Photo credit: blog.press.princeton.edu
Here at Warner Contract Furniture we pride ourselves on providing great products and great service to the hospitality trade. We love to bring new ideas and innovations to our customers’ attention – and so we thought we’d share this with you.
Wobbly tables. No matter how flat you think your floor is they can still surprise you. And they can be a real pain for customers as well as for the managers of commercial eateries.
Anyone managing a cafe, restaurant, bistro, bar, canteen or food court will experience this problem at some point. And most will try to wedge a wobbly table leg with a folded-up beer mat, newspaper, or bits of cardboard. You can even buy little plastic wedges for a more sightly solution.
Keep turning the tables …
But apparently there is an elegant mathematical solution to this age-old problem. It has the rather grand name of the Intermediate Value Theorem (IVT). Sounds complicated but it’s actually quite simple.
The theorem suggests that all you need to do is to keep turning the table. There will always be a point where all four legs are on the floor.
Of course, it might be a quick and simple solution to wobbly table legs but it may not be totally practical. You may end up with a sloping table top, and plates and glasses might just slide off.
Also – most tables are rectangular and if you tried moving all these to find the ‘sweet’ point you may well end up with tables all over the place.
Don’t believe it works? Then watch the clip below to see for yourselves …
Let us know how you get on!
How we can help
Our sales team have the know-how to help you find the best contract furnishing solution for your bar, cafe, restaurant, hotel or activity centre.
We are continually adding new products to our range but if you can’t find what you’re looking for let us know. Our commercial furniture contacts and in-house team relish a challenge.
Standard delivery time is just 3-5 working days as we stock the majority of our range within the UK. We also offer an express service which delivers in just 24 hours.
Call us on 0161 408 2390 or email our sales department email@example.com to get a quote.
Comments Off on Hospitality Furniture – Back to the Future
Commercial interior design trends come and go but some design schemes have definite staying power. One of the most enduring and appealing designs for commercial interiors is undoubtedly the retro or vintage theme.
Some cafes and restaurants embrace the full 50s American diner look with primary colours and lots of chrome. But retro can also include everything from cool, mid-century modernism, to the industrial metallic designs of the 80s, and the more recent trend for eclectic shabby chic.
Others go for a mixture of different retro styles, mixing and matching to create inviting – and Instagramable – spaces for their customers and guests.
Whatever your particular retro preference – Warner Contract Furniture can help thanks to our wide range of high quality, competitively priced commercial furniture. All of our products are built to contract standards. We offer discounts for bulk orders and because most of our furniture is stocked in the UK, we can offer superfast delivery.
So, if you’re thinking of updating the look of your cafe, restaurant, bar, club, hotel, conference or leisure centre, then here are a few ideas from which might help to get you started.
We’ll always have Paris…
One of our best-selling chairs is the Paris Industrial Cafe Chair – and it’s easy to see why. The sturdy Paris is made from quality steel and comes in three colours: a grey powder-coated finish, a darker gun metal grey, and a vintage copper finish.
All three colours can be matched with a variety of different table styles to provide a classy retro look to any cafe, bar or restaurant.
The Paris range includes matching high and low bar stools. The Paris High Stool stands 765mm high and is available in grey, gun metal grey, vintage copper plus a polished copper finish. The Paris Low Stool has a height of 455mm and comes in grey and the darker gun metal grey.
Another very popular choice in our range of cafe chairs is the Trieste Vintage Retro Chair and matching Trieste High Stool. Sporting a look that combines memories of old school chairs and industrial chic, the Trieste will complement most retro-designed cafes and bars.
It’s a classic design made with a strong steel frame supporting a dark wood-veneered seat and back both of which have a contract lacquer finish. The high stool stands 745mm high.
Vintage Comfort and Style
Our Milo Vintage Dining Chair has the streamlined look of 1950s Americana with contoured seating and tapering legs. It’s practical and versatile enough to fit in with many retro restaurant and bar design schemes.
Another eye-catchingly stylish retro option is our Zeta Vintage Dining Chair. Featuring a hard-wearing metal frame and upholstered leather seat, the Zeta blends the best of contemporary and retro design and looks good in cafes, restaurants and bars.
The 60s may have been a wild decade but they also saw the introduction of classic furniture design that has stood the test of time. Upholstered leather chairs supported by elegant metal legs add a touch of class to any retro themed restaurant, hotel, or bar.
