8 Reasons why Quality Restaurant Furniture Helps Your Pocket and Helps the Environment
Did you know that furniture accounts for about 5 percent of all material that goes to landfills every year? Cheap furniture wears out quickly, can't be recycled, and makes up a major portion of that 5 percent polluting our world. As a restaurant owner, you want to make sure the furniture you buy for your restaurant isn't contributing to that problem.
But best of all, buying quality restaurant furniture can help you, as well as the planet. Read on to discover the downfalls of fast furniture and why it's worth investing in well-made pieces for your business.
Importance of Restaurant Furniture
Before we dive into the downsides of cheap restaurant furniture, let's talk about why restaurant furniture matters in the first place. A large part of what you're selling as a restaurant has nothing to do with your food, it's all about the experience. Once your food reaches a certain caliber of quality, the main thing that separates a decent restaurant from an exceptional one is the atmosphere.
Your furniture creates an experience for your customers that will tell them what to expect from you. You may have eaten some good meals while sitting in vinyl-covered booths, but they almost certainly did not feel very memorable. When you think of your most amazing dining experiences, chances are you were sitting on a nice chair at a table covered in a nice tablecloth.
What Is Fast Furniture?
Now that we know some more about why restaurant furniture matters so much, we can turn our attention to fast furniture. If you've ever heard of fast fashion, you'll be familiar with the general concept behind fast furniture. Fast products are made with the cheapest materials and techniques available and are meant to have a short lifespan and a low price tag.
While quality furniture may be made with solid wood, quality joinery, and excellent finishes, fast furniture is entirely focused on lowering costs. If the manufacturer can hold a chair together with a brad nail that costs $0.05 less than a sturdier screw, you'd better believe they'll use the brad nail. And while this may seem like a more affordable option up front, it can cost a lot in the long run.
One of the first problems with fast furniture is the way these industries contribute to deforestation. Experts estimate that, in the last three decades, the world has lost more than 420 million hectares of forests. To put that in perspective, the forests lost could spread across most of Alaska, Texas, California, Montana, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and Colorado.
The furniture industry is the third-largest consumer of wood, following only the paper and construction industries. If people are buying furniture that will stay in use for years to come, our forests may stand a chance of recovering. But fast furniture is designed to be so disposable that it increases the demand for new wood and keeps trees falling worldwide.
Although deforestation is devastating, it's only the beginning of the environmental impact fast furniture can make. Once the trees are cut down, they go to a manufacturing facility to be turned into cheap furniture. But unfortunately, bad furniture is hardly the only or the worst thing to come out of those factories.
Oftentimes, furniture manufacturers produce wastewater as a result of dyeing processes, and that water gets dumped into local streams and rivers. This can have a catastrophic impact on local wildlife, and that's without mentioning the air pollution. Fumes from stains and paints have to be processed appropriately, and many plants may use energy sources that pour fossil fuels into our atmosphere.
Contribution to Landfills
From the manufacturing plant, fast furniture makes its way out to sales rooms and distributors and, eventually, into restaurants. Surely its environmental damage stops there, right? But unfortunately, fast furniture deals our planet another blow when it wraps up its life by going into a landfill after just a few short years.
Landfills are slowly taking over the U.S., in fact, if you put all the landfills in the country in one spot, they would form a pile more than 40 stories high covering more than 1,000 acres. Each year, Americans throw out more than twelve million tons of furniture. Fast furniture makes up a lot of this waste, since it breaks easily and often can't be recycled.
1. Sustainable Materials
We've talked a lot about the downfalls of fast furniture, so let's turn our attention to the benefits of high-quality furniture. While it is true that most good-quality furniture will use some wood, there are more sustainable ways to harvest that material. Quality furniture companies use these practices to help reduce their environmental impact.
Some furniture companies plant a certain number of trees for every tree they cut down in order to combat deforestation. Others use fast-growing materials like bamboo so that the trees they cut down get replenished faster. Still, others work to make sure they're only getting materials from suppliers who are licensed and doing logging that is legal and regulated.
2. Responsible Manufacturing
Quality furniture manufacturers continue the work of creating sustainable furniture in their manufacturing plants. For one thing, these companies hire craftspeople who know how to create an excellent product and pay them fairly for their work. While this may not have a direct environmental impact, it creates a much healthier and fairer work environment for the employees in the factories.
These companies may also take steps to purify their wastewater before it passes back out into local waterways. They might invest in green energy sources, such as solar and wind power to cut down on their air pollution. And some companies may look for greener ways to ship their products to reduce the carbon cost of transportation.
