How to avoid buying uncomfortable furniture for your hospitality business

28 February 2022

Comfortable contract furniture will make a massive difference to the dining experience of your guests

If you are buying new furniture for your hospitality venue your biggest concern must be comfort. Can you imagine spending money on 30, 50 or more seats, making the effort to move them all into place, only to find your customers don’t enjoy sitting on them? That’s the stuff business owners have nightmares about!  

What can you (as an owner or manager of a restaurant, cafe or hotel) do to know you are buying a comfortable product? How can you know the seating you are buying is durable and made to last? 

Find out how to avoid costly and frustrating mistakes and become a savant in assessing the comfort of tables and chairs. 

Does cost matter to comfort?

Yes… but only to an extent. 

In fact, believe it or not, there is a real market for furniture that will make your spine shudder.

Though the aesthetics of your venue will make a big difference to your customers, in the end, you are creating a space to eat and relax, not a display space for art installations. 

Even for regular contract furniture, beyond a certain point, extra cost does not equal a substantial increase in comfort, and there are many lower-cost options that still offer exceptional build quality. 

Furniture is not something you want to skimp on. It needs to be well made and built to last. However, as long as you stay out of the “obviously too good to be true” price range, know that you can get some very attractive and comfortable items without breaking the bank. 

Does comfortable mean ugly?

Imagine a triangle with comfort, cost and beauty at each point. You probably already can guess that you can’t have all three at once. 

The perfect chair or table that is beautiful AND a pleasure to sit in AND available at a killer price — surely it does not exist?

Well, there’s truth in the idea that the perfect chair or table doesn’t exist, but that’s not to say you can’t strike an excellent balance between these three traits. 

At Tabilo, that is our aim. To stock contract furniture that is as reliable as it is comfortable, as attractive as it is reliable, and not out of the price range of the average hospitality business. 

Is comfort everything?

Let’s not over-emphasise the point: comfort is important, but there are lots of other factors involved in buying furniture. Have you noticed how MacDonalds chairs don’t have cushions? Why might that be? For one, cushions get worn down quicker and get stained and dirty, and in a fast-paced, fast-food environment like MacDonalds, that can be more trouble than it is worth. 

What to check to find comfortable furniture?


The ideal size for a chair or table depends on the person sitting on them. Imagine a top-of-class office chair and all the knobs and levers that let the sitter adjust and customize the seating experience for exactly their own body and preferences.

Unfortunately, for owners of hospitality venues including restaurants and hotels, we don’t have the luxury of choosing furniture for a specific user, nor can we purchase furniture that can be minutely adjusted. Perhaps there is a gap in the market for a bistro that uses entirely office seating, but we haven’t run into one yet!

Therefore, you have two options: 

  • buy seating with as broad an appeal as possible ie. seating with generic ergonomics
  • buy a range of seating options, with small chairs, tall chairs, wide seats, low tables, high tables etc.

In fact, you should probably do both: find furniture that is generally comfortable, but don’t just buy one type! Buy a range to fit a range of people.


As you probably expect, cushioning is a really important part that can make all the difference between a very comfortable seat or a very uncomfortable torture device. 

If buying padded or fully upholstered seats, cushions should be soft and plump, not hard. If you can easily feel the frame through the cushioning, you know that this chair isn’t going to be fit for purpose!

If you are buying furniture in person, take full advantage of the opportunity to get your hands on the products. Give the cushions a push and shove. Sit down on it in different positions. Bring a colleague or a friend of a different build and get them to try it too. 


The material used is going to be a key factor in how durable the seat or table is. Though this doesn’t directly impact comfort, furniture that is wobbly, warped or broken is definitely not going to be as comfortable as one that remains firm and sturdy. 

Furniture made of metal and fully welded is likely to be extremely durable. However, many styles of seating and chair might not be available with fully welding construction. 

When looking at wood furniture, consider examining the items with somebody familiar with joinery to ensure that the construction is up to standard. 


Naturally, the longer a product is used for, the more wear and tear takes its toll. 

Contract furniture is designed to last much longer than their commercial counterparts, but that doesn’t mean they will last forever. 

It is common for smaller restaurants, bars and hotel businesses to purchase second-hand furniture from another establishment that is replacing their own items or in closing down entirely. They can make great savings in cost this way, but they should show diligence by checking that furniture has not degraded in quality too much. 

Signs of wear include tears, stiff fabric, or fabric that is irritating to the sign, distortions to the frame, and cushioning becoming hard. 

Buy comfortable contract furniture from a reliable supplier

There is a lot you can do to determine whether a seat or table is of good quality, but it is hard to know for sure. 

Another thing to consider is whether you are buying from a reputable source. At Tabilo, we put our furniture to the test for both comfort and reliability, so that our customers will never have that horrible experience of buying a new restaurant or bar worth of seating only to find it is less than perfect. 

You don’t need to guess with our products. We offer a sample service where you can try a single chair before committing to a large order.

Don’t settle for less. Buy comfortable contract furniture from Tabilo today.

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