We have three effortlessly elegant leather dining chairs that offer comfort and durability with a dash of 60s charm. You can imagine Sean Connery’s James Bond sitting in any of them in a hotel lobby or restaurant, before dashing out to his Aston Martin.
First up is our Vintage Leather Dining Chair, with its distinctive and classy upholstered seat in mid-brown leather. Then we have our Classic Leather Dining Chair which sports a stylish seat of tan leather. And our Retro Leather Dining Chair offers a more funky variation with its horizontal ‘corrugated’ leather seat.
To complement your retro theme we also offer Vintage Leather Bar Stools (height 790mm) which look great in a line at a bar as well as arranged around a poseur table. They even look good in a retro themed cafe. The deep upholstered cushions provide the perfect perch for your customers.
Turning the Tables
Of course, if you’re looking at chairs for your customers you’ll probably also be interested in our range of commercial tables and table bases as well as table tops, especially if you are serving food.
Our Trieste Dining Table Legs were designed to complement our Trieste Chairs and Stools (see above) and can fit in with a wide range of vintage or retro themed bar, cafe or restaurant interiors.
The legs are 720mm high and are sold in packs of four. We aslo have a wide range of table tops that you can match the legs to, depending on your particular design theme. Options include laminates, solid wood and polished metal table tops in a number of sizes and in round, square or rectangular shapes.
Warner Contract Furniture sources a broad and diverse range of commercial furniture to suit the needs of the hospitality industry. Our sales team have the expertise and knowledge to help you find the very best furnishing solution for your bar, cafe, restaurant, hotel or activity centre.
We are continually adding new products to our website but would love to hear from you if you can’t see exactly what you’re looking for. We have long-standing relationships with furniture manufacturers and an expert in-house team that will rise to the challenge.
Our standard delivery time is just 3-5 working days as most of our stock is sourced within the UK. This is fast but we can deliver an even faster turnaround for customers who are working against the clock.
Our express service takes just 24 hours – although our current fastest record is an amazing 18 hours to kit out a cafe.
Call our sales team today on 0161 408 2390 or email our sales department firstname.lastname@example.org. We are happy to discuss your requirements and give you a quotation.
Comments Off on Deck The Halls: Getting Your Pub or Restaurant Ready for Christmas
Every year businesses seem to be getting ready for the Christmas Period earlier and earlier. Before you’ve had time to blow out the candles in your decorative pumpkins and the ashes from your Guy Fawkes Night bonfire have gone cold, it’s time to start the preparations for the Yuletide Season. Regardless of what your own feelings are on the ever-increasing lead up to Christmas, there’s no question that the festive period is a time when lots of pubs and restaurants can expect a welcome surge in business.
So how best can you prepare your hospitality venue for Christmas? While some festive cheer can always be achieved with decorations, now might be the time to start thinking about how some fab new furniture could not only boost your Christmas business but lift your pub or restaurant, ready for the New Year and beyond too!
A Chair is for Life, Not just Christmas…
When we say chairs, we are talking about a very broad category: seating in your pub or restaurant can take many different forms from the humble bar stool to easy chairs, sofas and more standard dining room chairs. Simply put, seating in your venue is largely a matter of opinion. If you are looking to refresh the look and feel of your bar or restaurant area for Christmas then a key consideration is style & practicality.
At Warner Contract Furniture we offer a huge range of seating options which will simply dazzle the new customers coming through your door over the holiday season. Just like Christmas, your choice of chairs can reflect a traditional or a more contemporary theme: our beautiful, comfortable armchairs and sofas are the perfect place for your customers to relax with a Yuletide drink in front of a cheery log fire. With a huge range of materials and fabrics, our handmade sofas can be customised to your exact specifications, enabling you to truly create a bespoke interior design for your public house or eatery.
For the bar area of your business how about changing things up a little with our range of practical but attractive bar stools and chairs? Here you can again choose from a huge selection of styles, including retro, cosmopolitan and classic designs – all of which are manufactured to provide years of high performance, low maintenance service.
For restaurants, Warner is proud to carry a fantastic stock of smart and practical dining chairs. With customers keen to find somewhere for the office Christmas meal, seating them in style will be a big plus point for your business!
