic retailers, who can take weeks to fulfil a single order – especially if they construct the furniture to order, as is common practice to avoid the additional warehousing costs required to store large amounts of stock – A critical factor that could spell disaster if your new establishment is opening in a few days.
Contract furniture suppliers on the other hand are often able to fulfil your business needs much quicker. Since the majority of Warner Contract Furniture’s range is UK stocked we are able to furnish entire businesses within just 3 or 4 days, as standard. In some cases this has been accomplished in as little as 18 hours!
Such impressive turnaround times can be a real asset in nearly all businesses, where lost time very much equates to lost revenue.
How Much Does Commercial Furniture Cost?
So having established that commercial furniture is not only more durable, better constructed and more rigorously tested for safety you’re likely to be expecting to pay lot more per unit than for ordinary, household furniture? Well, the good news is that you’ll find contract furniture prices are actually quite affordable for businesses- especially with Warner Contracts Ltd.
With a diverse product range which has been carefully selected by our expert commercial furniture specialists, an efficient order process, fast delivery and great customer service, you’ll find that we offer amazing value for money and some of the best price deals available in the UK.