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Hospitality Table Size Guide

tables of different sizes in a restaurant

Table tops come in many shapes and sizes. The right table size depends on how many covers are required on each table and what the table is used for. Drinking requires less space than quick meals; fine dining requires the most space, to allow enough room for side plates and additional crockery & cutlery.

How many covers?

To calculate how many covers will fit in a restaurant, The Metric Handbook suggests each diner (person) requires an area between 1 and 2 square metres (and a minimum width of 580mm).

A crowded restaurant using small square tables might be at the bottom of this range, while ‘fine-dining’ restaurants with widely spaced tables would be at the top end. Using small tables - and even arranging them at 45° angles - can increase the number of covers.

When planning the space, note that a restaurant chair in use extends around 450mm from a table and another 450mm behind the backs of chairs should avoid customers being bumped by serving staff. Take care that the back legs of chairs do not extend too far beyond the back of the chair, to avoid the staff tripping.

Table shapes

Square tables are most popular (700mm x 700mm is our top selling size), mainly because they can be used either alone (typically for two people), or pushed together for larger parties. Round tables do offer more flexibility, particularly in cafe-type environments when chairs can be 'squeezed' around them as necessary. Many restaurants will order a combination of shapes and sizes, often including a bigger round top, perhaps to fill a corner or simply to make the layout less uniform. Table bases are important too! Read our blog on table bases to learn how they can affect the amount of available space for diners in your restaurant.

Table top sizes

The table top sizes and shapes diagram below is a good indicator to help determine the right table top sizes for your setting. Remember to leave space for both the chairs and movement around seated guests. For drinking, tables can be 20% smaller than depicted below and for fine dining slightly larger.

tables sizes

Stacking chairs

Chairs with thin legs tend to stack higher – mainly these are metal-legged. Chairs that stack directly on top of each other (rather than stack a little further forward than the chair below) will stack highest. Typically these are aluminium ‘banqueting’ chairs –which need to be light to be lifted to the top of a stack. Some upholstered chairs will stack (they need to have a ‘waist’ towards the back of the seat). Be aware that upholstered stacking chairs may have wear-points on the seats. Timber framed stacking chairs can only be stacked around four high. They are heavy and ‘creep forward’ on a stack.

Stacking chairs are regularly moved, often by a variety of staff, and they are very likely to be get knocks etc. They are often used at functions (weddings in particular) at which they can be particularly roughly treated. Chips etc on dark-stained timbers are more noticeable than on lighter finishes.

Folding chairs

  • Usually are not robust.
  • Can trap fingers of staff and users.

Topics: Tables, Furniture knowledge

By Paula Stanbridge-Faircloth Paula Stanbridge-Faircloth on 01/08/17 09:09
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