Tables of Comfort and Joy
Whether your customers are looking for a place to rest their drink while they catch up with friends or sit down to a full Christmas meal with family or work colleagues, we have a table which is perfect for your needs. Just as your Xmas menu reflects a range of dishes and preferences our selection of dining room or bar area tables will give you a huge choice of styles, designs, materials and sizes.
If your customers like to enjoy a Christmas tipple away from the bar, Warner has a host of low-level tables coffee tables, standard dining tables and even high-level poseur tables – all of which are manufactured with longevity and ease of maintenance in mind. With the ability to mix and match in terms of table tops you can choose from smooth, sleek laminate, an eye-catching metallic version or the old world charm of simple wood surfaces.
Whatever your perfect Christmas, Warner Contract Furniture is on hand to offer top quality items with speedy delivery and friendly, expert advice you can rely on.
Comments Off on How to Dispose of the Old Furniture From Your Business
We’ve all faced the problem of how to dispose of large items of furniture once they have reached the end of their natural lifespan. However, it’s one thing to be faced with a single saggy sofa or slightly tatty table but what can you do if you’re a business with fifty tables and two hundred chairs to get rid of?
Well, you can relax: we’ve put together four fantastic ways to dispose of your unwanted business furniture items (and none of them involves throwing them out of the back of a van under the cover of darkness to slowly decompose by the roadside). Better yet you can even make a little money &/or good karma from it too!
1) Call in the experts
The most obvious answer is to simply bite the bullet and call in a professional waste disposal or recycling company to come and take them off your hands. Even assuming you have the means to transport them all to your local council recycling centre it’s highly likely that the council will charge you a not inconsiderable sum to dispose or recycle them – faced with all the hassle of doing it yourself, you might well opt to turn the whole thing over to a local firm who can step in and take it all away without further bother. Check out local listings or the internet to find out the firms in your area and compare costs before signing on the dotted line.
2) Sell it
Online auction and sales websites, such as eBay or Gumtree have now made it possible to offload a number of goods which previously would have been condemned to rot away for decades in a landfill site. This is a great idea if your items are in reasonable to good condition and you have the time to spare. The benefits are obvious in that you can recoup a little of your original outlay and have the pleasure of knowing that your furniture is getting a second lease of life. That said, not many businesses think of picking up second-hand furniture on eBay or Gumtree so getting rid of dozens of tables and chairs or sofas might prove tricky.
3) Donate it
Charities that rely on public donations, such as the British Heart Foundation or Salvation Army, are always delighted to be offered good quality items of furniture. The bonus here is that not only are giving something back to the community but they will often be pleased to pick up the items for no charge. Once again though the emphasis is on good quality – while charities are always on the lookout for decent donations use your own judgement as to whether that ratty old sofa is fit for resale or recycling. We recommend a great website called https://www.freecycle.org/
4) Repurpose it
“Upcycling” has seen a growing popularity for the last couple of decades, with people being happy to repurpose old items to take on bold new roles. Chairs, tables and even sofas can be repainted, reupholstered and rejuvenated for follow-on sales. There are many businesses across the UK who are more than happy to clear your premises of unwanted items (some for no charge) with an eye toward giving it a fresh lease of life. This is a great idea even if your items aren’t in ‘showroom new’ condition – a host of sins can be concealed by a smart new coat of paint or varnish in the hands of experts.
Love it or loathe it, Brexit is coming. With less than a year remaining until the UK leaves the EU, opinions on its current and future impact are still as sharply divided as ever. While Brexit is a topic which is sure to bring out strong views – both for and against – its reality cannot be denied. So how is this monumental shift in our relationship with Europe going to affect the leisure and hospitality industries? Prophets of doom and those heralding a new dawn continue to trade arguments, forecasts and statistics. In truth, the results (as ever) are likely to fall somewhere in between the two extremes…
Broadly speaking there are three major factors which are likely to heavily influence how Brexit affects the leisure and hospitality industries: the effect on tourism, restrictions on the free movement of people and the general impact on the UK economy. While it’s impossible to accurately predict outcomes when we still haven’t seen the final shape of the UK/EU Brexit agreement, there’s no shortage of different statistics and expert opinions.
Brexit and Tourism: Wish you were here?
