On the Line / Operations / Everything You Need to Know about Buying Restaurant Furniture

Everything You Need to Know about Buying Restaurant Furniture

Without the right furniture, a restaurant is just a room. Read on to learn exactly what types of furniture your restaurant needs, plus where you can get it.

Restaurant furniture

DISCLAIMER: This content is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal, accounting, tax, HR, or other professional advice. You are responsible for your own compliance with laws and regulations. You should contact your attorney or other relevant advisor for advice specific to your circumstances.

Opening a restaurant is no small feat, requiring decisions that can affect your restaurant down the line. One crucial decision is restaurant decor, which helps to define a restaurant’s brand and aesthetic. Like restaurant concepts, restaurant furniture options are vast — how do you know you’re picking the right furniture? Read on to learn about all the different ways to buy restaurant furniture, and some of the pros and cons involved, and for a full list of all the restaurant furniture needed.   

Where to Buy Restaurant Furniture

Buying restaurant furniture online

Below are some of the pros and cons of buying restaurant furniture online:

Pros of buying restaurant furniture online

  • You'll be able to shop around for more competitive pricing, saving you money.
  • When shopping online, there’s no pressure from a salesperson to make a quick decision.
  • Online shopping provides the flexibility of purchasing furniture at your convenience.

Cons of buying restaurant furniture online

  • You can’t inspect the quality, comfort, or designs up close.

  • Talking to someone in person is often useful if you need help deciding between a few options, or want a second opinion.  

  • Returns and exchanges can be difficult, especially for large furniture.

Popular restaurant furniture stores that are online include Webstaurant Store, Restaurant Furniture Plus, and even the commercial arm of popular furniture websites like Wayfair Professional.

Buying furniture at a restaurant furniture warehouse

Here are the pros and cons of buying from a wholesale restaurant furniture store:

Pros of buying wholesale restaurant furniture

  • Savings! Restaurant furniture supply stores cut out the middleman, especially if you’re looking to buy in bulk.

  • Wholesale restaurant furniture can be customized.

  • There’s more variety, ensuring that you’re getting exactly what you need.

Cons of buying wholesale restaurant furniture

  • Wholesale options (which are best for bulk orders) are not suitable for small restaurants.

  • Some furniture lines may be phased out when purchasing, which may make repairs and finding spare parts difficult.

  • You’ll want to pay attention to warranties, especially with furniture that’s no longer in production. 

Some popular wholesale restaurant furniture stores include Central Restaurant Products, Restaurant Furniture Warehouse, and Restaurant Furniture Depot.

Buying furniture at a restaurant furniture auction

Looking to purchase restaurant furniture for sale? Here are some pros and cons:

Pros of buying restaurant furniture at an auction

  • Auction prices are usually a fraction of retail or wholesale pricing, which is helpful if you’re looking to reduce costs dramatically.
  • You may be able to secure high-end furniture that’s lightly used at a steep discount.
  • Depending on your location, there could be an auction store nearby.

Cons of buying restaurant furniture at an auction

  • You may have to arrange transportation of the furniture from the auction house to the restaurant.
  • The availability of items is limited to what the auction is selling.
  • Variety could be limited.

Examples of restaurant furniture auctions are Morris Realty Auction, Main Auction Services, and PCI Auctions

Used restaurant furniture

Secondhand restaurant furniture can be a cost-effective way to decorate your restaurant. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of purchasing used restaurant furniture for sale:

Pros of buying used restaurant furniture

  • Price! Buying used is almost always more economical than buying new.
  • You can negotiate and pick your price, especially if the furniture has been on the market for a while.
  • Some of the furniture may still have an active warranty.

Cons of buying used restaurant furniture

  • It may be difficult to track down the original manufacturer in case a piece of furniture needs repairs. 
  • Used furniture is often sold “as-is”.

  • If you’re purchasing used outdoor furniture, it may not be UV resistant, costing you more in the long run. 

Secondhand furniture can be found at stores like Burkett Restaurant Equipment & Supplies, and even sites like eBay, local Facebook groups, and Facebook Marketplace.

Restaurant furniture list

Restaurant dining room furniture

  • Dining tables - round tables are usually best for small groups, while square tables are best for larger groups

  • Chairs -  one of the biggest furniture investments, which play a pivotal role in your restaurant’s look

  • Sofas - ideal for waiting and lounge areas, they provide a sense of comfort in a restaurant 

  • Coffee Tables -  lower than your standard restaurant tables, and often seen at cafes

  • Booths - perfect for creating a sense of intimacy for groups of four or more 

  • Bar - an informal drinking and dining option (take into consideration the size of your restaurant and bar stools)

  • Bar stools - can be informal or formal, to help set the tone of the bar area

Restaurant patio furniture

  • Water-Resistant Tables & Chairs - ensure that outdoor restaurant furniture is UV resistant and made of durable materials

  • Patio Umbrellas - acrylic canvas and polyester are often two of the most common materials used for patio umbrellas

  • Awning - the most expensive option, but usually offers the most sun protection

Restaurant kitchen furniture

For a full list of restaurant kitchen equipment including appliances, click here.

  • Prep tables with and without refrigeration underneath - made from wood (often used in bakeries), metal (the most popular option), or polytop (can double for a cutting board), prep tables are an essential part of any kitchen.

  • Metal shelves and racks - used for storing pantry items, pots, and more

  • Sinks - you’ll likely need a compartment sink for the back of the house (sinks can come in multiple compartments as well).

  • Ovens - there are many types of ovens available: convention, combination, conveyor, etc.  

  • Ranges - decide on whether a gas or electric range would be best (consider the impact on your utility bill).

  • Mixers - choose from hand mixers, countertop mixers, or floor mixers

  • Freezer and Refrigerator - reach-in freezers are usually the most common option 

  • Servingware - ensure that servingware is designed for commercial use

Restaurant back office furniture

  • Desk - purchase a heavy desk designed for commercial use

  • Office chair - a large, durable, and comfortable chair is best for the back office

  • Shelves - shelving can come in many forms, just ensure that all shelving is secure 

  • Filing Cabinet - for keeping receipts, bills, and other important business documents in place

Restaurant changing room furniture

  • Lockers - for protecting your staff’s belongings

  • Couch - large couches provide comfortable, ample seating for your staff

  • Sink - for staff to wash their hands during break times 

Fill your restaurant with the right furniture

While shopping for restaurant furniture requires a lot of moving parts, it doesn’t have to be daunting. Consider organizing furniture by area (i.e. front of the house, back of the house, etc.) and look for deals at secondhand sources.

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