When you buy from a quality furniture company, your environmental benefits go far beyond the purchase date. The unfortunate truth is that, as a restaurant owner, you're not going to be able to keep the same furniture forever. Accidents happen, furniture wears out, and your branding may change over the years.
But when it comes time to get rid of your old furniture, you don't necessarily have to send it to a landfill. Oftentimes, high-quality furniture can be recycled, giving it a new life. Furniture flipping is becoming increasingly popular, and some local woodworkers may want to take your larger pieces for reclaimed material.
4. Longer Lifespan
The other good news with buying quality furniture is that you can delay the day you have to toss it out. Cheap furniture is made with materials that are going to break down and start showing wear fast. But high-quality pieces are made with solid wood, quality fabrics, and joinery that will stand up to years of use and abuse.
Best of all, you could actually save some money by investing a little more in your furniture up-front! Let's say you spend $50 each on chairs, and they only last you two years. If you have 100 seats, you'll spend $25,000 on chairs over a decade.
But instead, let's say you spend $150 per chair, but those chairs last you the full decade before they need to be replaced. You'll only spend $15,000 during that ten years, leaving a lot more of your profits in your pocket.
5. Less Chance of Breaking
One of the things you always have to think about as a restaurant owner is the safety of your customers. While it's a good idea to have liability insurance, the best way to manage accidents is to do your best to keep them from happening at all. Buying high-quality restaurant furniture can help to prevent some accidents and keep your guests safer.
Part of the problem with using cheap materials is that they won't hold up as well under stress. A particularly heavy customer or one who's leaning the chair back may cause more strain than particle board and a brad nail can take. Your customers will have a significantly harder time breaking the legs off of high-quality chairs, however.
6. More Comfortable
Of course, preventing accidents is only the beginning of what you need your restaurant chairs to do. You want your chairs to be comfortable enough for guests to relax through the course of an entire meal. Cheap furniture also means cheap padding, which is going to break down and leave your guests sitting on the frame almost immediately.
High-quality furniture manufacturers make an effort to make their chairs comfortable and welcoming. Aside from selecting high-quality padding, they also work with designers to create ergonomic, natural shapes. Better-quality restaurant chairs may have curved backs, fuller seats, and other details that invite your customers to sit back and enjoy their time with you.
7. Creates a Better Atmosphere
We mentioned earlier that furniture plays an important role in crafting the atmosphere for your restaurant. Consider the difference between a restaurant that uses cheap metal chairs with straight backs and hard seats and a restaurant that has upholstered chairs with a curved back. Even if you know nothing else about the restaurant in question, you can make some assumptions about it based only on the chairs used.
If you want to present yourself as a fine dining establishment, you need to have furniture that looks the part. Customers can tell when you've cheaped out on the furniture, and it will make them wonder what other corners you might be cutting. Buying quality furniture shows them that you are committed to crafting an excellent experience for them and earns their trust.
8. Shows Social Responsibility
These days, customers are starting to pay more attention to a subtler part of the dining experience: the ethics. Vegetarian and vegan alternatives have become more popular as people start to think about the impact their diet has on the environment. Customers want to know that the restaurants they're supporting are working to make the world a better place.
Not only does buying quality furniture help the environment, but it could also help you to draw in more customers. By showing your commitment to building a better world, you can connect with customers who are worried about those same issues. This can give you an important edge over competitors, as well as help you to build a reputation as a business worth supporting.
What to Look for in Quality Furniture
When you get ready to shop for your restaurant furniture, there are a few things you'll want to look for. First and foremost, you'll have to make sure you're getting furniture that fits your style and your budget. An up-front investment is worthwhile, but there is a reasonable limit to how much you can afford to put into this aspect of your business.
Beyond the pragmatic considerations, you'll also want to take a look at where your manufacturers source their materials. How do they work to combat deforestation, and how do they ensure the quality of the materials they use? From there, you'll want to take a look at the joinery to make sure your furniture is going to be solid for years to come.
Find Quality Restaurant Furniture
Picking the right furniture for your restaurant can be the key to creating a welcoming atmosphere for your guests. Investing in high-quality furniture can not only save you money in the long run, but can also help the planet. By buying from quality manufacturers, you keep cheap furniture out of landfills and support sustainable manufacturing policies.
If you'd like to find quality restaurant furniture, check out the rest of our site at Bar Stool Manufacturers. We are your direct source for restaurant furniture, working with dozens of quality companies to deliver pieces that will last. Reach out to us today and start making the investment your restaurant's future needs.