Perhaps surprisingly, statistics from the end of 2017 indicate that tourism into the UK actually saw a 4.6% increase from 2016 to 2017. A total of some 40.3 million overseas visitors flocked to the UK, even after the crucial June 2016 Brexit vote. For the leisure and hospitality industries, including bars, pubs, restaurants, cafes and hotels this upward trend in the face of our split from Europe, makes for comforting reading. With tourism being a major factor in many UK businesses, the fact that visitors to the UK haven’t been put off is a welcome relief from the worry that Brexit would see tourism levels crash. While the 2018 figures aren’t yet available it’s a comfort to many hospitality and leisure business owners that the trend appears to be upward. Conversely, hotels in London were reporting a significant downturn in their occupancy rates toward the end of last year. Whether this represents the black lining in the silver cloud of tourism remains to be seen.
Overall, there seems to be room for optimism that the crash in overseas visitor numbers that had been predicted has not materialised so far. For many bars and restaurants in popular holiday destinations such as London, Edinburgh and other major cities this is good news: tourists account for a significant proportion of customers, with any significant decreases meaning thin times ahead for many businesses.
Conversely, there may also have been a positive bounce back from native tourism. Fewer Britons travelled abroad last year, choosing instead to opt for “staycations” here in the UK. More people visiting parts of Britain from inside the country again is good news for the leisure and hospitality businesses.
Brexit and overseas employees: EU workers welcome?
Perhaps one of the most significant areas of concern for UK businesses has been the impact of Brexit on the availability of overseas staff seeking employment. Across Britain, European Union workers represent a significant proportion of employees in a number of sectors, most notably hospitality and leisure businesses. It’s already been widely reported that net EU migration into the UK fell sharply in the wake of Brexit. Farmers and related businesses have made no secret of the fact that they are finding it increasingly difficult to attract people from overseas, especially in crop picking and harvesting, where EU workers represented the majority of employees for many years.
So, with EU workers playing an important part in many serving, catering, cleaning and hospitality positions how has Brexit impacted recruitment? In some quarters, not well at all. In London especially, many employment agencies have confirmed that they are finding it increasingly difficult to fill vacancies for busy bars, restaurants and hotels. Following the Brexit vote many EU workers chose to leave the UK, presenting employers with a human resource issue they are still struggling with. However, there are signs that the proportion of British workers in such positions is starting to rise again with many confident that this and an uptake of people from outside the EU will eventually restore the status quo.
Brexit and the UK economy: Boom, bust or business as usual?
Uncertainty is never good for business. With the details of the final deal yet to be revealed the markets are still unsure as to how Brexit will impact the overall UK economy. However, while the exchange rate for the pound crashed the day after the Brexit referendum, the latest figures show that, in general, it has regained a lot of ground it lost against both the dollar and the Euro. With a thriving economy essential to the success of any business, both wages and higher rates of disposable income mean that customers have more money in their pockets to spend. So which way will the economy turn? This is perhaps the hardest question posed by Brexit for the hospitality and leisure venues – and the hardest to predict. Opinions range from financial Armageddon to a new golden age, depending very much on who you speak to. As stated at the start of this article, the answer is likely to fall between those two extremes, with both wildly optimistic and wildly pessimistic predictions being significantly less likely to come to pass than a more probable moderate impact.
Times of change bring opportunities, as well as challenges. For businesses in the leisure and hospitality, Brexit represents probably the biggest economic sea change to be encountered for many years. However, instead of a total disaster or an unparalleled triumph, the most likely outcome will simply be…change. Big changes perhaps, but UK businesses have become adept at evolving to take into account changing economic conditions and resources. Whatever, the outcome of the Brexit negotiations it should be remembered that people will still want to enjoy a drink after work or a meal with friends. Tourists will still come to the UK and people will still need the kind of job flexibility that the leisure and hospitality sectors offer. Whatever your views or opinions that much is likely to remain true after 29th March 2019.
As the year starts to wane, here at Warner Contract Furniture we’ve once again been gazing into the depths of our crystal ball to discover what are going to be the top trends for commercial interior design in 2018. Whether you are planning to open a new hospitality business or looking to refresh your current layout with a few ‘on trend’ tweaks then we have the hot ticket information on what are going to be the important themes next year.
Home sweet home
Interior design is very much centred on a return to ‘home and hearth’ with a big shift toward cosy warmth when it comes to colours, furniture and overall style choices. Cold, clinical design choices are very much on the way out with people looking for a more welcoming and comfortable approach. Home-style charm is going to be an important element for any commercial interior design in 2018 – with ostentatious displays of wealth or finery being frowned on. Frugality could be the buzzword here, with less very much meaning more to contemporary designs. While simple elegance is always in vogue there is a big focus on creating welcoming spaces which look to embrace your customers with warmth, feeling and perhaps a little eccentricity rather than the slick, polished or standoffish interior designs seen in previous years.
Reuse, recycle and reduce
In keeping with the overall 2018 feel of domestic homeliness recycled materials are well favoured for all types of furniture and assortments in your business. Reclaimed wood, metals and natural textures are likely to go well with an overall design that is both welcoming and eco-friendly. Just as flamboyant gestures around wealth and opulence are on the way out, the trend for 2018 is moving firmly toward a more frugal approach where materials have been up-cycled or repurposed from their original function. This may well also help with bringing a sense of charming eccentricity to your hospitality spaces.
With 2018 interior design trends leaning heavily toward Mother Nature it should be no surprise that there’s a big move toward more greenery in all areas. From the simple and humble pot plant to expansive, lush foliage there’s a whole world of opportunity for using both plant and plant-images in your style choices. Branching out with some fun planters is likely to generate the “au naturel” atmosphere – not to mention some extra O2 – to your interior design choices.
Matching the overarching theme of warmth and cosiness for2018 textiles are heading down the plush and plump route – emphasising comfort and homely relaxation. Big, puffy sofas and armchairs which you can simply melt into are making a comeback for areas where patrons will be welcomed or simply enjoy a drink and a chat with friends. If your tastes are more toward more rigid furniture then why not try enhancing the comfort factor with the addition of some extra upholstery or even a few, well-stuffed cushions.
The feel of textures for 2018 is leaning toward natural fibres, although plush, velvety finishes are also likely to compliment your other choices if you are looking to combine both elegance and warmth.
With all that we’ve said with regard to cosy homeliness and the trend in 2018 toward plush comfort and warmth, you might well be wondering what place harder materials, such as ceramics, glass and metal, have to play in your commercial interior design. Don’t panic: as long as you keep to the theme of warmth you’ll be fine. For example, terracotta, marble or natural stone are an ideal choice for tiles and rustic pottery vases, while glass should be visibly recycled or reused in an imaginative way, in keeping with the ‘reduce, recycle and reduce’ elements mentioned above. Finally, warm metals such as gold, rose gold or brass will match in well, while silver can add a touch of brightness if required.
Darkness and light
The heavy emphasis in 2018 on cosy, warm spaces that remind you of home might lead you to think that dim lighting is the order of the day – not at all. Bright lighting designs are a great way to lift the potential gloom with the surprising contrast of things like natural woods and ceramics positively glowing under high-intensity lighting. In general these should be more toward the focused luminescence of spotlights and LEDs rather than the flat, far less interesting (or complimentary) fluorescent strip lighting.
You might well feel yourself being drawn to accenting gloomier corners or hard to light areas with the inclusion of a few, well-chosen desk or table lamps. ‘Over the shoulder’ reading lamps might also make an attractive and intriguing lighting design for bar areas or lounges.
The hot colours for 2018…
It will probably come as no surprise that the colour palette of choice for 2018 sits firmly in the warm part of the spectrum, with reds and associated ‘fire’ colours, such as oranges, warm yellows and even pinks, definitely in vogue. As red is traditionally associated with heat, positivity and energy this is the colour to bring a positive vibe to your commercial interior designs in 2018. Try a variety of tones from a range of warm colours to prevent an overall flat colour experience. Complimentary shades of red can work well together – from a bright splash of colour to lift a range of more neutral natural colours or used in a wider area to bring a sense of visual highs and lows to your space.
…cool alternate colour choices
For those looking for something a little cleaner and fresher in the interior design a great alternative is the whimsical and warm shade of teal. Although, this sits in the opposite side of the spectrum to the ‘on trend’ colours of red, orange and yellow it is blessed with being a sophisticated and elegant hue – without being cold or standoffish as some of the other turquoise tones can be. Used in a clever way, in concert with natural textures and materials, this is a colour which will elevate your public areas without overpowering them.
Comments Off on What is Commercial Furniture?
Definition: Commercial Furniture (otherwise known as contract furniture) relates to furnishings that have been specifically designed and tested for use in business interiors where they will be used regularly or constantly be large volumes of people over long periods of time.
Refurbishing an existing business, or starting a new one can be quite a daunting and stressful task. With so many factors to consider such as cash flow and lead times not to mention creating an aesthetically pleasing commercial interior that makes your customers want to return time and time again. But it is human nature to make do with what you have got and hold off that investment for some time in the future.
Understandably it may be tempting, especially for start up companies to use domestic furniture in your business interior. It’s often cheaper, you might have an old sofa or some dining chairs at home that you think may be suitable or you may even contemplate purchasing second hand domestic furniture to use in your cafe or restaurant. But wait! There are a number of reasons why this might not be the best course of action to take, as we explain below.
Reasons Why to Buy Commercial Furniture
First and foremost let’s start with the law (this only applies to upholstered items). It is a legal requirement that all upholstered furniture conforms to CRIB5 Fire & Safety regulations (BS5852 Source 5) and a certificate must be produced when requested by a Fire Officer. Failure to comply with this law will at best result in a hefty fine, worse still the officer could close your business and at very worst (heaven forbid) your building caught fire with disastrous consequences. Commercial Furniture Suppliers like ourselves or legally obliged to provide you with a CRIB5 fire certificate (either upon purchasing your new furniture or at a later date), this is all you will need to present to the Fire Officer when they visit.
Durability is also a major factor to consider when choosing furniture for your business. As noted above, you may be tempted to go down the domestic route because it’s slightly cheaper than commercial furniture in the short term. But think about the long run, customers in pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants will not treat your furniture with as much care as they would with their own furniture at home. For this reason domestic furniture is prone to breaking when it it is used in a commercial environment. Commercial furniture is thoroughly tested by companies such as FIRA (Furniture Industry Research Association) to ensure suitability for use in commercial environments where it will be subjected to regular use. Therefore in the long term commercial furniture offers better value for money because it will last significantly longer than furniture indented for domestic use.
Commercial furniture is designed to be much more stable than domestic furnishings. Stability is one of the test criteria carried out by FIRA and other testing companies to ensure suitability for the commercial market. The test involves the front legs being secured and then force is applied at a 45 degree angle, if the force required is more than 40% of the chairs overall weight without the front legs showing any movement then the chair passes.
To summarise the points above, health and safety is a big factor. A broken piece of furniture being rendered unusable is one thing, and it might cost you a few covers per day. But imagine the expense of an injury caused to one of your customers as a consequence of a broken or unstable piece of furniture. An incident like that could send a young, or small business under due to expensive legal costs and compensation pay outs.
Longevity is another factor to consider. In the structural sense that we have covered above, you do not want the furniture to fall apart as domestic furniture is prone to doing. But in an aesthetic sense you want the furniture to look as new as possible for as long as possible. This is why the majority of commercial furniture is finished with hard wearing materials. For example contract fabrics have rub tests (a way of measuring how durable a fabric or leathers) these are carried out by third party companies and are known as either the Martindale (most popular) or the Wyzenbeek test. The higher the value, the longer the fabric, leather or faux leather will last. Contract fabrics have a much higher rub test value than domestic, they are usually between 2 – 5 times more hard wearing than domestic upholstery options. For non upholstered furniture such as table tops and wooden bases contract furniture suppliers use super hard wearing lacquers known as acid catalyst lacquer (AC). This not only minimises the chances of scratching, but it also helps to resist heat and spillages and therefore extends the life of your tables.
Finally commercial furniture not only allows you to save money in the long run, it also helps you to make more money. The reason being that domestic furniture is designed more for comfort than anything else and as such items such as dining chairs are usually bigger than those you would buy in the contract market. Bigger chairs result in less covers which in turn of course result in less revenue. Commercial chairs are a happy medium between size and comfort but with the added benefits of being designed with all of the other factors listed on this page.
How to Identify Commercial Furniture
It is not always easy to identify a piece of commercial furniture, however there are often some clues as to whether it fits the criteria or not. One of the most common features of a commercial chair is a U-Brace, this is usually located half way between the bottom of the leg and the seat. The U-Brace provides additional support and prevents the legs from splaying out. Secondly look for signs of wear in the fabric (only if its second hand) if teh furniture is brand new then try to markthe fabric or leather with your fingernail or a key (in a discrete area of course). Finally try to mark any exposed polished wooden areas, if it’s difficult to do so then the item is probably finished in an AC or PU lacquer and fit for contract use. You may also wish to perform structural strength and durability tests also before you use the furniture in your business.
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.
Britain is, without doubt, a nation of pet lovers. From our beloved family pets to indispensible companions we lavish affection – and money – on our four legged friends. Traditionally the hospitality industry has had a rather stand-offish relationship with animals, with only service dogs readily welcomed into the inner sanctum of eateries (while lesser dogs have to make do with a single bowl of water strategically positioned outside). However, the tide is turning. Recently several enterprising hospitality businesses have begun to open their doors to pets as well as their owners – cleverly tapping into the highly lucrative market of over 30 million people which has been ignored for years. A great example of this is Central Bark – a dog-friendly cafe which is enjoying great success in Manchester while “cat cafes” are busy catering to the feline trade.
So how can you make your cafe, bistro or other hospitality venue is a pet friendly zone? We’ve done a little research and come up with a few ideas to give you ‘paws’ for thought (sorry – we couldn’t resist).
Doggy dining and catty cuisine
While certain animals have been on the menu for years, having to cater for our four-legged friends is recent innovation. However, that’s not to say there aren’t lots of ways you can easily introduce pet-pleasing treats onto your normal bill of fayre. Enterprising cafes and bistros are starting to produce special dog or cat-friendly menu choices with ingredients which are appropriate for the dietary requirements of this new trade. Specially prepared ice-creams and shakes are being marketed for dogs to enjoy in hot weather, while a few high end restaurants in London are beginning to introduce top-quality beef biscuits and even puppy granola!
Introducing a pet-menu is certainly a fun and highly marketable way of luring in customers who are happy to pay a premium for the privilege of dining with their furry friends!
Pet friendly fur-cilities
While some people might not object to Rover or Tiddles joining them at the kitchen table, hygiene regulations mean that pets’ eating from the same tables as human customers is a non-starter. Therefore, you could introduce a special space on the floor nearby for doggy diners – complete with attractive bowls and an easily cleanable plastic feeding mat to protect flooring from pooches with messy eating habits. While animals are naturally banned from areas where food is being prepared consideration should also be given to other diners who may not relish the idea of sharing their eating space with someone else’s pet – In this case a separate dining area for dogs or cats and their owners is likely a necessity.
Of course, just as is the case with human customers, pets require adequate toilet facilities. Consequently, your venue should have space for animals to enjoy a little ‘private time’ – preferably outside with adequate facilities for owners to clean up adequately afterwards. In addition a safe outside space where dogs can play with a few appropriate toys will also set tails wagging.
Needless to say the wisdom of allowing cats AND dogs to dine together is questionable, at best. Therefore, you’re going to have to pick a side. In terms of staff, consideration should also be given to a range of potential problems, including allergies, phobias and even the prospect of increased insurance to cover the possibility of one of your new pet customers deciding to register their dissatisfaction with the service by biting the serving staff…
Laminate Table Tops are fast becoming the most popular choice for restaurateurs, hoteliers and coffee shop owners in the UK. The reason being they offer far more resilience to heat and scratching than their counterparts, also as time goes on laminate producers are finding ways to make them look much more authentic and attractive. We wrote a great post explaining the differences between commercial table tops back in May 2015 and laminates are covered in depth there. But where do they come from, who supplies them and what other options are there in addition to the standard walnut, wenge, oak, white and black laminate colours? In this post, this is what we explore;
UK Laminate Suppliers
1. Egger are probably the largest laminate supplier in the UK and certainly offer the most choice. They have a vast selection of Woodgrains, many of the decors contained within this collection are so lifelike it’s often difficult to tell the difference between them and real wood, especially the ones with textured finishes. However if you are looking for something a little different to wood effect laminates then you may want to explore Egger’s range of Metalic, Textile, Concrete, Ceramic or Granite Effect coverings as these contain some interesting decors as you will see below. Finally if you just want to keep it simple then take a look at their Uni Colours these range from warm earthy tones to bright colour palettes.
2. Formica invented laminates back in 1913, which is why they are often the first company that springs into peoples minds when buying laminate table tops. Originally the material was developed as a new type of electrical insulator before its true properties were realised. Initially the material was made from fabric bound together with resin, this was later replaced by thick layers of paper covered in melamine and that’s when Formica stated getting creative with different colour paper and also printing prior to the melamine coating being applied. These days however the laminates are formed by compressing composite materials under extremely high pressure. Similarly to Egger they have a broad range of colours, woodgrains and patterned finishes with a variety of surface textures.
3. Polyrey is perhaps a less known laminate supplier, especially compared to Formica and Egger. However that’s not to say that that their ranges of high pressure laminates (HPL) are somewhat inferior, in fact that have a great range of decors suitable for all kinds of commercial applications. The company started in the late 1800’s with their headquarters in France producing chemicals used to tan leather, now the company’s focus has shifted to the production of high pressure laminates.
4. Woodlam are a Lancashire based manufacturer and supplier of laminates, they differ to any other company featured on this page because they produce real wood laminates as an alternative to using synthetic materials. The result is a truly authentic looking table top that still encompasses the durability aspects of ordinary HPL tops. Needless to say however that real wood laminates come with a price tag, but this isn’t necessarily a problem for some projects.
The Best Laminate Ranges Available in the UK
Now you know who the top laminate suppliers are, its time to look at which ranges are available. Each supplier has compiled a range of decors and finishes specifially for the UK market, fabricators then manufacture products such as table tops, counters and wall pannels etc. which are then sold to end users. Generally speaking the ranges below are stocked in the UK which negates the need to import them on a project by project basis.
Egger Zoom – this is our favourite range becuase it is the most expansive and is beautifully presented in a folder containing swatches of each finish.
Formica Fundamentals – as the name suggests Formica have pulled together the most popular decors for the UK market.
Polyrey Durion – an interesting range of woodgrains, metalics and coloured laminates all with matching edging.
Giving your hospitality venue a ‘unique’ appearance and feel is one of the key elements of a successful business. The interior design of your restaurant, cafe, bistro, bar or dining area speaks volumes about both your business and the customers you want to attract – another speaks louder about your choice of style than the use of statement furniture.
Often the preserve of very high end or boutique style hospitality businesses, the use of statement furniture is a fantastic way of differentiating yourself from standardised, homogenous chair and table selections and creating a look which is unique to you.
But what is statement furniture and how can you use it to add a splash of colour and character to your dining area?
Making a Statement
Statement furniture is anything which cries out “Look at me! Look at me!” – A table made from tinfoil, a chair modelled from parts of a motorcycle; a footstool in the shape of a giant ladybird… the list is endless. They are the items that make people stop dead in tracks – mesmerised with the wonderful uniqueness of such a standout piece of furniture. Of course, by their very nature, statement furniture is not for the faint-hearted but a choice for those who like to push the envelope – the rule breakers and attention seekers. Nothing provides a wow-factor reaction better than the unusual, incongruous or starkly different.
That being said a restaurant filled to the brim with oddly mismatched furniture carries with it the danger of merely appearing as disorganised chaos – rather than a bold design idea. To get the best results statement furniture should be used sparingly, like a dash of Tabasco in a recipe: adding spice and colour to enhance the dish – not to overpower it completely.
Using Statement Furniture in Your Restaurant
Statement furniture tends towards ornate – even glamorous – styles. Hence it tends to work best in surroundings where there is a heavy artistic influence. Elegance is the watchword here with designs for chairs and tables which accent the sophistication of your dining area being of prime importance.
While statement furniture is there to stand out, maintaining consistency of design in your commercial furniture choices is also important. In addition, you should never lose sight of the fact that chairs and tables are – first and foremost – for customers to use in comfort. Therefore, statement furniture should be seen as a balance of design and practicality.
A simple but highly effective way to achieve visual impact in a dining area is through the use of contrasting colour. For example, a single red dining chair in a setup with a plain ivory table and chairs is an easy but powerful way to draw the eye without it being functionally any different. Another idea might be to use rustic wooden bench style seating in place of individual dining chairs or, for the truly opulent feel of Arabia the use of sumptuous cushions surrounding a low level table.
When it comes to statement furniture in your dining area the only limit is your imagination.